The age-old skill of communication is arguably the most important aspect of human interaction. For as long as there have been people, there have been individuals who organize, mobilize and otherwise persuade the masses through speech and actions. Not everybody has this gift – in fact, most lack an organic sense of authority – and learning how to master the art of commanding respect can take much practice.
Ultimately, there are many reasons why someone might want to command respect. Making the right first impression in an important job interview can make or break your career. Giving an important speech to a crowd of industry leaders or voters can determine whether the message you’re conveying is received properly. Even in the home, commanding respect as a parent is a crucial component of good family structure.
Regardless of the specific reasons you might want to command respect, most of it comes down to elements such as body language, posture, tone and persuasiveness. Fortunately for anybody lacking in these areas, these specific skills can be honed and ultimately mastered.
As a primer to earning the respect you deserve in human interactions, let’s look at some fundamental aspects you’ll want to convey in any and all interactions.
Make Eye Contact
In order to earn respect, it helps to give that same respect to others. Arguably the most basic way to show others that you care about them is to demonstrate that you’re acknowledging them. When speaking to groups or individuals alike, making eye contact is the easiest way to convey this sentiment.
Generally speaking, it is hard for individuals to ignore you when you are locking eyes. While you certainly don’t want to constantly stare at people, using this form of authority can help keep people engaged with what you are saying. They will feel as if you care about them – even when you are the one speaking.
If you are looking for other ways to hone your person-to-person conversational skills, visit this site for more information.
Learn the Right Gestures
Whether you are speaking to an individual or speaking to a large group of people, gesticulation plays a huge role in how people perceive it. Somebody who stands perfectly still exudes boredom (and being boring is not a respectable attribute). Likewise, somebody who flails about is going to be too distracting to take seriously.
Experts who understand the language of gestures often refer to “the box”, which is an area corresponding to your torso, to which you always want to confine your gestures. A variety of key power gestures used properly can convey both authority and stimulate interest, making even the most difficult or boring conversations far more enjoyable for both parties.
Be Mindful of Your Posture
While interactions in informal situations may result in our minds and bodies being relaxed, transferring this level of comfort to situations where respect is desired can harm your impression. Simply put, posture can affect how you are perceived by everybody.
Slouching, for example, makes you look both shorter and less authoritative; projecting confidence is key to earning and commanding respect. We also know from copious amounts of research that people implicitly trust and respect those who are taller, and improper posture can take as much as two to three inches off your height.
Rehearse and Know What You’re Saying
In most situations where commanding respect is desirable, you will have time to prepare for the interaction. While some engagements are spontaneous, most can be planned for in advance. For these occasions, it is crucial that you spend at least some time rehearsing what it is you’ll be saying – and how you’ll say it.
Additionally, respect tends to naturally flow to those who can speak authoritatively on a subject. In particular, those who know what it is they’re talking about generally get the respect they deserve. In situations where it may seem like respect is lacking, it could be that the individual(s) do not sense that you have a grasp on the topic athand. Never let this be the technicality that denies you respect: always be well-informed and prepare what you’ll be saying in advance.
Consider Tone and Emphasis
In a perfect world, people would listen to the content of your speech and determine how they feel based on its merits alone. Unfortunately, we live in a world where people judge one another based on seemingly superficial concepts. Even when you may have good reason to deserve respect, speaking in certain ways can have an impact on how people perceive you.
How you sound is profoundly connected to how people view you. Not only do you want to speak so that everybody of relevance can hear what it is you’re saying, but you also need to emphasize the right syllables and words. Pitch, volume, and tone are crucial to commanding respect:there are entire courses and classes for people who wish to master just these basic concepts.
Know Your Boundaries
Even in situations where speech isn’t a factor, there are instances where people may be denying you respect. In some cases, it may be intentional. In other situations, it may be subconscious or unintentional. While we owe it to our friends, loved one, co-workers and acquaintances to initially give them the benefit of the doubt, if a lack of respect is bothersome, then setting boundaries is crucial.
If after attempting to improve your own presentation the situation does not improve, then it becomes imperative that you vocalize the problem. Most people will attempt to rectify the situation by showing more respect after being confronted. However, some simply refuse to change their behavior. When possible, you may need to reduce their presence in your life or eliminate them from your circle of interaction altogether. Ultimately, you decide the boundaries: some people simply refuse to respect others and removing that negativity from your life is beneficial in the long run.
With a bit of preparation, thought, empathy and understanding of human interaction, commanding respect in any situation can be accomplished. These tips will help put you on the pathway toward better and more authoritative interactions, whether they be with co-workers, subordinates, loved ones or friends. By taking the time to learn how the nature of respect is earned and given, you too can enjoy the level of recognition and attention you deserve.
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