What does it mean to have someone’s respect? Does it mean your peers recognize you’re knowledgeable, an authority and someone to pay attention to?
It actually works the other way around. People respect you first then decide you’re knowledgeable, authoritative and someone to pay attention to.
How do you get people to respect you?
Finding Your Inner-Alpha
First, you must respect yourself. This means being self-forgiving, self-understanding, self-appreciating, … basically, being self-aware to recognize when you’re not being these things. Starting with self-respect, you naturally give off signs that cause others to respect you.
The signs of self-respect cause us to transmit social cues that signal others that we’re worthy of respect. Most people start learning social cues at birth and continue learning through life. People who move or spend lots of time in different cultures learn the social cues of those cultures and some people learn to switch cultural cues faster than changing a pair of socks.
Some cues are learned and others are hardwired into us. This hardwiring occurs because the individuals who used these specific social cues were more successful than others in our evolutionary history. They passed their genes and social cues onto us and after several million years, the genes and cues became one.
One set of hardwired social cues are those that signal and recognize mastery, knowledge, wisdom, ability, … all of which can be summed up as demonstrations of power and more colloquially, being the alpha. This is power in the sense of the ability to take charge, to be a decision maker, to be seen as the one everyone else will defer to. Power cues are independent of culture, language or ethnicity and have to do with how our brains recognize natural leaders in crowds.
Our species has evolved to pay attention to specific social cues. These social cues have allowed us to survive amongst all the competition in the wild and more recently the competition in our offices. Our ability to recognize social cues, to understand them and to transmit them helps us get along in groups whether they’re work or play related.
We demonstrate power cues – alphaness – most often when we’re comfortable with ourselves, confident in our abilities and most often our ability to remain calm when others are not.
We demonstrate self-comfort, self-confidence and personal calm in four basic ways:
- ) Enunciate clearly and specifically. Using English as an example, add slight vocal emphasis to the consonant sounds in your words. For example, speak Crisply. Note how clearly the “c”, “s”, “p” and “l” are sounded? Speaking crisply requires the speaker’s attention to be on their words and causes them to slow their verbal pace. Doing so sends signals that the speaker is focused and believes what they’re saying is important and should be listened to. More importantly, it sends a signal that the speaker is paying attention to their audience, whether an individual or a group. Remember Hannibal Lecter? Ever notice that he never spoke quickly? You get the idea.
- ) Be polite in word and manner. True power is never abusive and being polite demonstrates that the speaker is in control of themself. People who demonstrate control over themselves demonstrate power over themselves, their environment and ultimately, others.
- ) Use the fewest possible words to make your point or answer a question even if others have to wait for you to do so. People demonstrate power by using clear and concise statements. Also, simple answers demonstrate mastery over the subject matter even when it’s incredibly complex.
- ) Make your movements clear and concise as well. Powerful people don’t move much. Put another way, they are comfortable in their own skin and in their own space. They don’t fidget, twitch, their breathing is always slow and metered and people who study human interactions to demonstrate power learn not to blink. People who are aware of their environment, comfortable with themselves and move little demonstrate that their environment holds no surprises for them even when all around them is in chaos. These are also the people others look to for solutions to problems.
Do these things for yourself first
You can fake all of the above to others. It’s quite different to fake these things to yourself. Practice being confident, practice being calm, practice being comfortable. Remember to speak crisply, be polite, talk simply and move little to yourself first and, after a while, it’ll occur naturally with others.
People will be in awe of you and you’ll have exerted little effort at all.
That’s all for now. Stay warm and well.