- Don’t speak confidently on topics you don’t deeply understand
The quickest way to look foolish is to act like you’re informed on a topic when you clearly aren’t. It’s okay to be ignorant of a subject, but pretending to be an expert in fields which you are a novice will get annoying to your peers very quickly. If you do it often, you will develop a reputation around that. You DO NOT want that.
This is something I take very seriously regarding 5 Minute Mission. I often cover interesting topics, but certainly not areas in which I’m an expert (I’m probably not an ‘expert’ at anything haha). This doesn’t mean that I cannot write/talk about things I haven’t experienced, but rather that I must do research and keep an open mind. That’s really what this whole thing is about- growing together as a community who haven’t figured it out yet.
My hope is that anyone reading this realizes that we can grow exponentially just by having an open mind. Part of that is learning new things, but not being naïve about how much we don’t truly know. It’s a process!
- Take yourself more seriously
Perhaps this should be point #1, but regardless it’s paramount to your end goal of being taken seriously by others. Speak with purpose, dress well (or at least appropriately), be on time, and have a general sense of respect and integrity in the things you do.
It’s a simple concept, but so many of us demand respect from others when we aren’t even respecting ourselves. Just like you wouldn’t take fitness advice from a morbidly obese person, you tend to not respect those who clearly don’t respect themselves or value their own time. Key thought: Want respect? Become respectable. If you’re looking to improve, ask those closest to you how to do that. Odds are, they’ll know exactly where you fall short.
- Listen to understand, then respond
Your co-workers, friends, and family will take what you say more seriously if they know that you are speaking from a place of understanding. Be willing to deeply listen and understand others before speaking into their lives. If they don’t think you understand them, they will not take your words seriously, whether that be advice or anything else.
Listening before speaking shows people that you care about their thoughts, which automatically makes them more interested in what you have to say. Take what they say seriously, and most people will reciprocate. To further understand this idea, I highly recommend you check out Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, specifically habit #5.
- Don’t make excuses for your shortcomings
Everyone has faults- own them! Seriously, there’s no need to skirt around your idiosyncrasies just to put on the façade of perfection, and you shouldn’t blame shift your shortcomings onto your environment, lack of training, or any other excuse we use. Own up to your faults, and double down on your strengths.
People are smarter than you think, and while it may not be immediately apparent, eventually “faking it until you make it” isn’t going to work out for you. People close to you will see through your attempts to mask your weak areas, and you will lose respect in the process. If you suck at something, there’s nothing wrong with that!! You can either get better at that thing, or outsource it. There’s no 1 right answer, but THE wrong answer is to make excuses.
- Eliminate filler words from your vocabulary
Constantly using “like”, “um”, or “uh” is an immediate sign that the person speaking is not confident (or at least not well practiced) in what they are saying. Think back to the most powerful presentation you’ve ever seen. Re-watch it on YouTube if you have to; I guarantee you’ll notice that they use no filler words, but rather powerful pauses.
This one is very tough, and something I struggle with consistently. I’m under 25, so my go-to filler word is “like.” Don’t know why, but I just love to throw that word in about 2 or 3 times per sentence. Eliminating these unnecessary words can be difficult, but recognizing where you can improve is the first step in doing so. Becoming conscious of an issue allows you to notice when it happens, and begin taking measures to prevent it.
Want to be taken more seriously?
– DON’T “front” on topics you don’t understand
– DO start taking yourself more seriously
– DON’T always talk over people. Listen!
– DON’T make excuses, learn and execute
– DO become more confident by eliminating unnecessary filler words from your speech