Just because you’re smart, thoughtful, and competent doesn’t necessarily mean you’re perceived this way by people. If you want to be taken seriously by colleagues and friends, you have to think carefully about the picture you ‘re projecting — from your wardrobe to your voice to your body language.
Establishing your credibility takes time and effort. Here are my top ten tips on how to have your colleagues will take you more seriously.
1. Look the part
As much as we like to believe we live in a post-appearance world, we do not. The way you dress and present yourself, particularly for women in male dominated industries, matters more than it should. Know your audience, and use the opportunity through your appearance to show your respect. Claim ownership and find a way to look professional while still feeling like you.
2. Respect others
The most effective way of gaining appreciation from others is by first displaying it. Treat all at work with common courtesy, from those with the highest ranking positions to those with the lowest. Aware that you are considerate and appreciative even when praising results or letting others go.
3. Assert yourself
Remember that confidence is contagious. If you believe in your own power, others will as well. All the better when you prove you actually know what you’re doing. Stop questioning yourself and apologizing for your statements. Be aware of the language you are using and speak with authority. Power poses can be helpful before important meetings to get your body and your mindset focused.
4. Be open to learning
Know what you don’t know. In order to grow, you need to recognize your limitations and address them. When others see that you are nimble in your approach, they will be more willing to collaborate with you. Every quarter or so, assess your areas for improvement, being honest with yourself and others. This humility goes a long way in disarming colleagues and convincing them of your value.
5. Communicate effectively
Stop talking and start listening. The way you actively listen to and speak with coworkers determines so much of your success. If you want someone to understand and accept your opposing viewpoint, you need to model that behavior first. Open yourself up to hearing others’ perspectives and then make your case. Connect your data to a story so people can see actual applications. Humor helps everyone.
6. Do your home work
Sorry boys, if you don’t really know what you’re doing, no one will take you seriously. If you want people to take you seriously then you need to get serious; do some homework, always be prepared for rebuttals and do not speak in the first place if in doubt. It’s also a good idea to get your general knowledge and current affairs up to date too – they’re bound to come up in conversation and you don’t want to look completely clueless.
7. Build strong teams
We’ve heard over and over again from business powerhouses like Bill Gates and Sheryl Sandberg that successful people surround themselves with other successful people, at home and at work. You’ll even be judged in a position of power on the basis of those under you. You need to proactively build a healthy and productive team culture to deliver strong results. Take the time to appreciate and recognize achievements in a cooperative manner and grow from challenges.
8. Offer to help
Who doesn’t want to be thought of as a collaborative thinker and leader? While this may require you to set strong boundaries regarding work delegation, it is important co-workers at all levels know you are reliable and amenable. Do good work even when the results don’t benefit you directly. A positive reputation will develop organically when you are willing to put the needs of the company above your own.
9. Keep your promise to follow up
The sooner the better! Being responsive and reliable is incredibly important to your credibility and can lead to a strong reputation. Make sure you return emails, telephone calls and answer questions as quickly as you can, while keeping in mind unreasonable expectations. If you decide you ‘re going to do it, make sure you do it, whether it’s summing up the quarterly reports from the team or updating a company database on a regular basis. Especially important if you promised to do so!
10. Show gratitude
At the end of the day, you have a job that pays you money. This alone is a fact to be celebrated. Stay present and aware of the gifts around you and others will notice. Keep a gratitude diary to foster positive thinking and retrain your brain away from negative thoughts.
Expressing your appreciation to others for contributing to your success will encourage you to participate in your work in a more productive and committed manner. You, your colleagues and your organization will benefit from developing this process of commitment , satisfaction and success.
Check out my related post: What to do at your first month at a new job?