Our first response is to look at the reasons why people might not take you seriously.
There’s many a business person who falls prey to the following traits, and you may (for all we know) be guilty of some of them. Let’s take a look.
People won’t take you seriously if
You don’t know the first thing about the industry you are in
The proof is in the pudding, and if you are in any way clueless – not knowing how to run a business effectively, don’t have knowledge about what you are selling – then you are going to struggle to get taken seriously.
You show a lack of humility
Hey, perhaps you do know everything about your industry. That’s fine, but you don’t need to brag about it. Letting people know about your extensive knowledge isn’t the way to go unless you are directly asked to explain something.
You are dishonest
In short, don’t tell lies. Never promise the customer something you can’t fulfill. Don’t lie to your investors to secure extra funding. Don’t pass off somebody else’s work as your own. Dishonesty will get you nowhere, as chances are, you will get found out in the end.
You are always late
If you are late to important business meetings. Are late replying to emails? You are late shipping out your customer’s goods. Those who are late completing work for a client. Being late occasionally is acceptable, but on a regular basis? Say goodbye to your reputation. Respect other people by respecting their time and they will reciprocate.
You dress lazily
First impressions are key, but if you turn up to a meeting or a business event looking disheveled, wearing an outfit that is completely inappropriate to the context of where you are, then that first impression won’t be a good one. Make an effort!
You show fear
We aren’t all confident people, but we should try hard not to let it show. If you are afraid of speaking up in meetings, if you are afraid of taking risks, and if you show any kind of uncertainty publicly, then (sad to say it), people will notice, and will probably think less of you as a result.
Nobody Is Perfect
Nobody’s perfect, but the above traits are definite no-no’s, we think you will agree. Your time under the industry spotlight will be short-lived if you are familiar with any of them. Well, unless you are rich and famous, of course, but how many of us are currently in that position?
So, how can you get people to take you seriously? By reversing the previous points, you already have some answers, but let’s go a little further. Consider the following points, and adhere to them within your professional life to improve your credibility in the eyes of others.
People will take you seriously if
You know what you are talking about
You don’t have to know everything about your business. But there is value in knowing as much as you can, and you can do this by researching the product you are selling, having experience in the service you are offering, and talking to people in the industry about the in’s and out’s of the organization you are in. You will impress your clients, customers, and investors, when the words coming out of your mouth are lined with wisdom and knowledge.
Not every business leader has qualifications behind them; some people leave school with barely anything and still make it big. But there is value in a professional qualification. Not only will it help you understand and grow your company more effectively, but having letters after your name will look good on paper. Whether it’s something as niche as a Masters in online engineering management if you are in the engineering field, or a general business management course, being qualified is a surefire way to get taken more seriously than those business rivals who don’t have the certification to prove their worth.
I earned both my undergrad in Business and MBA and don’t regret either of it for a moment. Investing in yourself was one of the best investments I’ve ever made and recommend it if you are ready for such an experience.
Honesty is the best policy, even if hurts your pride for a while. You see, you aren’t perfect, and there will be times you will make mistakes. Rather than covering them up hoping people won’t notice what you have done, own up to them, apologize, and make amends. This will gain you more respect in the long-run.
Don’t break the law
That’s easy, you may think. You’re a law-abiding citizen, so you would never find yourself in this position. However, you may be breaking the law without even knowing it, so you need to be mindful of every legality that forms a part of the business world you are in. Check out this article, for example, and ensure you haven’t ‘accidentally’ fallen prey to any of those law-breaking mistakes. You may also be tempted to broker a deal that falls outside lawful standards, or you may end up saying something slanderous on social media. Yet, you want to ensure you have a strong brand online. You may do any number of things that you always thought you wouldn’t; standards can slip. So, stay focused and operate wisdom at all times, being accountable to yourself for your words and actions.
Be mindful of your personal life
One slip-up in your personal life can play a part in how others see you in a professional sense, so take care. As we mentioned above, this means not breaking the law (outside of your business), as the media attention will harm your reputation. Saying something stupid on your personal social media accounts will also lead you into trouble, (your privacy settings are not always foolproof). And the way you treat people outside of the work environment can also be noticed by your business associates, be that the way you speak to a frazzled shop worker or somebody within your family circle.
Be respectful within your business
Following on from the above, you do (of course) need to be respectful to those you work with. Staff members won’t respect you if you constantly berate them, or impose unrealistic deadlines. Clients won’t respect you if you turn in shoddy work or break promises you made to them. Your customers won’t respect you if you fail to deliver in any way or act in any way unjustly towards them. Remember the Kingsman motto (see the movie), ‘manners market the man.’ Be polite, even when others are being rude to you. Respond calmly, even when those around you are enraged. Speak with grace, even when your every instinct is telling you not to. And be professional in the way you deal with people, in every facet of your business.
Remember what we said earlier? First impressions are everything. Apparently (according to researchers), people form an impression in the first five seconds of meeting us, and if you are dressed insensibly, then you may lose credibility very quickly. Wear the correct business attire appropriate to the setting you are going into and give yourself a fighting chance. Not only will you look good, but it will also add to your confidence level, also helpful when you are trying to be taken seriously as a business leader. See below.
This isn’t always easy, especially when you are not a confident person in general, but you can fake it until your confidence levels grow. And as we have alluded to already, there are ways you can make yourself feel more confident, including having the appropriate dress sense, being able to know what you’re talking about, and having the academic credentials to prove your worth. You also need to push yourself. This means approaching others with a firm handshake and a polite ‘hello.’ This means speaking confidently to those you hold in high regard, even if you feel inferior to them. And this means confronting your fears to help you get the better of them; speaking in public, for example. You can learn how to be confident, and if that means taking classes on public speaking or learning how to deal with media through customized workshops, do what you need to in order to be taken seriously in your profession, especially at a c-level.
Being A Leader Is Hard
Nobody said being a business leader is easy. There are challenges ahead, with many people watching your every move. If you make a mistake, people will be quick to criticize you. They will question your credibility in the industry, and will make judgments on you. But that’s life, and it happens to all of us, no matter what situation we are in, be that in professional or in our personal lives. You can go the extra mile by earning some money online.
It Is Ok To Struggle Sometimes
There will be times when you struggle to get taken seriously; frustrating we know. But by following the advice in this article, you do stand a better chance. And this begins with you. You need to take yourself seriously. No matter your flaws, acknowledge the position you have found yourself in and what it took to get here. Think about your many achievements thus far. If you can take yourself seriously, regardless of any mistakes you have made, and if you follow the guidance we have offered you, people will take you seriously. It may take time, but with diligence and perseverance, it can and will happen.
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