September 27, 2015

5 Ways to be Taken Seriously

Maybe you have been interacting with US clients for a few years now, using tips and advice from this blog, or maybe you have taken some sessions through Authentic Journeys to work more effectively with Americans. While you have found some improvement in the working relationship after applying these tips, you still sometimes feel they don't take you seriously. What else can you do to get them to take you seriously? 

Marie Forleo on her YouTube channel shares five tips you can use to get others to take you more seriously at work. Below the video, I will review the five tips.
How to be taken more seriously:
  1. Don't use too many fancy words.
    I stress this all the time in communication trainings. While it may feel nice to learn big, fancy vocabulary, we have to think about our audience. Will our audience understand us? Also, are we comfortable enough using these new words in an understandable way? We must learn to talk to our communication partner (audience) in a language they can easily understand. Keep this in mind, also, while using technical words (especially with non-techical counterparts), corporate jargon, industry buzzwords and the alphabet soup of acronymns found in most corporate lingo.

  2. Lose the dumb disclaimer
    The 'dumb disclaimer' is commonly used in the US in the way it is mentioned in this video. From the Indian perspective, I have not heard people use these words or phrases to pretext their ideas. I have come across people who avoid talking altogether, get someone to talk on their behalf or go to the other side of the spectrum dismissing others in the group by talking over others to get their points in.

    In this tip, Marie suggests to use questions to get buy-in. This is a common technique we discuss and practice in sessions to not only give suggestions but when negotiating, giving constructive criticism or telling someone they are wrong.

  3. Turn "yea but" into "yea and"
    I am a big believer in elminating buts from our speech, or at least being overly cautious and aware of it's placement, use and tone. As Marie says in the video, "yea but" will get others defensive. That is true, because the tone of 'yea but' is exclusive or "I am dismissing your ideas or what you just said in favor of what I have to say." Instead, "yea and" can give the the tone of inclusion. "I have heard what you have said. To that, I'd like to add...."

    Keep in mind that for those who speak fast, sentences with "yea but" force you to speak faster. Instead take these sentences and break them into two sentences whenever possible. This will help you speak in a more confident, natural pace as well as sounding more inclusive.

  4. Be a knocker
    Being a knocker means finding non-intrusive ways to share your ideas. This builds on the other points already mentioned.

  5. Follow up
    Following up is an important element of creating change. Keep in mind that when having the follow up discussions, it's important to really listen to the other person's point of view and build on their points to have a conversation. Sharing ideas is not a one way street. Sometimes we may have to compromise on our ideas to get them to be understood or applied. Our idea should not be discussed or applied at the cost of others ideas. Otherwise, others will feel ignored and not heard. We all know what it feels like to feel ignored or not listened to. We don't like it. We wouldn't want to give that feeling to others, would we? The more we can include others, they will feel good, and therefore naturally if they feel good they will be more apt to listen to you, taking you more seriously from today forward. 
While there are a zillion more tips to be taken seriously, I noticed that in the comments section to this video on the YouTube page, one commenter named Manish Sharma noted that making eye contact and smiling is also an important part to being taken seriously. I couldn't agree more. The tips Marie mentioned above focus on how to use words to form persuasive messages. Words are only one element of delivering our message. If on the phone, tone of voice, smiling and posture can help. In face-to-face environments posture, eye contact, smiling, and other body language cues make a big difference as well. 

Jennifer Kumar helps your India-based team members to be taken more seriously with US customers, clients and colleagues. Check out our programs, or contact us for more information today. 

Related Posts: 
Tips to Improve Vocabulary 
To listen better, speak less 
Good posture = Better Phone Conversations

Image credit: Marie Forleo's YouTube Page 

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