How to Gain the Respect You Know You Deserve

In today’s fast paced society, it is easy to forget our manners and etiquette. Whether you like it or not, you are judged by the things that you do or say. You are constantly ‘watched’ by the people around you. You are what you make of yourself. A respectable or disrespectable person. Warm and likeable or hated. Good thing in life is that you always have a choice. After reading this article, it is you who can make a choice between being a better person than you already are or to continue being the respected, likeable person you THINK you are.

First of all, you already know that to gain respect, you have to give respect. Funny how the very things that you know are the very things that you may forget to embed in your everyday life. I am guilty of this myself. Like I said, we are a fast paced society. It is easy to get drowned in the crowd. Still this is no excuse for anyone including myself.

So how do you give respect? Start off by treating others they way you would like to be treated. Always let the other person speak first. Your role is to listen and observe before you speak. Everyone likes to tell their story. By listening before you speak, not only will you make the person feel important, you will also put yourself at an advantage. To have an advantage means you will less likely say things that you may regret and embarrass yourself later on. Remember that once the words come out of your mouth, there is no way you can take it back.

Everyone likes talking about themselves. I know a lot of people who talk like a one way train. They go on and on about themselves thinking the other party is ever so interested to hear all their stories. I’m not saying you cannot share but there is a way to go about doing it. You should always ask about the other person first before starting your story. For example, you want to talk about your child and which school you intend to send him/her to. Instead of going “I am sending my child to a value-added school. I know of a few good schools in the area but I’m not too sure which one to pick yet. It’s great that your children are all grown-up. My motherhood days are only beginning. Choosing a good school is not as easy as I thought it would be...blah blah…” If you have been shooting off all the thoughts in your head without thinking, STOP. You can start off by asking “I am thinking of sending my child to a value-added school. Do you know of any good schools in this area?” By asking the other person a question, you are including them in your topic of conversation. Most people I know are more than happy to share their opinion. When they do share, be genuine and listen with your ears, body and eyes. Do not look the other person straight in the eye and then let your mind wander off. Do not nod your head in acknowledgement and then tap your fingers on the table and yawn. People can tell if you’re really interested or just acting like you’re interested. Smile as you listen. Raise your eyebrows in awe. Let them know you’re truly listening. Bear in mind that what you do not say are the things that can be heard the loudest.

To interrupt is the worst offense. If I had it my way, I would make it punishable by law. You should always let the other person finish their sentence. Do not get so enthusiastic that you have to cut a sentence mid-way. Your opinion will be much more appreciated when it is your turn to speak. Try not to contradict every opinion someone gives you. We are all entitled to our own views. At times, when you don’t agree with something, express your opinion in a polite way. If they still insist they are right, just smile and rest the case.

When you talk, always be conscious of the tone of your voice. You don’t want to seem like you’re shouting to someone when you’re really only talking. If you’re soft-spoken, try to speak slightly louder and make sure your words are clear and concise. As a rule of thumb, watch the reaction of the other person. If they lean their ear forward to hear you better or start shifting his eyes around the room or even take one step back, it could be that you’re talking a little too soft or too loud. With these things in mind, remember that sometimes it is not about the things you say but how you say it.

Do not shun off a person just because they have little knowledge or serve no benefit to you. You can always learn from someone regardless of their age or experience. Someone who has failed in many areas of their life is also someone you can learn from. How? By taking their experience and turning them into a positive lesson for you. You can learn of how and where they’ve gone wrong so that you will never repeat the mistakes they made. Never think you are better than anyone else no matter how knowledgeable you are. Everyone has something to give.

Your gestures and body language are also very important. I know of someone who gets so engrossed talking about her son that she almost re-enacts the scenario at home. She would say things like “I told my son…boy, you better not make mummy angry”. As she says these things, she would point her index finger at me with an angry look. The stories she would tell me usually last throughout a whole 40 minutes train journey. So you can imagine how conscious I was of the people around who stared thinking I was being punished for doing something wrong. When the people around us see this, they would get the impression that I was being scolded. What she does not realize is that to point a finger is rude. To re-enact a scenario also makes the other person feel uncomfortable. There are certain acceptable gestures but it would take a whole chapter for me to write about. If unsure, limit your hand gestures and focus on the conversation.

Another important thing is also your posture. You should always stand up straight with shoulders pulled back. Slouching gives the impression that you have low-self-esteem and do not respect yourself. The way you stand, walk and carry yourself off tells the other person without words, how much respect you give to yourself. When they see that you respect yourself, they will respect you in return.

3 Factors That Can Determine Your Earning Power in Any Career.

Most of us are led to believe that the higher our level of education, the higher our income will be. While it's true that academic qualifications are very important, it does not determine your earning potential. In this century, there is no longer the case where a long service employee gets paid between $2000 to $5000 more than a 22 year old graduate. It is also not uncommon for a 32 year old to earn 2 to 3 more than his 45 year old colleague who has the same qualification and 13 years more experience.

So what can you do to increase your earning power? There are 3 factors that differentiate you from the other replaceable employees.

Factor 1: Time
One thing we all know is that time is money. Question is how do you apply this concept in your career? Time here does not necessarily mean putting in 24 hours of work in a day. What it means is spending more of your time only on activities that creates the greatest value, thus generating more profits for your company. Most employees spend their work hours doing things that do not create value. An example would be checking of emails. Data entry, filing of paperwork, chit chatting, waiting, complaining and researching on materials are also things that do nothing to help the company generate more profits. As much as possible, these things should be done after office hours. The hours of 9am to 6pm are the most critical. It is the time that must be optimized and when your actions should be generating high profits. This is when you should be spending your time doing things that are productive like closing sales, generating leads, implementing new business developments, market strategizing, follow-up on clients, etc. We all get the same amount of 24 hours a day. It is how smart you are at tasking your time that makes all the difference.

Factor 2: Value
Creating value is doing a lot more than what is expected of you. Most of you as employees do exactly as you are expected. While there is nothing wrong with this, it does not make you a valuable asset to the company. As an example, let's look at the job scope of an administrative assistant. Employee 1 is required to do data entry, filing, maintain proper circulation of forms, answering phone-calls, stock replenishment and maintaining general housekeeping. She does exactly what is expected of her as stated in her job scope. Employee 2 is given the same job scope but puts in a lot more value on top of what is expected of her. Besides maintaining proper forms circulation, she comes up with new forms, designs them herself and suggests useful modifications that would facilitate the company's work flow system. She helps the company to save cost by sourcing for reliable office suppliers that can offer cheaper rates without compromising quality. Instead of just answering phone calls, she goes all out to help clients with their enquiries, giving them an experience no other company can give, thus, converting them into long term clients. Long term clients are very vital to the success of a company. If these clients are happy with the service of the company, they will most likely recommend their friends through word of mouth. The company gets more leads without spending money on expensive advertisements. It also means higher conversion and higher profits. She makes cold-calls and follow-up on existing clients on a constant basis, although she knows that this is something which is not within her job scope. Apart from putting in more value into her job scope she also comes up with new ideas to create more value. She comes up with her own set of marketing proposals on how to increase sales. After typing them out, she prints and files them and presents it to the Director. There is a good chance that one of her proposal may be good enough to be used by the company. If this happens she can request to work together with the marketing team to execute the plan. If she continues her pace, the company can easily see a significant increase in gross profit. Always upgrade your skills, adopt a proactive mindset and do things to create high value. We are all capable of creating value for ourselves and the company we work for. All it takes is a bit of thinking and taking action on our ideas.

Factor 3: Likability
This factor is often overlooked. You should always be conscious of the impression you exude to others. If you are arrogant, selfish and self-centered, you will not get too far even if you are the most capable person. When I was in school, I was part of the Military Band and English Cultural Club. Because of my hectic schedule in the Military Band, I missed a lot of practices for the English Cultural Club. Despite my poor attendance, I actually got picked to be a secretary in the committee. The decision was determined by some of the senior members in the club. I did not understand how I was picked but it dawned on me that my likability factor played an influence in their decision. I was also chosen as the Band Major in my final year with the support of my teacher and a lot of my friends. I'm not saying being liked is enough but it is one of the factors that puts you at an advantage. Likability applies to everything from your social life to the real working. How do you make yourself more likeable to others? A great way to start is to smile more often. Frowning makes you less approachable. Make a point to greet your colleagues each time you see them. Be genuine. People can tell between a good morning' just for the sake of saying it and a good morning' like you really mean it. Work on being a people person. Be nice to everyone and treat them with respect regardless of age, experience or intellectual level. You never know who will help you climb up the corporate ladder and put in a good word for you.

Once you have mastered these 3 factors, you can be confident of asking for a double pay raise when the time comes. If you have created such high value for the company, there is no reason why you do not deserve a higher income. Individuals who posses these factors are highly sought after in many companies which are willing to pay them well. After all, the meager increase in income is nothing compared to the high profits they would create for the company in the long run.

Interview Tips

An interview gives you the chance to show off your qualifications to your potential employer. So it's worth coming in prepared. Here are some helpful tips to ace that interview.

Preparation & Research:

Tip 1: Know the company.
Research as much as you can about the company. Read up on the company's background, latest developments, structure and organization. Get brochures or even better, get their annual report.

Tip 2: Know your qualifications and job history.
Be ready to explain your work history in detail. Collect letters of testimonials and references. Do not just describe your responsibilities. Employers are more interested in what you've done for the company and how you helped accomplish their achievements.

Tip 3: Know the questions.
Create possible questions that might be asked. The most common question I can bet you'd definitely be asked is "Tell me about yourself". Its the question that most interviewee expect and the one they have most difficulty answering. Your response must support your job objective. This means you do not describe your hobbies, interests, etc. Tie your response to the needs of the hiring company.

Tip 4: Rehearse
Practice with a friend. Nothing beats more than being absolutely prepared.

Personal Appearance - First Impression Really Counts!

Tip 1: Be on time.
Arrive at least 10 minutes earlier. If you happen to be late, let them know how late you will be. If you will be more than 30 minutes late, its best to reschedule your interview to another day.

Tip 2: Dress. To kill.
Appropriately dress yourself according to the position you are seeking. The norm would be smart wear.

Tip 3: Grooming.
Do not smoke just before the interview. I know smokers tend to smoke just before the inerview to cool themselves down but the smell can really stick to your clothings and follow you through your interview. To be on the safe side, spray a decent amount of perfume (not too strong though!). Hair should also be neatly combed. For ladies, bun up that hair if you can't control it!

Tip 4: Body language.
This tells it all. The way you stand, sit, eye movements all the way to that last handshake. Send the right message by standing straight, walking confidently, sitting upright and leaning slightly forward in your chair. Develop an eye contact when communicating with the interviewer.