Many people today feel pressure to project images of themselves, and their lives, that perhaps aren’t entirely true. It can be hard to differentiate yourself as a serious player amongst all the “fakers” out there. You have the “wantrepreneurs” hyping themselves up as the next best thing without having a sustainable business model or even a long-term vision. All they really have is a big mouth and lots of ideas. Then you have the people advertising themselves as CEOs or managing directors on their LinkedIn profiles when their company only consists of family members or like 3 people. You have the professionals who have these amazing jobs but spend all their money on outward appearances without saving a cent or building long-term wealth. All these different people competing to see who is the most successful, has the greatest life, goes on the best holidays, etc. And, while I have no problem with people having a dream or a vision, I do have a problem with people portraying a life that is far from your current reality. This article talks about what you can do to be taken more seriously.
1. Do what you say
It’s easy to pitch grand ideas and plans because those are just words being spoken. But most of the time, these words are meaningless because people don’t follow through on them. I don’t know how many times someone has told me they were going to do something, and then just didn’t. If someone wants to pitch something to me, I usually tell them to send me an email or give me a call sometime in the future to discuss it. Anything that would require them to take action. If they are serious about it, they will take the time and make sure they do it. But, the sad thing is, you usually don’t hear back from 99% of them. So, if you want to be taken seriously, make sure that if you say you are going to do something, that you do it. If you have no intention of doing anything, then just keep quiet about it.
2. Know who you are
In this sense, knowing who you are, refers to understanding your core values and guiding principles. This comes down to your level of self-awareness. If you know who you are, what you stand for and what you want to achieve, then chances are you will be confident when interacting with others. This confidence will mean that you are more comfortable in social situations which will make people more responsive to you and interested in what you have to say. If you know who you are and are happy with yourself, then you won’t feel the need to prove yourself or your worth because you already know your value.
3. Be Punctual
This whole notion of African timing is a little ridiculous to me. These days, the currency of business is time, which means speed and efficiency. Being on time for something demonstrates to the other person that you respect and value their time. It shows that you actually want to be there. Arriving late to an event or meeting without a valid excuse, makes it seem like they are an after-thought. Being punctual demonstrates that you are reliable and be trusted to do the things you say you are going to do.
4. Be Honest
This means being honest in your words and also being honest with yourself. Having been in sales, I have often seen people making omissions all the time in an attempt to ‘sell their product’. They are so focused on selling, that they neglect the customer’s needs. This strategy erodes trust and will start getting harder to use as time goes on, as fewer people start to believe you. Honesty and integrity are the foundation of a solid reputation. If you are someone who is always honest with the people around you, then people will start to take you more seriously because they know they can trust you to not lie to them.
Studying, reading, listening, and asking questions are all ways in which we can acquire knowledge. The more knowledge you have to contribute to those around you, the more valuable you will become. Putting a strong emphasis on personal growth means you are empowering yourself to get the most out of your life and those around you.
Being taken seriously can sometimes be hard especially if you are young and/or inexperienced. The key though is to try to be as authentic as possible and not to get caught trying to be something you aren’t in order to prove yourself. Embrace that you are only human and that you have flaws. Although you may not think so, people generally respect you more if you are open about your shortcomings. Remember, we are all different with our own unique value proposition, and the only thing we have to do is to then refine it.
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