You don't have to hold a certain degree or title to gain respect -- it's mostly a matter of carrying yourself with class. Here are six reminders to keep you going strong:
1. Earn thy credibility. As a friend of mine says, "Don't act like one of the girls until you know you are one." Give those around you time to warm up to you, and trust that they will -- especially if you smile, show up on time, pitch in, and otherwise make yourself enjoyable to be around.
2. Respect to get respect. Respect yourself, respect the other person (their time and property, values and viewpoint), and respect the one who's not in the room. Eventually we're all that one.
Incidentally, self-respect frees us from what I call The Tyranny of Kissing Up. It allows us to enjoy other people's company without needing them so much, we drain them -- or ourselves.
3. Keep it light. The world is heavy enough. Make it a goal to leave the other person feeling uplifted.
Here's an example: Political strategist Laura Fink is often on FOX5 San Diego just as I'm walking into the green room. We've chatted a few times. No matter how bizarre the political news, we always manage to keep our conversations upbeat and ultimately hopeful. Yay Laura!
4. Say no to drama. If someone's trying to draw you into battle, your spoken or unspoken stance can be, "If you want to argue, you'll have to do it without me." This is why I made Reminder #40 in Ultimate Reminders for College Students, "Don't argue with those who love to argue." Amen?
5. Be humble enough to share the limelight. I love how C.S. Lewis defined humility: He said humility isn't thinking less of yourself -- it's thinking less about yourself. In social situations, show a genuine interest in the other person. As I'm sure you've noticed, not everyone does.
6. Don't be the smartest person you know. I once saw a t-shirt that said, "I'm silently correcting your grammar." (I just laughed out loud again as I typed that.) Cleverness aside, folks who are always proclaiming their superiority -- for example, by correcting other people or topping their story -- end up shooting their own credibility in the foot. Be better than that.
Whose respect would you like to strengthen? Show that person consideration, carry yourself with class, and your success is all but guaranteed.
Gina DeLapa is America's Ultimate Reminders Coach and the creator of the Ultimate Reminders book series. Her wise and witty reminders ("Be a saint, but not a martyr") will make you laugh, stir your soul, and inspire your best. She is also a biweekly guest on FOX5 San Diego. Sign up for her free newsletter, Monday-Morning Pep Talk, at UltimateReminders.com.