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Command respect


Some people command respect from those around them; they may be important people, or they may just be ordinary people. What is it about these people that draw others to them and makes them so respected and admired? The following some of the behaviors that confident people exhibit that command respect.


Posture says a lot about a person. Confident people seem to stand tall naturally, while those who lack self-confidence tend to slouch. Your level of interest in a conversation, a movie, a meeting, etc. may be easily read by others by the way you sit or stand. When you walk down the sidewalk with confidence, muggers wonder what you know that they don’t know and tend to avoid you; they tend to seek meek victims. Confident people stand out in a crowd; not because of they are drawing attention to themselves, but by the way they carry themselves.

While standing

  • Stand tall. Keep your shoulders back to present an air of confidence. 
  • Stand evenly. Stand evenly on both feet instead of leaning on one. Act natural but present a stable stance.
  • Keep hands visible. Keep your hands out of your pockets; it indicates you have something to hide. Don't stand with your hands on your hips or with arms crossed; it makes you appear confrontational. Hold hands loosely by your side or in front of your body.
  • Face people. Stand facing the person to whom you are speaking; don't stand where you must turn your head or body toward the person.
  • Don't fidget. Don'tnot fidget with your feet. Drawing patterns on the floor with a foot or constantly shifting weight between the feet shows you are bored.
  • Don't lean. Don't lean against walls or tables; it makes you appear tired and lazy.

While sitting

  • Sit tall. Sit straight so that your shoulders touch the back of your chair; slouching indicates laziness.
  • Sit evenly. Don't lean on the arms of the chair or to one side, stay centered in the chair.
  • Keep hands visible. Rest your hands on the arms of your chair, place them on your knees, or fold them on your lap so that they are not a distraction. Don't cross your arms, it indicates you are uninterested.
  • Cheek rest. Don't sit with your palms resting on your cheeks; it indicates you are deep in thought about something else.  
  • Face people. Ensure your chair is positioned so you are facing the person you are talking to instead of having to turn your head.
  • Lean in. Lean slightly forward to appear interested in a conversation and to stress what you are saying.
  • Keep feet on the floor. Sit with your feet on the floor to minimize distractions. Don't cross your ankles; it indicates you have something to hide. Don't stretch your legs out; it indicates you are too relaxed and it may also invade others’ personal space. Don't put your feet up on the desk in front of you; you will appear condescending. For women, don't cross legs if it will expose too much and be distracting.
  • Keep chair stable. Don't tilt your chair back on two legs; it indicates a very casual attitude and does not earn you respect.


Carry yourself in a confident manner; give the impression you are walking somewhere with a purpose.
  • Steps. Take confident, strong, even strides. Don't walk with a swagger; it indicates that you are cocky, have an attitude, and that you are pretending to be confident.
  • Stay alert. Look ahead, in front of you, and side-to-side to indicate you are alert and aware of everything happening around you.
  • Walk with confidence. Don't shuffle your feet when you walk. Pick up your feet and move like you know where you are going.
  • Show respect.Don't step in front of people, shove people aside, or step on toes as you move across a crowded place. When saying “Excuse me,” state it as a request, not an order.

Eye contact

All people in a conversation should maintain eye contact. The one with the most eye contact tends to gain the most respect. The eyes indicate emotions, attentiveness, and interest. Be aware of what your eyes tell about you; use them to show concern, sympathy, thought, etc. but don't be dramatic.
  • Maintain direct eye contact. Look directly at the person to whom you are talking to exude confidence. Don't keep shifting your attention to other people or things in the room; it indicates deceit.
  • Don't stare. Don't stare or glare at the person talking to you; it makes you appear angry.
  • Minimize blinking. Don't blink excessively; people will be distracted and wonder if there is something wrong with you. 
  • Glasses. If you wear glasses, don't look over the rim; it makes you look condescending. Don't wear sunglasses inside, especially during a meeting; others will think you have something to hide.
  • Looking around. Don't look at a watch, clock, phone, tablet, etc. to check the time; it indicates impatience. Don't keep looking toward the door; it indicates you are ready to leave the room. Don't rub your eyes: it signals disbelief at the situation.


People recognize you by your face and the face communicates with people, either directly through speaking, or indirectly through appearance and expressions. The position of your head, the frequency of your breaths, and yawning are indicators of your level of interest in a conversation. Avoid looking bored or uninterested. If you seem interested in what others are saying, they will do the same to you; it builds mutual respect.
  • Always smile. Smiles are contagious. When you smile, others cannot help but smile back and feel positive towards you.
  • Tilt head. Tilt your head to one side periodically during a conversation to show you are interested and thinking about what is being said.
  • Breathing. Take regular, even breaths; heavy breaths indicate nervousness.
  • Stay animated. Don't present a blank face; it indicates you are uninterested or have a lack of understanding.
  • Nodding. Nod your head periodically to indicate you are listening and interested.
  • Swallowing. Don't swallow too often; it indicates you are uncomfortable with the situation.
  • Yawning. Don'tyawn; it indicates boredom.
  • Touching. Don'tpinch the bridge of your nose with your eyes closed; it indicates negativity. Don't massage your temples; it indicates you are either at your wits’ end or that you have a headache.
  • Licking lips. Don't lick your lips too often. Licking your lips indicates nervousness or worse, sexual aggression.


Speaking is when you make your thoughts, needs, ideas, feelings, etc. known to others around you. You want to make sure what you are saying is what is being heard.
  • Be clear. Speak clearly and concisely, with appropriate tone and inflection.
  • Volume. Keep speaking volume appropriate for the location and situation. If you have an unusually loud or meek voice, be aware of it and compensate for it.
  • Defects. If you have any speech defect, try to minimize it but don't let it hold you back. If you speak with knowledge and confidences, people will listen.


Hand gestures are useful for getting attention or making a point, if they are not a distraction. You want attention to be on your eyes and face while speaking, not at your hands.
  • Keep hands open. Keep hands open and palms upward; it indicates honesty and straightforwardness.
  • Gestures. Gesture with your arms to help you make a point, but not so much that it is distracting.
  • Chin rub. Stroking your chin indicates you contemplating or trying to decide, so be sure that is what you are doing when you stroke your chin.
  • Steeple. Making a steeple with your hands indicates confidence. 
  • Handshake. Shake hands firmly, but not too tight or too limp. Ensure hands are dry and warm. Don't use a two-handed handshake; it is too pretentious. A handshake that goes on for too long may be considered inappropriate. 
  • Sincerity. Touching your open palm to your heart indicates sincerity.
  • Sleeves. Rolling up your sleeves signals a casual, get-down-to-work attitude. Roll them up or down according to the situation.
  • Fists. Don't clench your fists or shake your fists at someone; it indicates aggressiveness. Clenched fists raised in the air indicates you are overjoyed or thrilled, so avoid doing this when situations call for restraint.
  • Pointing. Don't point at someone; it is rude. 
  • Nails. Keep your fingernails clean. Close-cropped nails show you’re neat and orderly, but if you prefer to wear them long, make sure they’re groomed neatly. 
  • Fidgeting. Don't fidget or play with objects when someone is talking to you; it indicates a lack of interest.
  • Rubbing. Don't rub your hands together: it indicates you are too eager.
  • Wringing. Wringing your hands indicates despair.
  • Scratching. Don't scratch your head; it indicates you are unsure of yourself. Any kind of scratching is distracting, and some types may be rude.
  • Touching face. Don't touch your nose, pull at an ear, play with your hair, or rub your eyes when you are being asked for an honest answer; they all indicate you are lying. Running your fingers through your hair indicates frustration
  • Tapping. Don't tap your fingers on a table or arms of a chair; it indicates anxiousness.  
  • Doodling. Don't doodle; it indicates boredom.  
  • Biting. Don't bite your nails or chew on a pencil or pen; it is unsanitary, unattractive, distracting, and indicates nervousness.  
  • Clenching. Don't clench the arms of your chair, handbag, briefcase, etc. too tightly; it indicates nervousness.
  • Wiping. Don't wipe your palms on your clothing; use a handkerchief. 
  • Clapping. Don't snap or clap your hands to call someone over. When applauding, use restraint to not call attention to your clapping.


People respect people who respect themselves, but not people who are narcissistic. People should notice you for your overall appearance; no one thing should draw attention.
  • Look good. You do n't need to be handsome or beautiful; you just need to be neatly dressed in clothes that suit both you and the occasion. Avoid revealing, dirty or wrinkled clothing.
  • Smell good. Use deodorant and perfume or cologne, but go easy on it. You don't want to overpower the room with your scent.
  • Shoes. Wear footwear that allows you to walk comfortably to avoid making a fool of yourself.
  • Clothing. Removing your tie, top button, or jacket indicates you are getting comfortable in your surroundings; however, it also makes you appear casual and less important.
  • Balance. Clothing should not draw attention to any one part of your body. The overall package should exude professionalism and confide
  • Makeup. Keep makeup to a minimum.
  • Jewelry. Keep jewelry to a minimum.
  • Papers. Keep your papers in order for easy access to avoid looking disorganized.


Practicing common courtesy is a basis for earning respect from others; if you are rude, people will avoid talking and working with you.
  • Comforting. When you need to offer comfort, a one-armed squeeze, a gentle hug, or a pat on the shoulder helps, depending on your relationship with the other person. 
  • Doors. Open doors and allow others to walk before you. Don’t slam doors, no matter how angry you are. 
  • Cough. Cough and sneeze into your hands or a handkerchief, not into the face of the people around you.
  • Ruffling hair. Ruffling someone’s hair may seem like you’re being genuinely affectionate, but in a formal setting, it suggests you’re being condescending. 
  • Phone. Don't shout when you’re on the phone. Talk in a calm, volume-controlled voice. Don't huddle into a corner with your mobile phone while in a crowd of people; get out and mingle instead. Keep your private conversations for a time when you are alone. Avoid taking a phone call when you are in the middle of a discussion.
  • Mocking. Don’t mock someone’s mannerisms or make faces or gestures regarding them when you think they are not watching.
  • Nose blowing. If you have a cold, don't blow your nose loudly in public. Never wipe your nose with your hands or sleeves. 
  • Multi-tasking. Don't multi-task in the middle of a conversation. It does  It does not show dexterity, only callousness.

  • InsideCRM.com, part of the Focus network of sites.

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