How to give respect to earn respect from others.

I am a Star Trek TNG guy.  One of my favorite characters on the series is Worf.  If you are not familiar with Star Trek, Worf is a Klingon.  Klingons are a “humanoid life form” that places high value on honor.  Their name and honor mean more to them than anything else, including their lives.  (Klingons belevie that every day is a good day to die.)

In one episode, Worf says “Respect is something one must EARN and is NOT GIVEN”.

It is true, respect must be earned and the best way to earn respect is to give respect to others.

How to give respect to others.

There are many ways accomplish this

  • In every interaction address the person you are speaking to by their name.  I prefer to be more casual and use first names, but there are some situations when a more formal interaction is called for, such with a doctor or a judge. 
  • When you are asked to speak, thank the person for allowing you for acknowledging you.
  • When someone makes a good suggestion or shares a good opinion, tell them so.
  • Do not interrupt others when they are speaking.  No one likes to be cut off in mid-sentence.  I call it being bulldozered when it happens to me.  It makes the other person feel like you do not care what they are saying and can lead to them not listening to you.
  • Do not monopolize the conversation.  Talking all the time and not allowing others speak will cause others to ignore and eventually avoid you (think of Cliff Clavin on Cheers).
  • Be respectful of other people’s opinions.  It is okay to disagree with others.  It is also acceptable (in many situations) to express a differing opinion or even debate with the other person. 
  • Always be courteous towards others.  Remember, they have a right to their opinion as much as you have to yours.
  • Avoid name calling, insults and profanity, especially in professional or work-related settings
  • Do not point out the other person’s flaws (no matter how much their flaws annoy you).  A pet peeve of mine is when I am speaking to someone who has horrible grammar.  (I don’t got no…).  It is as annoying as fingernails on a chalkboard.  As much as you want to correct them or tell them their shortcomings in life, do not do it – just bite your tongue.
  • IN PERSON:  A firm handshake (when COVID is over) is a good start and/or closing to a conversation.  Also, make good eye contact with the person you are interacting with.
  • ON A PHONE CALL: keep background distractions to a minimum.  This means make sure the dog is not barking and the kids are not killing each other during your phone call.  Sounding professional on every call can go a long way as you build your success.
  • VIRTUAL MEETINGS:  Keep your microphone turned off when you are not speaking.  You do not want to be the person who ruined the meeting by a distracting noise.
  • VIRTUAL MEETINGS:  Be mindful if your camera is on.  Make sure your background looks professional and you are dressed professionally.   For goodness sake do not do anything embarrassing on the call (many calls are recorded) like yawning at an inopportune moment, eating, picking your nose, etc.
  • IN AN EMAIL CONVERSATION: Do not talk like Prince, do not use numbers 4 words.  Keep your tone professional and do not send spam!
  • At the conclusion of any conversation, thank them for helping and/or for their time.

Most people must have heard what my mother said to me all the time when I was a kid, treat people the way you want to be treated. 

If you treat people with the respect you would like to receive, they will return it to you (and possibly more) when they interact with you.