There is nothing more frustrating than not being taken seriously. In a business environment it can cost you money through lost sales and staff not doing what you ask of them. The number of opportunities that come your way will also be seriously limited if potential partners or customers don't take you seriously.
If you are working in the corporate world, not being taken seriously means that your chances of advancement are going to be limited. Regardless of the situation you find yourself in when others don't take you seriously, it feels frustrating and hurtful.
Clearly there are many reasons for not being taken seriously, most of the time it is simply the result of our own actions. Without even knowing it we could be causing other people to think less of us.
The big question is what can you do to get people to take you more seriously?
1. Don't become a part of the gossipy crowd
A sure fire way to make those who count think less of you is to be one of the gossipers. As much as it can make you feel like a valued member of a group, you won't be doing yourself any favors (and this applies just as much if you are the boss or a worker).
2. Be considered with what you share and where you share
We've all heard the stories and seen the fall out of inappropriate social media sharing. If you are trying to get people to take you seriously, Facebook pictures of a wild drunken party with you as the star will do very little to help your case. And as much as we think we know who is watching our social media feeds, that isn't always the case. Be very considered about what you post and where you post it.
3. Hang out with people that others take seriously
Just as we are judged by our appearances, we are also judged by the peer group we are associated with. If you want to be taken seriously, look around you. Are the people in your peer group the kind that others take seriously? Who do you think Richard Branson hangs out with?
4. Always dress appropriately
The key word here is appropriately. Right or wrong, we are all judged by our appearances. If you take the time to dress and groom accordingly, it shows that you respect yourself--and one of the key steps in getting others to take you seriously is showing that you have a high level of self respect.
5. Always be a couple of minutes early--and develop a reputation for it
We all know those people who can never turn up to a meeting on time. Everyone else has to sit around awkwardly waiting for them to arrive. They come in with a pile of hustle and bustle, like a mini hurricane, sprouting rushed greetings and apologies that you have heard many times before. This is not the way to be taken seriously, do whatever it takes to arrive early and become known as the "early bird".
6. If you make a promise--deliver
There are a lot of people who talk a good game, but they don't ever deliver. They make lots of promises, everything sounds fantastic, but nothing ever happens. If you develop a reputation for being flaky, no one will take you seriously. So make an internal commitment to deliver on every promise you make, or have the courage to not make the promise in the first place.
7. Show respect to everyone you encounter
I'm a huge advocate of this--treat every single person you meet with absolute respect, regardless of how they treat you. I think we should do this because it is the right thing to do, but at the same time, this is what formulates the core of your personal brand. We all know people who are delightful to customers but they treat their own staff like dirt. Treat everyone the same, with absolute respect and others will notice.
8. Let people in--to a point
Many years ago I used to teach people to SCUBA dive. The instructor who taught me gave me some sage advice--he said you should always stay a little aloof from your students, don't party with them or spend too much time with them, because the more they get to know you, the less they will listen to what you have to say and that might cost them their life. I have followed this advice in all of the teaching and mentoring roles I have had since and I believe it to be absolutely true.
9. Do something with your life
If you want people to take you more seriously, give them a reason to. Show them that you are doing something with you life. You don't need to brag about it, actions speak louder than words. Grow your skills, do something challenging, join a team, renovate a house, have an adventure--do something.
10. Stand for something--but don't push it onto others
And last but not least, stand for something. Show that you are passionate about something, whatever it might be. But at the same time, don't become a bore by doing nothing but talking about it all the time. Modestly and humility are two attributes of the person that others take seriously, so when asked, share your views and be passionate about them.