How to Show Respect

Now it's time to examine how to show respect since we have examined what is respect and why having respect for others is important.

Understanding that respect is about being considerate to others and their point of view, how we show respect, then, is the means by which we demonstrate this.

The first step in showing respect is to have an open mind. By not making assumptions, we allow ourselves to consider new ways of thinking and recognize new opportunities. By being open to these new ideas, we will find new attributes that may be worthy of our esteem (or respect).

Another thing one can do to show respect is to listen attentively or what some people refer to is to listen hard. What this means is to take in what the person is saying and think about what the essential points are that the speaker is trying to get across. Let the person complete his/her thoughts. Do not interrupt them. You will have your opportunity to respond. Speaking over another person totally counteracts any means of showing respect.

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An extremely important way on how to show respect is make eye contact. Making eye contact tells the speaker that you are committed to what they are saying. That you find what the speaker is saying important and that you are providing him the space to state his position. Being genuine in making eye contact means we are truly clearing our mind to accept this point of view.

When the speaker is finished making her point, respond to what she meant and not necessarily what she said. This is the essence of listening attentively. By listening attentively, we are absorbing the meaning of the words versus just the words themselves. In addition, take into account body language and other non-speaking clues for determining the true meaning of the message being delivered.

Another means of how to show respect is to keep your promises. When making a commitment to someone, follow through on those commitments. But not only keep your promises, but also go beyond what is expected. By consistently following through on your promises and delivering beyond expectations, you are showing the person how important he or his agenda is to you. As the saying goes:

Actions speak louder than words.

Nothing says this more than keeping our promises and by consistently strive beyond what is expected.

Other simple ways to show respect are to be on time and being mannerly. Both of these things says that the other party is important enough that I should be mindful of her time constraints and that being mannerly infers I am treating her with respect.

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When in a position of power, being fair and allowing everyone to have their say is another means of showing respect. When in a position of power, being fair engenders a spirit of trust and openness that will permit the best ideas to bubble to the surface. It also gives people the feeling of security to state their point of view.

Don’t forget to show respect by being encouraging. This allows people to feel secure in presenting alternate positions and solutions. Being encouraging tells the person that his thoughts are important and worth listening to, and as a result creates an environment of openness.

Finally, preserve dignity. If you feel wronged by someone, don’t escalate the war. Seek ways to come to an agreement without reducing the situation to a dirty fight (maybe politicians should consider this and free up the airwaves with all of the mudslinging nonsense). By preserving dignity, in the end, your position will come out being respected because not only the validity of your position, but also the manner in which you handled an untenable situation.

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