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Respect Some people are always listened to. What they say matter, and everyone pays attention whenever they speak.

Why is that so? There’s an air of authority about their every words and actions, which helps them in getting their point across, when others would not even be heard.

In short, they are who you and I would call “Natural Leaders.”

I am not one of those people – I wasn’t born super-confident – so I took some time to study man and women who naturally command respect, in order to learn their secrets and get the results I wanted in my own life.

The experiment has worked well: today my behavior has changed - though I’m still me - and I have finally been offered the job I had been wanting for the last three years.

I should come clean with you – I haven’t discovered any secrets… – only well known habits which increase their effectiveness exponentially when applied all together.

If you are not a “Natural Leader”, the good news is that a confident behavior can be learned: read the tips below and start immediately to practice those which feel ok with you. Results will soon follow...

- Stand tall: keeping your shoulders pushed back will lend you an air of confidence.
- Spread your weight evenly on both feet instead of leaning only on one.
- Try standing with your arms crossed behind your back. Your shoulders will get pulled back automatically.
- Don’t stand with your hands on your hips if you don’t want to come across as confrontational.
- Don’t lean against walls or tables. You’ll appear tired and lazy.

What are you looking at?
- Look directly at the person you are talking to in order to exude confidence. If you turn away from the person you’re talking to in the middle of the conversation, you’ll show you’re not interested.
- Look straight in front of you: looking down might be interpreted as shyness, looking slightly upward could be perceived as arrogance. Finally, if you wear glasses, don’t look over the rim. It makes you look condescending.
- Don’t look at your watch unless you want to appear as if you’re in a rush.
- Don’t rub your eyes with your hands: it signals disbelief at the situation.
- Keeping your eyes on the door will show that you’re ready to leave the room.

When you are sitting…
- Sit straight so that your shoulders almost touch the back of your chair.
- 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.
- Make sure your chair is positioned so you’re facing the person you’re talking to. This will show that you’re engaged in what they are saying.
- Lean slightly forward to appear interested in a conversation and stress what you’re saying.
- Don’t tilt your chair back so that it’s standing on two legs. This shows a very casual, laid back attitude and does not earn you respect. You also run the risk of looking silly when you accidentally fall backwards.
- Stretching your legs out shows you’re too relaxed and may also invade others’ personal space.
- Never put your feet up on the desk in front of you. You don’t want to come across as condescending.

Head and Face
- Tilting your head to one side during a conversation shows you’re interested and thinking about what’s being said.
- Be sure to nod your head so the person you’re speaking with knows you’re listening and interested.
- A blank face conveys either disinterest or a lack of understanding.

What are you doing with your hands?
- If seated, place your hands on armrest or on your laps ; if standing still, try holding your hands behind your back. Break such standard position whenever needed, and then return to it as soon as you can. - Open, face-up palms signal honesty and straightforwardness.
- Gesturing with your arms can help you making a point, but doing it excessively can became distracting.
- Make sure your palms are clean and dry. Sweaty palms indicate nervousness and are a turn off for most people.
- Never point at someone, be it the person talking to you or anyone else in the room. It’s rude.
- Don’t scratch your head. You’ll come across as being unsure of yourself.
- Don’t tap your fingers on a table or arms of a chair; you’ll seem anxious.
- Don’t run your fingers through your hair. It shows frustration.
- Never bite your nails. It will make you seem nervous.
- Don’t fidget with objects lying on the table in front of you.
- Don’t sit with your palms on your cheeks. It shows you’re deep in thought about something else.
- Do not wipe your palms on your clothing. Use a handkerchief instead.
- Don’t play or fidget with your mobile phone when someone’s talking to you. It shows avoidance and a lack of interest.
- Don’t touch your nose, play with your hair, or rub your eyes when you’re being asked for an honest answer. They’re all signs that say you’re lying.
- 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.

Last but not Least…
- If the situation calls for paperwork, be sure to keep your papers in order with easy access to avoid looking disorganized.
- Removing your tie, top button, or jacket to indicate you’re getting comfortable in your surroundings.
- Open doors and allow others to walk before you.
- Cough and sneeze into your hands or a handkerchief, not into the face of the people around you.
- Additionally, try videotaping your actions so you can find out where you’re going wrong. I know, it sound weird, but it is amazingly effective.
- Look good. You don’t have to be conventionally handsome or beautiful; it’s enough to dress neatly in clothes that suit both you and the occasion.
- Smell good. Use deodorant and perfume, but go easy on it. You don’t want to overpower the room with your scent.
- Wear footwear that allows you to walk comfortably to avoid making a fool of yourself.
- Avoid revealing, dirty or wrinkled clothing.
- And finally, remember to smile. Smiles are contagious :-)

By Marco Adragna


I have been many of these naturally but they are NOT necessarily to get respect from people. They are IMPORTANT but not enough. How you converse with people as important as the list here.

Very good information! Thank you for the reminders to stand up straight and look people in the eye. Do parents teach those skills anymore? I think video-taping is a great idea!

Calvin: You raise an important point, which is left out on purpose from the list: how we converse with people strongly influence their perception of who we are. On the other hand, 90% of our communication is non verbal, so if the body language is right, you've done most of the work...
John: Thanks John! In counseling - if the client agrees - we routinely videotape to check body language.

great posting! thanks for the wisdom....

This is a really great list. Thank you for compiling it, very well written and practical. We all know the points, but we don't seem to remember or are conscious of it when we need them. :) So this serves as an excellent reminder. ^_^

Book Marked it!
Thank you!


Tina, Etavitom: good luck my fellow bloggers!

Hi Marco, great article, thanks! The small things that make sense, including the last one (keep smiling).

Great blog. This post gives me a few ideas. I will subscribe for more similar posts.

Hi Marco, great post. I'm curious about the title "Command Respect" ... I'm not sure that "respect" can be "commanded", but I think these are great techniques for being ASSERTIVE. This then probably leads to a future post about "how to converse". For me, this is about how to "behave as if your needs rights and wants are equal to the needs rights and wants of others" ... not about imposing one's views and getting people to see it "my" way ... but finding the intelligent way forward.

Already looking forward to your next post :-)

Celestine xx

Welcome back Celestine! The idea that respect can be commanded is probably a slightly grandiose thought: we can't "force" someone to respect us.

On the other hand, we can behave in ways which make it more likely that we will be listened attentively, and maybe even looked up to.

Assertively expressing our needs is yet another piece of the puzzle, and a very important one too.

I found this through Lifehacker. This is awesome. I like the whole post really. Some of these I do, but some of them I unfortunately don't, especially the whole organizing my paperwork part. I'm glad you laid it out like you did, so I can remember some of these things. Peace.

Good list. You should've numbered it.

!Yes! on Videoing Self. For any of us who've been in a play that was taped, it is frequently an odd and embarassing exp. to see yourself.

note: some of these things are the exact opposite for pickup; ex: lean back

Oh, also:
Inner Game is more important than outer game.

One book a Doc recommended is "Your Perfect Right" by Alberti&Emmons.

I really like the post, it makes a lot of interesting points, but there were quite a few typos (I saw at least three while just skimming the article) that lower from the overall quality.

I really like the post, it makes a lot of interesting points, but there were quite a few typos (I saw at least three while just skimming the article) that lower from the overall quality.

Excellent advice! Thanks very much for this post.

Good compilation of tips, but if you want to command respect in your writing you must be more attentive to grammar and structure. Your limited mastery of the art of writing distracts from the thesis.

I would recommend to avoid coughing in your hands.
If you're doing it in front of others, they will be hesitant to make contact with you.

I would try to cough into the elbow or shoulder, even though it may look a little awkward.

Hi Marco, great thanks for the post, and the site, also. But as Calvin and Celestine commented above, I think the title is somehow not appropriate.
Anyway, thanks again, for the great post, guy :)

Question: Doesn't this conflict with this article:

p/s: Can you make this comment box a little bit wider ?

Jose: I agree. Chatting up someone is about creating rapport - so mirroring and leaning forward might be appropriate - whilst commanding respect is sometimes about breaking it...

Will, Omer, Buz: I know, I am not faring well in grammar. In my defense, I should say that I am Italian and I live in Rome. If you regularly read this blog, could you give me a hand by pointing out grammatical mistakes and suggestions either in the comment sections or via email? I'd appreciate it.

shk: Thanks for the extra tip!

Huy:Good Point. I believe I will not try to be someone other than who I am, if I learn to command respect, but that might not hold true for everyone. "Who are you? If you feel that you are your inability-to-command-respect, then you'll be afraid change. If you identify with your inner-self, than you'll be able to change your behavior without losing your identity"

the goal is self respect - if others respond fine if not also fine - if you have genuine self respect you will always find something in comnon with any other person - it is called rapport - people respond to and remember those with whom they experience rapport -

sometimes you can be so self conscious that the body language appears conscientious

The truth is: stern belief and conviction make you a leader. Your posture HAS nothing to do with it.

These are all good observations, but all these happen naturally when you are okay with yourself, when you are not afraid of others' judgment, when you genuinely and innocently enjoy interacting with people and treat them and yourself with dignity. It's about being self-possessed, self-aware, living well and treating yourself and others correctly.

Skyz, Miss Universe, A, Sepehr: Point taken. Let me add that...
- I agree. There are many things way more important than commanding respect. For example becoming happier&happier and helping others to do the same.

- Commanding respect is often about breaking rapport. No mirroring, just stand tall with your shoulders pushed back and see what happen.

- The way you behave and the way you feel influence one another. What's easiest for you to change? For me it's behavior, but that ain't true for everyone.

An excellent source of self-development information. I shall be linking to your page from my site. Thank you for your contribution to building people.

Awesome post.... I'll take heed of all of em

This is an excellent post and it brings home an important point that people should be aware of. When it comes to human communication, most people tend to focus on their verbal skills. The truth is that our body language, our eye contact, our posture and all of the other things mentioned in this post communicate far more than our words ever could.

The human mind works in pictures not words, so images have a greater impact than what we hear. Not only does our body language send a message to the outside world, it also sends a message to our own brains. You can actually change the way you feel about yourself by adopting a different posture, different gestures, or different facial expressions.

If you want to amaze yourself, take some of the suggestions from this post, practice them and then go out in public. Now notice how people respond to you, at the same time notice how you feel about yourself. I call this reverse neuro conditioning and I just wrote a post about it yesterday called Empowering Beliefs. Check it out if you have time.

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