Entrepreneur and best-selling author Heather Monahan is an expert on being taken seriously.
She‘s the author of Confidence Creator and the host of the Creating Confidence podcast, sharing her own experiences shattering the glass ceiling to empower others to do the same. When we spoke with her recently about developing confidence, we learned just how to demonstrate that self-assuredness to others to command the attention and respect we deserve.
Sweety High: What are some of the key factors that determine whether or not we‘re taken seriously?
Heather Monahan: To be taken seriously you need to be on time, be prepared, be honest, stand tall, make eye contact and shake others‘ hands when you introduce yourself. Speak up when you have something to say and don‘t use self-deprecating humor. Putting yourself down or making jokes about yourself simply tells others to do the same.
Investing in ourselves means taking time to choose our clothes and care for them and for ourselves. If you are running into a meeting late with wet hair and wrinkled clothes, chances are that most people won‘t take you seriously. Respect is built over time, and when you put in the work and show up as the best version of you, others will take notice. If someone decides they don‘t want to take you seriously because of your age or gender, welcome that as a challenge that you will win. As a young woman in business, I was written off by many. However, I used that as fuel to drive me to outwork my peers and come out on top.
SH: How else can we establish credibility and have others respect what we have to say?
HM: When you share your unique opinions, they add value. I have heard young women say, “I can‘t speak up because I don‘t have the experience everyone else does.“ No—you have your own perspective, and there is value in that. There‘s tremendous value in young people contributing their perspectives because they‘re closer to trends and innovation compared to their older counterparts. Step into your power and shine your light and you will inevitably create value. Once you see yourself as valuable, so will everyone else.
SH: How can we deal with people who refuse to see our value, regardless of what we do?
HM: Thank you, next! Whenever possible, spend time with people who believe in you and respect you. Others‘ opinions of us are none of our business. It is entirely about them, so spending time thinking about it is futile. If you‘re in a situation where you have to be with someone who refuses to see your credibility, minimize your time there and use it as a game where you can showcase your skills and talents and then go on your merry way. When the haters start to come for us, that means we‘re doing something different and unique, and that should be celebrated.