Show respect through formalities
Introductions and greetings are very important tools in communication. How people perceive you will often determine how they treat you. If you are trying to make friends, find clients, make contacts, sell them something, or anything else we might do, with one simple process, you can move one giant step toward your goal.
Paul, in the book of Ephesians, demonstrates this process: Respect. He wrote,
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus.
Beginning his letter, he reminded them of his service to Jesus as an apostle. He did not assume this responsibility, but Jesus charged him to this task, a charge that the Father Himself commanded. In Paul’s estimation, even though it came with great honor, being appointed as an Apostle was practically a death sentence, one he would willingly and fervently accept. Notice how he demonstrates the respect he wants from them by addressing himself as he wants them to see him.
Also note how he showed respect to his audience.
He addressed the Christians of Ephesus by calling them saints. These were sacred people, made holy by the sacrifice of Jesus. They were faithful, another powerful word. These people were children of the living God, and loyal to Him. He addressed them with two of the highest terms of respect any Christian could wish to hear.
The blessing of grace and peace he called upon them is exactly what they would expect to receive in their lives as God’s faithful children. These are formalities, but they are extremely important in communication. Sure, it is a minor point in this letter, but it is, nevertheless, and important one.
These formal greetings in the letters of the New Testament are not merely a product of culture. They are a product of culture precisely because they work so well in human nature.
Benefits of genuine respect
When we speak to others, if we hope for them to hear us, we must treat them as equals, worthy of respect.
In our informal culture, we have lost many forms of address. Fortunately, with just a little effort, you can stand out and create relationships based on mutual respect and appreciation. If you appreciate others, they tend to return the same.
In the business world, or in religion, or in just about any aspect of life, if you want to gain an audience and create bonds of trust, you need to learn to show respect from the start.
Flattery will not impress most people for long. They will soon catch your insincerity and react to it. It’s manipulative, and creepy. But if you can show respect, genuine respect, you will benefit in several ways.
- They will usually respect you.
- They will give you the benefit of time. That is, they will listen to you if you are talking about something. Take advantage of this and “hook them” with interesting ideas if you are presenting something to them.
- They will possibly like you better.
- They will probably think you are very smart. After all, you paid them respect; you must be a smart person!
- You will build good-will and further establish your relationship.
Treat yourself and others with respect
Respect is not about self-loathing. You cannot denigrate yourself and create respect at the same time. In fact, if you treat yourself without respect, many people will see that as the way you should be treated. Present yourself as someone who others should respect, and they will respect you, but be sure to show them the respect you would hope to receive.
Give it a try. It might seem silly at first, but you will soon learn that it feels nice, and it makes other people feel good about themselves too.
Two simple ways I show respect
I show respect to my wife by opening her car door, or any door she approaches. I make an effort and out-pace her specifically so that I can do this for her. She can easily do it herself, but this is a way to show that I love, appreciate, and respect her in my life.
And that has carried over to other women in my life. If I am near or walking with a woman, I will be sure to get the door. I have sometimes taken my daughter and one of her friends to places, and I will open both car doors for these young women. Sometimes they blush because it is a little odd. But I shrug it off and explain that I do this for every lady around me. They always graciously accept. I think it makes them feel like a queen for a few moments. And who wouldn’t want to feel like that now and then?
Of course, I show respect to men too. I generally do this with a firm handshake and a pat on the back if I know them, or if I don’t know them I might skip the pat on the back. I look them in the eye and speak directly to them. I honor other men by treating them as if they are important and worthy of my attention.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t see myself as the king of respect. Sometimes I am rude to people and only realize it later. But with a little effort, you can treat people with respect too. And you can lift someone’s spirits.
After all, it’s much easier to make a good impression than to fix a poor one.
Just by adding a little different activity to your interactions, you can really make people feel special.
What are some ways you show respect to the people in your life?
See you tomorrow!