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How to Show Up Powerfully When Someone Doesn’t Like You

One of the most memorable comments I received on a speaker evaluation came from someone who was clearly not a Linda “fan.”

“I think her information was good and she knew what she was talking about. However, she looks and sounds too much like my ex-girlfriend for me to give her a higher score.”

Even when you look your best and are prepared, some people won’t like you. (Apparently, reasons include resembling an ex-girlfriend. Really?!)

Most people, however, will respond positively if you follow the tips below.

  • According to the research for my upcoming book, Ask Outrageously! The Secret to Getting What You Really Want,  the number one way people increase their confidence when asking for something is to, “know all the details and have done my research.”  Also, more than 25% report being more confident when they dress well.

  • Pretend you are a host at dinner party or a reception.Think how a host would act to make others feel welcome. For instance, you would ask people about their work and their hobbies. You would make sure they met others and ask what they need.

  • Replace your use of “Mr.”, “Ms.” or “Mrs.” with first and last names.For example when calling people, replace, “Hi Mr. South, this is Kelly.” Instead, use “Jim South this is Kelly Vasquez” or in introducing yourself or others for the first time, “Jane North? I’m Bae Park and this is Robert Flores.”

  • When making presentations, remind yourself the information you are presenting is extremely important. You are there to make sure they understand the most essential points. Don’tshow up and throw up every detail you possess on the topic. Your key concern is communicating in a way they fully grasp the material. Your pictures, stories, slides and supporting documents are there to powerfully support the message.

  • If you aren’t being heard or acknowledged when you are meeting by phone or even in person, stand up.Your voice power will increase and your energy will too. Also, it’s a little difficult to ignore a person standing while everyone else is seated in a meeting room. Walk over to a white board or flip chart while you are at it and diagram your points.

  • Mimic the body language of the most powerful people you know.They stand up straight, make appropriate eye contact and use gestures to convey their points. Look at their feet. Usually, they are placed about shoulder-length apart. They have an open stance. They smile and nod when they agree. The even walk in with power and purpose.

  • Remember the power of questions. The highest decision makers ask a multitude of questions to understand and determine what happens next. People don’t think they are ill-informed or wasting their time. The opposite is true. People respond positively to well-asked questions. Thoughtful questions show you are being heard and are worthy of their attention.

By the way, I haven’t always shown up powerfully. In the short video below I describe a big mistake I made early in my career.

About Linda Swindling

A recognized authority on negotiations, workplace issues and high stakes communication, Linda Swindling, is an author, media expert, a “recovering” employment attorney and a Certified Speaking Professional. She is the creator of the popular Passports to Success book series and author of upcoming book Ask Outrageously: The Secret to Getting What You Really Want. Linda speaks at conventions, associations and companies throughout the country. You can learn more about Linda at