How does one show respect to others in the United States?
I will answer this question from two perspectives, one is about speech manner, the other one is more about agreed social rituals.
Step 1: Speech Manner: How People Show Respects Through Their Talks
The most common way to show respects to one's listeners is by using the magic word "PLEASE". Using "please" shows that the speaker is expressing inquiry with a humble attitude.
By saying "thanks" to people who is doing you a favor or will do in near future, the speaker is showing respect through appreciation toward the listener's conducts.
Toning is important when it comes to verbal communcation. It cues to listeners what the speaker's attitude it. Toning is how listeners can identify if the speaker is being sincere, sarcastic or funny. If one wants to show respect, he/she should maintain a plain sincere and humble tone.
Step 2: Social Rituals: Non-Verbal Communication
Verbal communication is certainly a direct approach to show respects to someone, but nonverbal communication is as important as what you say.
1. Eye contact
In order to show respect, the speaker makes effective use of eye contacts. In my culture, there is a saying that ''eyes are the windows of your heart"; eye contacts can signal the listener what the speaker's attitude is. If the speaker is using polite words, but constantly avoiding eye contacts, then his/her intention can be insincere. Similarly, if the listener is constantly avoiding eye contacts, it might be a signal that he/she is not paying full attention to the speaker.
2. Personal Space
In the United States, personal space is another important feature of non-verbal communication. People show respects to their listeners by maintaining an appropriate level of personal space.