Why do we pay more attention when successful people talk?

Many years ago I went through a decade of some notable success in business. It didn’t matter where I was at, the bar, the coffee shop, family gatherings etc, whenever I spoke everyone would shut up and listen. It didn’t seem to matter if what I was speaking of had anything to do with what I was successful at or not. I could almost sense a quiet hostility as I spoke, resentment at having to submit the floor. A few years later I went broke and everything seemed to return to normal. It was quite uncomfortable for me and somewhat embarrassing to be afforded this level of respect that I had never formerly experienced. I felt forced to start hanging out with my new equally as successful peers for this reason. And then I was accused of being “uppity” .
Is this truly respect or is there something in our social hierarchy that demands this unconsciously

Your experience is certainly too small a sample size to usefully generalise from, but in principle, it seems plausible that there could be an overlap between the traits that make people interesting to listen to, and the traits that make people successful.

Apart from that, successful often means rich, rich sometimes means powerful.

Mangeetout, I used my experience as a sample just to point out that before and after my success things were pretty normal. I see it all the time in my everyday life but I don’t always know much about the other parties history as I do my own.

Could it be that the “successful” people just tend to talk more loudly? You’re referring to informal contexts, right? (Not TV interviews, for example.)

As Mangetout indicates, we have an interesting (though vaguely stated) hypothesis, but no real data to go along with it. In my field, we’d have to set up video cameras in a more or less uniform series of these contexts (for example, a book club meeting), wherein the “successful” status of the participants could be indexed. Then we’d transcribe the interactions (both verbal and non-verbal), and examine them closely to see if there were any patterns.

Then we could try to answer the question in the OP. It could be that the “successful” people just talk more loudly, or that they tend to monopolize the discourse in one or more ways. Then it would be easy to see why we “pay more attention” to them.

Because people are ass-kissing sheep. They think success will rub off on them somehow. They think success is the result of some little secret or clever move instead of hard work or luck.

It’s probably because of body language and other nonverbal communication, which are of course, traits that when properly utilized can make people very successful.