Manners cost nothing!
“No matter who you are and what you do, your manners will have a direct impact on your professional and social success.” - Anonymous
“Manners are a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others. If you have that awareness you have good manners, no matter what fork you use.” – Emily Post
As a child of the 1970’s, and with strict parents, manners and common courtesies were drilled into me from an early age. Respect your elders; never tell lies; help people when you can; do what you say you are going to do when you say you are going to do it; don’t let people down; always apologise when something is your fault and finally remember to say please and thank you when appropriate. And like all of these things, once you know how to behave, you think that everyone else will follow suit.
Well two incidents in recent weeks have made me wonder exactly what’s happening with the rest of the world and whether I am an exception rather than the rule.
You don’t call, you don’t write
Take the first example. I refer my client to use the services of a company that I have met and networked with for years. The client buys from them and thanks me for the referral, whilst the company who got the work have not even had the good grace to call or drop me an email saying thank you.
Do as I say, not as I do
The second example refers to a proposal I recently submitted for some work. When following up with the prospect they said that they needed another quote for comparison purposes but were going to make a quick decision so would be in touch in the next two weeks. Well it’s week four and still nothing from them, despite a friendly chaser.
Now some people amongst you might say that’s forgetfulness rather than rudeness but to me this two incidences say more to me about them and their businesses. In fact in light of these behaviours, I will change the way I do business. I won’t referrer any business to the company in the first example and if/when the organisation in the second example makes a decision, I will turn it down if I win the work - particularly as they were keen to point out to me the importance of keeping their clients informed every step of the way.
Relationships and trust
Making promises you have no intention of keeping and/or forgetting to say thank you are not exactly the worst things people could do, but in my line of work where it’s all about relationships and developing trust, manners really do matter and let’s face it they are free!
But I think what is more frightening is the fact that when I told a few people about these lapses in manners and general business etiquette, the people I told came right back at me with their own stories which in some cases were far, far worse than my own.
Treating people how you wish to be treated has always been my mantra. So next time you come across a display of bad manners ask yourself if this is something that you are willing to put up with or not?! Remember we are all consumers and there are individuals and organisations out there that are a sheer pleasure to do business with.
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