Perhaps it’s our increasingly fast-paced society, or maybe people just don’t care anymore, but please and thank you really do go a long way in business.
Regardless of who I am talking with, be it a fellow entrepreneur, a sales person, or the janitor sweeping the floor, I’m always polite and courteous.
That’s the way I was taught, and not just by my folks.
I remember when I was just another cog in the corporate wheel, working alongside some of the highest executives in a company. Although I didn’t have the power or prestige of being at the same level as they were, they all made me feel welcome, be treating me as an equal.
They never ordered or commanded me to do anything. They always asked, politely, with a please, followed by a thank you.
Some even thanked me afterwards for a job well done.
These executives, and others back then that I was fortunate enough to learn from, taught me you really do get more from your colleagues with sugar than with vinegar. I always strive to ask people to do something, with a please and a thank you. And I make the effort to follow-up with people too, personally thanking them whenever I can, because those people will remember that – and want to work with and for me again and again.
Oh I remember the occasional slave drivers in senior roles, that demanded, ordered and scared the pants off their staffs with unrealistic deadlines, threats of termination, and even public shaming for not performing.
I also remember how much longer it took to get anything done under the slave drivers, because of the frightful working conditions, the work suffered, usually being rushed and delivered full of mistakes. We’d then have to correct those errors, which took more time, which angered the slave driver, and just made everyone all the more on edge.
I’ll never work with or for the slave drivers from my past. They’ve earned a rare and dishonorable spot in my bad books.
Please and thank you really do matter in everything you do.
Perhaps there are more slave drivers in the corporate world since the decline of middle management, and the lack of real stable and secure employment?
Perhaps that’s what is causing so many people in business to simply forget the most basic of manners – please and thank you.
They aren’t big words, yet they seem to be lacking in many of the correspondence and calls I have.
From a venture capitalist, that granted me all of 15-minutes on his afternoon drive home, yelling at me over his cell’s speaker phone, because he didn’t have the manners – or the balls – to talk to me face-to-face.
To some guy in a cheap polyester suit sitting across from me in an office reception area munching on a sandwich, sputtering crumbs everywhere. I was waiting to meet with someone, it could have been him. Turns out, he worked for the company, and was using the reception seating as his personal lunchroom, because after he had his lunch, he got up, and used his access card to go back into the office.
How rude. And not a very good image to present to potential customers.
Even in our job applications, I’m seeing the lack of civility, as people demand that we call them back, or don’t bother calling back if the job doesn’t have X, Y and Z.
You’re looking for work, and telling potential employers what you’re expectations of THEM are?
I get emails from people demanding I call them at such and such a time, without a please or a thank you. Voice messages demand my immediate attention, yet again, no please or thank you – sometimes not even a “hello.”
We’re all busy, that’s just the nature of our blink-in-a-second-world.
However, please and thank you really do go a long way.
Because you never know what people will remember of you -- and your manners -- or lack of them.