Though we have come a long way from copies of Emily Post’s etiquette books on shelves in the living room, everyone knows what good manners are. Even children at a young age begin to learn to be polite to others, by saying “please” and “thank you” and showing respect. Conducting oneself courteously helps get things accomplished, and helps everyone involved feel better about it.
Just as children are taught how to ask for a cookie or show appreciation when a friend is helpful, adults should know that politeness and good manners also go a long way in business. They help establish mutual respect, and usually help get things done more quickly than demands or a poor attitude.
Good manners can be especially effective in dealing with a difficult customer or coworker. Maintaining your politeness despite someone else’s bad mood and poor demeanor can help diffuse a potentially charged situation, and can help you reach a resolution more quickly. People often mirror the attitude of others, so if you’re sure to maintain a good attitude by being polite, chances are the other person will find themselves using good manners, as well.
Even as more of the business world becomes virtual through email, text messages and instant messages, politeness should still be a priority. In fact, when interacting with someone through email or other social media, it’s important to remember that the other person can’t pick up on any visual or verbal clues about your mood or attitude. This makes it even more important to ensure you are gracious. If you’re careless about your manners in emails, the reader might misinterpret something you write, which could have a detrimental effect.
Many people have heard the saying that “good manners don’t cost anything,” and when you use them, everyone benefits. By creating respect with customers and coworkers, you’ll diffuse potentially difficult situations and ensure that what you’re trying to say doesn’t get misinterpreted. All it takes is a respectful attitude as you deal with people in the business world – it tends to help everything run just a bit smoother.