I was overseas, thankful for the hotel air conditioning that kept the humidity at bay. Still, not everything was perfect within the ground floor restaurant, as over the course of an hour I observed two other businessmen in action. They were making constant demands of the staff – fair enough, I suppose – but instead of asking courteously their demands were delivered in barks and half-shouts. There were no smiles, no eye contact and not a single please or thank you. They did not represent themselves at all, not showing Valuing People well.
My three children – Joseph, Matilda and Reuben – have spent their respective eight, six and four years on this planet being drilled in the importance of those ‘magic words’. It’s still happening today, with my wife and I reminding them just how vital it is to be polite and say our please and thank yous. Sometimes they remember, sometimes they forget, and when the lesson finally beds in and the drilling can stop, they will have taken a major step in the way they relate to people. My little Relationologists will be making ground.
Whether we’re payK51R58QJQBing for groceries in the supermarket or enjoying a business event, we should practice the habit of being courteous to everyone we have contact with. It demonstrates that we’re aware of other people, that we value them for who they are and appreciate what they’ve done for us.
So why don’t we use those key words more? Assuming that we’ve been drilled a little ourselves when we were children, usually as adults we let them drop because we’re too focussed on ourselves, too tired, upset or busy.
Letting the common courtesies slip is a sign that life may well be out of balance.
VALUING PEOPLE QUESTION: The magic words cost nothing. Go out and use them right now and show that you value people for who they are, not just for what they’ve done for you. And if you really fancy a challenge, try bringing them into a hard-to-win business encounter. Think about what it feels like to be polite.
Author: Matt Bird, The Relationologist