“Good manners will open doors that the best education cannot.”

—Clarence Thomas

Good Manners

Your mom was right: good manners matter, and make your day easier. Also, good manners are a key part of a successful business strategy, creating an attitude of respect, etiquette, politeness. Remember that all important first impression, and the Golden Rule to “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” What you send out comes back to roost.

Smile, make eye contact, give that person your attention -– all of your attention. Turn off your blackberry/cell phone if you are in a meeting, and do the same when you’re on the phone. Find a private place that is distraction-free so that you can focus on them and take notes related to the task at hand. Use your customer’s name, and if you aren’t sure you are pronouncing the person’s name correctly, ask them. If it is a name difficult to pronounce, that person likely would be thankful for having someone caring and respectful enough to ask. If you are phoning them, ask if you have caught them at a good time, and if it isn’t, when would be more convenient? You are showing consideration for other people in these simple common-sense ways.

A positive attitude is much more attractive to someone than cynicism or negativity. People know that how you talk about others is how you will talk about them. People do business with people they trust. Good manners show your business to be trustworthy and a good positive attitude shows that you will be pleasant to deal with, even if the going gets tough.

Good manners with customers follow naturally from good manners in your office and workplace (and home). By modeling good manners you will see less disparaging, negative and sarcastic comments being thrown around your office. Your employees will feel valued and appreciated and look forward to coming to work, rather than feeling like their paycheque isn’t enough reason to merit living in a war zone.

Be sure to say ‘thank you’ to employees, vendors and those who do a good job or go that little extra kilometer for your business. Thank your customers for their business. Remember, customers have other choices. When they choose you, good manners will reinforce the fact they’ve made a good decision.

I always give people the benefit of the doubt until I am proved wrong otherwise. Be sure to make policies in your office to treat every customer the same. Those same policies can protect you from not getting paid. Many times I get repeat work just because I treat people with the utmost respect and professionalism.