Have You Lost Your Manners?

I’ve heard it said that successful people do what the unsuccessful are unwilling to do. I didn’t realize until recently how simple, and how incredibly true, that is.

Have you lost your manners?Please and thank-you are simple words, and yet it seems that most people don’t use them. Basic etiquette is missing in society in both our personal lives as well as our professional  ones.

How hard is it to reply to an invitation, send a thank-you card for a gift or do a simple follow-up? I think that it’s not only incredibly easy, but it’s basic manners.

Many people are unaware of how rude their lackadaisical attitude appears.

Do you have a sign at your office that says, “Your mother doesn’t work here, clean up after yourself”? Why do we even need signs that say that? What makes you think that leaving your used coffee mug on the counter is okay? If you leave the coffee pot empty or the photocopier without paper, you’re displaying poor manners and you need to start being aware of the impact your actions have on others.

I recently attended a baby shower and actually received a thank-you card afterwards. I was thrilled because it was the first thank-you card that I had received in years.

I posted a comment about it on Facebook and several people said they think the practice of sending thank-you cards is passé. It was something that used to happen, but doesn’t happen anymore. If that’s the case, then it’s easy to stand out as special, just by sending thank-you cards.

Successful people make a habit of doing what unsuccessful people are unwilling to do. Are you willing to send a simple thank-you card? I am, I do, and I certainly remember and appreciate it when people do it for me.

I had a birthday party for Warren’s 50th recently. Since it was a milestone birthday, we thought we’d have a milestone party, too, and we invited a ton of people. Fewer than 20 showed up. While that in itself was disappointing, what was far more disappointing was that people didn’t even respond to the invitation to let me know if they were coming or not.

Is it that hard to fire off an email, especially when all they had to do was reply to the one they received from me? We had a great time with the small group of real friends that showed up, and I don’t regret not having a lot of people. I do regret that I didn’t know how to prepare for the party, though.

Warren’s company has a very active social committee. They host a lot of really fun events, which are free for staff members, with a nominal fee for spouses. The organizing committee spends a lot of time and energy, and the company spends a lot of money, to ensure the social committee provides quality events for the staff.

Recently they reserved a local ranch for a night of fajitas, and Texas Hold ’Em poker. The initial response to the event was good so the committee guaranteed the restaurant that 60 people would attend. Fewer than 30 showed up. Can you imagine how disappointed the organizing committee felt? If I were the company owner, I would be hesitant to pay for future events if people weren’t even going to show up.

At the doctor’s office recently a older woman with a walker was entering the building. I was surprised at how many people walked by her without holding the door open. They weren’t trying to be rude, but they were so caught up in their cell phones, their iPods, or their own lives that they didn’t see what was around them. (Yes, I did hold the door open for her.)

Our friends have been having a summer barbeque at their house every year for more than 10 years. They provide all the food, all the drinks, everything. More than 50 people attend each year. Yet, throughout the year fewer than 10 people ever reciprocate and invite our friends back to their house.

This year they decided to not have the party. Several people called to find out when the party was and when they were told there was no party this year, they expressed disappointment, but they didn’t issue an invitation to get together. I realize they don’t have the party for that reason, but doesn’t that make sense to you? Not only do we invite them back for a dinner at our house, but I also show up at the party with flowers, wine, and I send a thank-you note after the event. Someone invites you to his or her house year after year and you attend, but you can never find time to invite him or her back to your house? Rude.

I don’t think that people intend to be rude; they are just unaware of how their actions (or lack thereof) affect other people.

I offer my business to companies that make me feel important, special and appreciated.

How hard is it to send follow-up emails to people who make our day special? When a company has an employee who makes you feel important and special, do you let that organization know? We are good at complaining, but are we good at complimenting?

After your next job interview, send a thank-you card. The next gift you receive, send a thank-you card. Buy someone a coffee. When you get good service, go out of your way to acknowledge that employee. Tell the manager, fill in a comment card, and make a point of saying a special thank-you.

If all it takes are basic manners to get ahead in life, I am well equipped to do that. I am aware of the impact that I have on others around me. I appreciate what I have, and how others add benefit to my life, and I say thank-you to them for doing so.

Thank-you for being one of my loyal readers. Thank-you for recommending my speaking and training to your company or association. Thank-you for recommending my newsletter to others. Thank-you for being my friend, virtually or in person.

Thank-you for being the kind of professional who knows the basic etiquette skills in life. You know how I know this? You made it all the way to the end of this article. Those who didn’t disagreed with me in the first couple of paragraphs and didn’t finish the article.

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