The Importance of Being Polite and Etiquette

In the rush of every day’s life people have become more self-absorbed, to the point of not even looking around them. This had led to the loss of simple social rules that some might take for granted and that are particularly powerful, if not fundamental to our civil conduct.

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Being polite is social behavior that we find rare nowadays, especially missing in a convenience store cashiers and office clerks. Being polite is not just a simple social grace; it’s about being kind, compassionate and respectful to another person. Take for instance the rudeness we encounter when a person is looking at their phone when talking to us, there isn’t anything more unnerving (at least for me) than a person who won’t even take the time to look up when talking to me. Sometimes they won’t even listen, and we find ourselves repeating the same conversation in a monologue-kind of way, over and over until we can have a bit of attention from that person.

As technology progresses, people become less and less attentive to other people’s feelings as human interaction is almost lost. These days “Please” and Thank You” are almost entirely forgotten, and not many people are aware that these 2 simple words can easily open or close any door to us. Unfortunately with the hectic living and people’s rush to get everything done fast, they often forget to say these simple, yet powerful words.

Although etiquette and politeness may refer to the same thing, both of these concepts are slightly different. Therefore, they require different types of abilities. Another thing that is necessary to notice is that culture plays an crucial part of what is perceived as polite.

Handshakes, hugs or even kisses may not be well received in some cultures; while in others are fundamental parts of social behavior. Etiquette is a specific rule of conduct, a compliance or necessity of polite society for different social affairs which many people now look as snobbish and unnecessary; however, this is not true, etiquette will highlight someone as a cultured, polite, well-mannered individual. Especially if learned from a young age, children know how to behave in a variety of social circumstances. As we age, this behavior becomes intrinsic.

The respect that youngsters have for the elderly nowadays does reflect a culture of loss values, the lack of propriety regarding social, verbal and written communication, may mirror what we learn at home and even our own personal values.

But the hope is not lost, and there are many ways we can improve our behavior to achieve exceptional skills in politeness and etiquette.

Work and Business Etiquette

The etiquette of business is the series of written and unwritten guidelines of conduct that make a more pleasant collaboration with our workmates. Office etiquette is mostly about the coworker’s interaction, not necessarily relating with customers or public in general. Business meetings, group assignments, business trips should be done in collaboration with our coworkers.

The business and office world are extremely competitive atmospheres, which contribute to people not being polite to each, other breaking the social bonds that lead to an enjoyable work environment. It’s not hard to be polite at work, and that will surely bring you kindness from others, as well.

Etiquette and Manner Tips

Always use the power words - Thank you, please, you’re welcome and excuse me, these simple words are tremendously powerful and even though they seem easy to say, they can be a terribly difficult thing to say for some people.

  • “Please”

Saying “please” to others delivers both respect and attention for those with whom we're relating because it changes an order into a request. I honestly loathe when people don’t say, please because it actually gives me the feeling that they are bossing me and if they say please I feel they have consideration for me, and it makes me fulfill their request with pleasure. So never forget to add, please when you are asking for something, it will most likely give you proper attention and people will be pleased to help you.

  • “Thank You” and “You're Welcome”

Don’t you hate when you do something for someone and that person won’t even bother to say thank you. It feels as if you are not significant enough to receive appreciation for what you just did! I mean it’s not the same to pass the salt that to donate blood, regardless of what it was, your action remains unaccounted for. Saying Thank you, is the easiest way to make some feel appreciated. It’s like a small accomplishment for helping a person. People are unsuccessful identifying ordinary considerations and fail miserably to demonstrate gratitude. For instance, when we drop our handbag on the street and a stranger helps us pick it up, when someone holds the door for us or helps us get out of a car. Saying Thank you for these small considerations is a symbol of politeness and courteous manners.

Don’t diminish your gentleness when a person thanks you. Replying to a sincere Thank you, with a simple “No Problem” reduces your actions, not as effortless but as to not important at all. Your best response should be you’re welcome; accepting thanks politely will also stimulate the “thank-you” practice.

  • “Excuse Me”

“Excuse me,” “Pardon me,” and “I beg your pardon” all state that you've disturbed someone else. When a person is very engrossed telling a story, and you need to get their attention, always excuse yourself to interrupt. For instance: Leaving a gathering: “Excuse me, I wish I could stay, but I’m in a hurry.”

Asking a question: “Excuse me what would you like to drink?”

Admitting a fault: “Excuse me. I didn't know you were married.”

Make a demand: “Excuse me, but this is a non-parking zone.”

Netiquette

Netiquette, network etiquette or Internet etiquette, is a series of social principles that enable a polite internet communication it is conduct that is socially acceptable in an online or environment. It is a social code of network communication.

These rules of etiquette apply when interacting over the Internet, social networks, video chat, email or other devices, differ from person to person interaction. In technology Netiquette is the behavior that is socially suitable in an online situation.

Email Etiquette

Writing an e-mail can be what some might call an easy task, but it’s tricky to convey all the information in a brief message. However, there are rules to keep your message short and concise, without rambling on about the health of your dog. Be casual but not messy; always try to write the full word, this is not a text message where abbreviations are needed. It’s ok to be sloppy when writing to a friend but it’s not appropriate when you are addressing work colleagues, a customer or the worst of all, your boss. When addressing people you work with or people you don’t know you should follow standard writing decorum. Your emails mirror you and your business. Punctuation rules, correct spelling and grammar, apply when writing these messages.

Keep your message short and concise, even if your writing is grammatically correct that’s doesn’t give you the right to compose the longest email in history. There isn’t anything worse than reading an e-mail message that contains long rambling stories, for something that should have been a 3 line message at most. Focus on one subject per message as short and accurate as you can. Leave your musings for some other time. Do not intimidate recipients with too much text.

This rule applies to all written communication such as SMS, emails, Social Network use or instant messaging. Balance the use of Caps and lower-case, using all capital letters will seem look as if you are shouting and using all lowercase will make you seem sluggish. Use asterisks or bold formatting to emphasize key words. Do not; use a lot of colored text, and an insane amount of emoticons or graphics embedded in your message.

Always use BCC (blind copy) when sending to multiple recipients so they won't have to see an endless list of names and email addresses.

Don't use e-mail to avoid personal interaction. Remember the importance of face-to-face communication. Don’t replace a serious conversation with someone by saying, “I’ll email you”. Although the text is a powerful thing, it will never replace the personal interaction especially nowadays when it’s appreciated the most.

Use the subject field to specify the content and purpose. Don't reveal your entire content on the subject line but don’t be too frugal with the subject.

One thing that it’s not only respectable email etiquette but good common sense is that you please refrain from sending internet banality - chain letters, jokes, PowerPoint poems, unsolicited mail, virus warnings and junk mail in general. Sometimes constant junk mail from a friend bothers you and probably your friend thinks he/she is doing you a favor by “cheering” your inbox if this is the case be honest and ask to be removed from your funny friend’s email list. Also if you are sending such emails ask your friends if it’s ok for you to send them. Never send junk mail to coworkers (unless they are friends), clients, strangers or your boss.

When sending emails from your business account always use a signature that includes your full contact information to guarantee that people know whom you are, include in your signature all your information, your full name, a QR Code that directs clients to your website and your mailing address and phone numbers for further contact if needed. An important detail that you have to keep in mind is that you always should pick a business suitable email username for your business account. Once I received an email regarding a lawyer who was extending his professional services to me and his email handle was “louferrigno666”, who on earth would trust a lawyer with that name! Always keep it professional, use your name (not your full name) or your initials and if those are taken add your birthday, birth year or your lucky numbers. You can’t go wrong with that.

Overall these are excellent suggestions of business etiquette to create email etiquette rules that will help you and your crew, stay well-organized, proficient and polite. Politeness and etiquette should be a part of our daily living as we meet new people day-to-day and we are required to socialize for most of the day every day. Knowing to use etiquette on a daily basis is vital, there are small rules that we don’t even know they exist, or we just don’t know how to use them.

There are many places with this unwritten rule that you have to leave a tip. These places are usually where a service is been provided by one specific employee, such as a waitress, a hair dresser, a tattoo artist, a waiter/waitress, a body piercer, a manicurist, a masseuse, etc.

These people are responsible for a service given just for you, and although they work in a private establishment they get a tiny paycheck that is compensated by commissions and tips most of the time. Unlike a waitress, the tip for these people is not included, sometimes they would ask for a tip (here enters the unwritten rule) but its common sense that you have to tip them whether they ask you or not.

Tipping varies from country to country, follow these rules in your local establishments but when you are abroad remember that as a traveler you are more likely to get scammed. Just follow your instincts, don’t tip lousy service. If you are mistreated you must inform the manager in charge and let them know you were not satisfied with the service, there is no obligation whatsoever for you to leave a tip If you were not provided with a good service.

There is so much to cover on politeness and etiquette, but it’s not a difficult thing to do if you are pleasant to people, people will be courteous, learn more about social etiquette for specific situations like dress and dinner etiquette, so you are not perceived as a clumsy, uneducated, socially impaired person.

For many people being polite remains a challenge, and some can call politeness and etiquette a “lost art”. There are simple things when can do to be perceived as a polite, well-mannered person, just change in our behavior to start. Use these simple words every day, never take for granted what others do for you, be kind to receive kindness. Compassion and politeness will get you far in all aspects of life; it will demonstrate your respect for people and they will respect you back.

References

1. Workplace Etiquette: Why Being Polite Counts on the Job http://www.learnkey.com/workplaceetiquette

2. E-mail Etiquette = Courtesy and Politeness http://www.netmanners.com/255/courtesy-and-politeness/

3. The Importance of Being Kind and Polite http://www.advancedetiquette.com/blog/life/the-importance-of-being-kind-and-polite/

Society | Relationships


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