In this article I share why manners will always matter.
Why manners will always matter.
The wonderful etiquette author and columnist, Emily Post, wrote the following –
In this day and age of personal branding, social media profiles and content marketing, it’s nice to reflect on the reality that the essential foundation of a gracious person, or by extension, a gracious society, lies not in knowing which fork to use, but in consciously choosing to become aware of the feelings of others.
Emily’s definition is so great because it nails empathy and care – ‘a sensitive awareness of the feelings of others’.
Wow – this is pretty heady stuff.
At a very basic level – having manners involves inconveniencing yourself
At some basic level, having manners or being gracious means that you are willing to inconvenience yourself for the sake of someone else.
What do I mean?
- Holding the lift door open for a few extra seconds so that a latecomer can rush in and get to work on time
- Letting someone else in the buffet line have that last bit of sushi or nice dessert
- Letting someone with just a few items proceed before you in the queue
- Saying thank you and job well done a bit more often
- Paying attention to someone when you really just want to go home
Manners are not something that you trot out to ‘wow’ the Guests
I remember as a child, growing up in a military family, my parents reminded us to bring out our best manners when an Admiral came to dinner or my father had an important delegation over to visit.
My parents never said ‘Bring out your manners tonight’.
That reminder would have implied that manners were something to be put on or put away like a sweater.
We kids were taught and required to demonstrate our manners in our daily life, even if no one else was around.
I am convinced that this grounding has been an essential aspect of my own personal ‘success’ which is defined for me by the richness of my relationships.
You’re always there to serve someone
At work you’re always serving someone else, whether that is an external Customer or Client, or an internal stakeholder like a Colleague or a Boss.
In training, whenever people ask me if ‘manners’ or ‘graciousness’ can be learned I always answer ‘yes’.
Because it’s not about the forks.
It’s about the willingness to look out for the feelings and situation of another person.
It feels good
Another great saying I love is this one –
If you hold the door open for someone and they just rush through – well that’s ok – you added some positive energy to the world.
In closing – Emily Post also wrote
Thank you Emily and thank YOU for reading!