Why Manners will always matter

Why Manners will always matter.

The wonderful etiquette Author and Columnist, Emily Post, wrote the following definition –


In a world of personal branding and content marketing, it’s nice to reflect that the essential foundation of a gracious person, or by extension a gracious society, lies not in knowing which fork to use.

But in 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’.

When I teach Customer Service I often use the phrase, ‘as your best self’.  And when people ask me what your best self means I go back to Emily’s definition.

When you’re thinking of the feelings of someone else.

At a basic level, having manners involves inconveniencing yourself

At some basic level, having manners 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 grocery store
  • 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

Military dress uniform

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 were taught and required to demonstrate our manners in our daily life, even if no one else was around.

I’m convinced that this grounding has been an essential aspect of my own personal ‘success’.

Which I define as the trust that others put in me and the richness of my relationships.

You’re always there to serve someone

At work you’re always serving someone else.  Whether that’s an external Customer or Client, or an internal stakeholder like a Colleague or a Boss.

In training, whenever people ask me if manners 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 of another person.  Which involves listening and understanding the context.

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.

As we spoke earlier, there is some level of inconvenience involved in having manners.

But that pays back in spades in terms of the way you’ll feel about yourself. And the goodness that you put out into the world.


In closing, Emily Post also wrote

Thank you Emily and thank YOU for reading!

Daniel Ord

[email protected] / www.omnitouchinternational.com

Being HumanFeaturedLife at Work
Send me a message

Decode the Customer Ecosystem

Want to stay in touch with our articles, insights & offers?