My mother taught her children that while we might not be the smartest people around, we could be courteous, polite and considerate of others. We were taught to say "please," "thank you," "yes, sir" and "yes, ma'am," not to talk with food in our mouths and a few other little niceties of life.
Now, there are some indications that manners are on the way back "in" — just in time! A survey revealed that 78% of Americans believed incivility had gone from bad to worse in the preceding 10 years, and many believed it had eroded values and contributed to violence in our society.
Today, many companies are sponsoring workshops to teach professional etiquette and protocol in the marketplace. Reports abound that job candidates are turned down if they begin eating before their host does and salt food before tasting it because it shows a tendency toward making hasty decisions. Those who order the most expensive items on the menu and conclude with an expensive dessert are generally not offered jobs for fear they will abuse an expense account.
Obviously, much of this involves common sense as much as manners, but it really boils down to thinking in terms of what's in the other person's best interest. When we think that way, we act that way, and invariably, what's in the other person's best interest from a business perspective turns out to be in our best interest as well.
Studies by Harvard, the Stanford Research Institute and the Carnegie Foundation suggest that success in a job depends 85% on people skills and only 15% on technical knowledge and skill. In the marketplace today, people who have the right attitude and work with others effectively are in the most demand and occupy the higher positions. Message: Use common sense and mind your manners and you will have something to smile about.
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