We live in a society driven by desire. Sure there are the products and things we want (the house, the car, the latest tech gadget) … but there are many other things that we want that are not simply controlled by whether we have enough cash in the bank.
> You really want to get that internship you know will give you an awesome edge.
> You need to convince your boss to let you have an early mark on Friday so you can meet your friends and head down the coast for a mates birthday party.
> You are trying to stand out and be considered for a promotion at work.
There are so many different tactics you can use to make things fall the way you want. But sometimes we over look the most obvious and the simplest: manners.
Yep you read it right, good old-fashioned manners. And I’m not simply talking about a cursory thank you when someone offers you a cup of tea … I’m talking about genuinely connecting with people, appreciating them and what they are saying, participating in the situation and recognising the opportunity or understanding the situation.
In fact if you look up the definition of manners in the dictionary, it is defined as: A person’s outward bearing or way of behaving toward others.
Sure, manners are a basic skill but if you still don’t believe me that something so simple can really be the answer, let me give you 3 personal examples of work situations where manners have been the difference between someone getting what they want (or not).
Example 1 // When a simple thank you would do
This week I awarded two students a scholarship (aka free) ticket to generationYOU. I can only assume they are very excited to be attending the event because they both locked in their booking via our booking system very quickly.
However – neither of them bothered to reply to me with a thank you. Actually neither of them bothered to reply to me at all. Which is fine – there was no condition that said they had to reply – in this situation they will get what they want which is to attend the event. But that single act (or rather lack of an act) has ensured that from my side, if they ever apply for any other opportunities with me, the outcome will not be a positive one.
Example 2 // When please trumps entitlement
We live in a world governed by terms and conditions and rules. I’d like to believe most people respect these, but every now and then you come across people who need or want the rules to be bent. In my experience, there are generally two approaches that people try to take to get what they want.
The first type generally come in firm (possibly rude) and act entitled. They will assume that they deserve for you to give them what they want and will fight hard to get it and chances are they will try to argue why the terms and conditions they willingly agreed to are in fact unfair. These people generally make me grumpy.
The second are the people who realise they are asking you to bend the rules, don’t pretend otherwise, and do it politely and try to open up a conversation to see what might be done. I like these people a whole lot more!
Now truth be told, there are a myriad of things that will influence the outcome of any given decision, but I can tell you that in 95% of situations, if I can (or want to) bend the rules, it will be for second person and not the first.
Example 3 // When appreciation may have opened up a world of opportunities
Back to generationYOU and this time we have a student in Melbourne who both applied for an intern opening we had for that event + a scholarship ticket. She was a final year student desperately seeking some experience and help getting her career on track. Taken that she had applied for the internship and scholarship ticket – I assumed she really wanted to be there.
So I went back offering her the opportunity to volunteer. This would have seen get snag a free ticket to the event, an opportunity to get a backstage insight into the running of the event and a chance to meet more of the speakers than other attendees.
Surprisingly she said no because she felt it was too event management focussed and she needed to spend her time more wisely.
A little sad too … because if she had appreciated the opportunity and not shut it down immediately, it likely would have let to another spot to volunteer at a large digital marketing conference we are running in Melbourne later in the year .. and that would have been incredibly helpful with her career goals.
So whats the moral of the story?
It’s simple really.
Never underestimate how important manners are and how a simple please, thank you or show of appreciation could be the key to unlocking many doors.