Communication in the current state of the world has evolved – or degraded – to short, concise communication. Think texting, tweeting and any other short form of communicating. It is a ‘tell me quick and tell me now’ kind of philosophy.
Even in resumes, you want to get your message across quickly, clearly and succinctly; less words more white space. You have seconds and inches to get attention and make an impact.
I live in this world. I get the purpose and power of short communication.
With that being said, there are five words that are being more frequently dropped from communication outside the resume: face to face, emails, Skyping, phone calls, networking, introductions, casual conversations – the list goes on. They need to come back. Pronto.
These five words are power. These words are ones that most people know yet are neglecting to use, normally on the premise of time.
Without further ado, here are the five words:
Please ~ Thank You ~ I Apologize
I am a huge fan of manners. Like Harry the Kingsman says: “Manners Maketh Man”. I remember reading Miss Manners in the newspaper as a kid. When I tell my dogs to do something, instead of ‘good boy’ sometimes I say ‘thank you’. Yes, I was a bit of an odd child and possibly an even odder adult.
My parents and grandmother instilled the importance of manners in me while growing up. I instilled it in my son. Sometimes I think my lessons took in a little too deep when, as a child, he would hold the door open for someone and if they did not say ‘thank you’ he would blurt out rather loudly, ‘You’re welcome’ after they were well clear of the door.
Poor boyfriend. He is a Chief in the Navy and it is sometimes difficult for him to adjust when he gets home. What is a request on base sounds like a command at home without the power words. Although, he does realize he has not made the transition to ‘home mind’ when, after a command, I simply look at him and say, “Please?”
In everyday communication, without manners, without these power words, what we say or write can come across as commands.
This week I have received a few commands, which prompted me down the rabbit hole of manners and ultimately here writing this.
- “Send me this”
- “Call me this afternoon”
- “Go to our website”
- “I got it.”
- “I’ll reschedule”
- Do this. Do That.
- You are not important.
- My time is more valuable
These last three can be construed as the real message without power words. How much more respectful, professional and inviting would it be to simply put a ‘please’, ‘thank you’ or ‘I apologize’ in there? A lot!
By the way, I am using “I apologize” instead of “I am sorry” for a specific reason. I am sorry is too often overused and ignored by most people. It can be seen as a canned response or knee jerk reaction. When my son was growing up, and to this day, when he says, “I’m sorry” I follow up with “For what?” I make him explain why his is sorry to make sure it is not a canned response. I would not suggest doing this with your network.
I know we have such limited time in the day. There are times that I am being absent minded or rushed and I forget to say please or thank you. I hate when I do this. When I realize it, I go back. Yes, I do. I re-respond apologizing for sounding blunt or rude and then thank them or ask nicely properly.
There are also times that you need to respond quickly to someone you know well. In the rare occurrence that the boyfriend sends me a link or message during the day, I do respond with “Got it” because I know he is very busy and not engaged in ‘home thinking’. This, for him, is good manners – recognizing that I received his communication, the thank you will be said later in home-mode. So yes, you can get a pass now and then.
Other than that, no. There is no excuse for not using manners and showing appreciation or recognition to those that you are interacting with at some level.
I realize there might be some that doubt how powerful these words really are, so let’s try this: test it. For a few days or a week, be very mindful in your communication and start adding ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to your communication. After the designated timeframe, evaluate the communication that ensued. I would bet dollars to donuts that the responses were more open, communicative and your messages were received in a more positive manner.
Please try it, if for no other reason than to start a return of manners. Thank you.
A little about me: I do what I love: help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance.
As the Founder and Principle of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
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