Smoothing Out the Road to Success

One of the best pieces of advice I have ever received was: "Good manners cost you nothing but they can buy you a lot." I was a young man at the time I was told this so I didn't give it much thought. I put it away as more "fatherly advice" that really had no bearing on my life. After all, I was young and like most young people, I knew all there was to know about the world and I couldn't wait to tell everyone. Thankfully, I have matured and have found that the truth of this statement goes way beyond simply remembering to say Please and Thank You or knowing which fork to use first at dinner.

Good manners are involved in every aspect of your life from how you relate to your family and friends to whether or not you get that big job promotion. They involve how you enter a room, how you listen when others are speaking, and at the heart of it all how much respect you show those around you.

In my travels, I have met countless number of people who had very worthwhile goals. Many of them had gone so far as having a step-by-step plan written just waiting to be followed, but just couldn't get off the ground because they had an inability to get others to listen and support them.

In a majority of those cases, the problem had nothing to do with their ideas. The fact was that they lacked the good manners to be able to present their case properly. They wanted to talk before listening and failed to show proper respect for their audience.

I often see the same problem when I meet people having issues in their personal life. They may hear what others are telling them, but they fail to make the effort to comprehend what they are being told. They get so lost in the battle to be right that they never stop to consider the views of those around them. They speak and act without regard for the other person. In short, they have bad manners.

Do you have dreams? If you want to achieve those dreams, somewhere down the line you are going to need the help and support of other people. That means commanding, not demanding, respect, and the easiest way to get that respect is by giving it.

Good manners are not some magic trick or a process that takes years to master. They can be summed up very easily:

  • Treat others the way you want to be treated.

  • Make people feel the way you want to feel.

  • Always put others before yourself and you will always finish first.

My challenge for you this week:

Assess your manners!

  1. For the next three days, I want you to keep a running list of your personal and professional interactions.

  2. Based on the article information, grade each interaction as follows: "1"=great manners demonstrated; "2"=good manners demonstrated; "3"=less than positive manners demonstrated.

  3. Determine what made the best encounters memorable and apply them to improve future interactions.

You will find that when you brush up on your manners, your road to success will become much smoother!

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