I have been writing on the above topic and hit the accountants’ response of lack of time. So I was asked to summarise what I propose in some form of checklist. Great accountants’ tool, checklists.
A Stocktake on Manners
Apart from self-observation, it may help to ask a friends, family members and colleagues to help you monitor your progress on the following.
- Swearing – just don’t
- Use Please and Thank You, always. Review some previous emails, have you always asked with a please?
- Table Manners. Someone mentioned this was not very important because everyone knew how to eat. Really? How to eat with good manners, avoiding talking with a mouth full of food, using the correct cutlery, avoiding waving a knife around, asking people to pass things (rather than reaching across the table), waiting for all to be served before you start, etc.
- Personal Hygiene. Shower every morning and use deodorant. Every day do you always wear clean fresh underwear and shirts?
- More on Personal Hygiene. What about your teeth and breath? Consult a dentist to check for clean teeth and to avoid bad breath. Are your nails clean?
- Even more on Personal Hygiene. Check your suits, trousers, dresses, etc to make sure they are fresh and do not need mending or dry cleaning. Are your shoes clean and polished?
- Thank You notes, emails, cards, gifts. Regular thank you’s sent for any favours, courtesies, compliments, introductions, etc?
- Sometimes people are too circumspect, even so, in most cases it is best to avoid “I want to …” or “You must …”. Try “Would it be OK if …”, “Within the next two days can you please send … to me”. Whatever.
- Have a Role Model or Two. When unsure ask yourself, “What would … do here?”. This can also be most helpful in work situations when pondering an issue and deciding what to say or do.
- Exercise care to determine when to interrupt and how. Always wait for a pause and then say, “Excuse me …”.
- More on Interruptions. Do you wait for others to finish what they are saying before you speak?
- Be accountable. Nothing is more annoying than dealing with people who make promises and don’t honour them.
- Avoid it at all possible. If you will be late, let the person know.
- Mobile Phones. Please not in a public place when others are around. Are you tired of listening to the conversations of others whilst travelling on public transport?
- Aggressive Language. Almost always inappropriate.
Good luck with your personal review. I am sure there are matters I have missed, happy to receive suggestions.
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