In most countries, people have been brought up to have a high regard for simple etiquette. In the old days, societies that have been touched by Western Culture, such as Australia, considered this to be a necessary part of one's education. This was the era of finishing schools and debutante balls. In Eastern culture, the meaning of etiquette was congruent with discipline. But no matter what type of culture you come from, the fact remains that etiquette or good manners are an integral part of how the whole world functions. Geoff Slater is not surprised that even in the business world, manners can make or break your success.
Manners, particularly, good manners make up the framework for a conducive working environment. This stems from the idea that the foundation of business lies in interactive relationships. Not every genius gets ahead in the business world. Most of the time, it takes average people who know how to conduct themselves well with others to make the most profitable sales.
But this behavior shouldn't be limited to interaction with customers. At the workplace itself you will be mingling with peers, authority figures and laymen all throughout the day. Treat everyone equally and fairly. Everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity no matter what title or status they hold. Geoff Slater always reminds Australians of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do to you." and you'll not only gain friends, but invite positive outcomes.
Nevertheless there's more to just saying please and thank you to everyone. You have to mean it as well. Be genuine in how you deal with others. Being fake or pretending to be nice in order to get something in return will only take you so far until people start to see your true colors. Don't just have empty words, couple them with some evidence. Show people that you truly value them and you'll be keeping those new found friendships for a lifetime.
Then again there arises a new challenge in giving people value. In a technologically-inclined world, human contact gets more and more endangered. Always bear in mind that no matter how many texts or phone calls you make, nothing will ever beat a real head-on conversation in showing just how much value you give to a person. During a forum in Australia, Geoff Slater challenges people to put more effort into personal communication. In business, it may be practical to use technology to hasten a lot of contact required between clients and service providers, but once in a while it pays off to take the time to do business in person because the "trust factor" is strengthened in the relationship.
Another point to note in valuing other people is to value their time. Showing up late for a business meeting doesn't speak well of your character, and that might become a reason for failed client relations. Just as your time is precious to you, so is the time of others for their busy schedules. Being mindful of other people's time is a way of showing them respect.
On a more personal level, practicing good manners and right conduct can even get you out of sticky situations. When someone presents you with an offer you can't take, simply be honest, saying it as politely as possible. You can try proposing a something else until both parties can meet halfway.
This approach can be especially helpful with money matters, which is often a topic people tend to be squeamish about. You don't have to rob a bank when your friends want to eat at an expensive restaurant. Just tell them the truth and say that you have already incurred a lot of expenses and your budget isn't enough to lavishly languish about. Be considerate also of your other friends' financial situations. Don't suggest dining in places or attending functions and events that not everyone can afford. Learn to say no and know when to say it. What would you rather have, a little embarrassment or an empty pocket?
The bottom line is that etiquette, or more commonly called good manners, isn't just something we learn as kids or in an Australian finishing school. It becomes a way of life as we grow older. It is a lifestyle that nourishes a peaceful and orderly society. And Geoff Slater says that when you bring this standard of living with you to business, you're bound to get not only good, but the best results out of people. That will eventually lead to your overall success.