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Updated 26 Feb 2020

4 Manners that matter (most) when you’re in business

‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are in most people’s vocabulary; yet tend to be the most under used words on a daily basis. Manners, and using them are common decency; not using them may tarnish how you are perceived and ultimately contribute to your reputation (bad or good). 

Regine le Roux, 12 August 2016  Share  0 comments  Print

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As an entrepreneur, your business’ success may hinge on building relationships. People want to do business with people that they respect and trust.

These four basic manners must exist in your artillery if you are to be a successful entrepreneur:

1. Say ‘please’

Recently, I attended a business meeting. The convenor of the meeting was all over the show, darting off orders here, and delegating there to help get the meeting room set up. During all the requests for assistance something struck me, not once during this time did the convenor say ‘please’.

Yes, you may say this person was under pressure to get everything set up, however, can one really be so busy that they forget to say please? Personally I think there would have been a quicker response rate from everyone if a ‘please’ was thrown into all of the requests.

Related: 4 Ways to manage your reputation in the workplace

2. Be grateful

A ‘thank you’ can mean a lot. Show gratitude when someone has done something for you; acknowledge that they have spent their valuable time helping in some way. I recently received a call from someone thanking me for a connection that I had made for them.

I actually forgot that I had made the business introduction for them. It means a lot that they bothered to pick up the phone and thank me. Now that I know that my actions were appreciated, I will look for even more opportunities to help link that person with others I know.

Event -rsvp

3. RSVP for events

We’ve all done it; we’re all guilty of it! We RSVP for an event and totally forget to go; or forget to RSVP and still go; I call this the law of events.

After a hiatus, my company recently hosted one of our information sessions where I was again reminded of this (frustrating) ‘law’. I am more irked by those that don’t show up than those who come without responding to the invitation.

As a host, you invest your time and money into a venue, refreshments and putting a presentation together for a specific group of people. I think what frustrates me the most is the wastage of food when people don’t pitch.

Related: Richard Branson on building a strong reputation

4. Answer your phone appropriately

You may think a basic “Hello?” will do, right? Afraid not. It is incredibly frustrating when you phone someone or a company and you just get a “Hello?” This is especially important to remember as an entrepreneur.

You depend on those phone calls coming through to you, who knows, it could be your next big sale?

Make sure that the person that is calling you knows exactly who they are speaking to when you answer. Ideally, say the company’s name then your name; at a minimum, say your name.

Make it easy for the person who took the time to dial your number to know that they are through to the right company and person.

Manners are not difficult, it is about forming positive daily habits, which, with enough practice will become second nature to you, and contribute towards a positive way of how you are perceived.

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About the author

Regine le Roux

Regine is a corporate reputation specialist. She completed her Communication Management Honours degree Cum Laude at the University of Pretoria in 2001, and completed her MCom within a year. Regine is the founder of Reputation Matters, which was started in 2005; she hand picks and manages several teams that implement communication strategies. Regine developed the Repudometer®, which is one of the first tools that has been developed to measure organisational reputation.

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