Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson
Most of us have been taught the social graces necessary to behave properly in polite society; however, a good number has either chosen to forget or refuses to comply. Good manners shouldn't be a cultural convention relegated to eighteenth-century romantic novels; people should always conduct themselves with propriety when interacting with others.
After all, saying "please" and "thank you", holding the door, offering assistance and inquiring about one's wellbeing is truly a petty sacrifice. But when the sacrifice is made the rewards reaped measure beyond the pride of acting in accordance to social mores and the satisfaction of demonstrating good behavior.
So, what are the benefits of good manners? People want to feel appreciated and respected; good manners help put people at ease, making them feel important and valued. Treating others with consideration and courtesy improves communication, creating stronger relationships. This is true personally and socially but also professionally. It's this area in particular where manners can be the major determinant of gaining respect, opening lines of communication as well as developing and maintaining relationships.
Of course, most of us understand the importance of displaying good manners in a professional setting. Many, however, neglect to extend this behavior to interactions on social media even though this outlet is used as a means to advertise, market and promote business. People tend to understandably disregard etiquette when working with social media because it's comparable to the Wild West. But the best and most useful way to tame the wildness is to incorporate good manners.
Remember that the interactions you have with other people via your computer may not include personal contact but the people are still real. Each individual reading your tweets, seeing your Facebook feed, and receiving your messages is a real person with ideas, thoughts, and feelings. Respect them and they will respect you, helping you to build communication, relationships and business.
Below are some manners, which are important to mind even in social media:
Introduce Yourself--Take the time to say hello and give your name.
Show Interest--Ask about another's business, book or project. Be interested in someone for what they do not for what they can do for you.
Be Positive--Compliment other's efforts and work; respond positively to another's compliments of you.
Be Appreciative--Show gratitude to those who "follow", "like" and support or promote you. "Thank you" is a small word that means a lot.
Don't be Intrusive--Don't ask questions that are too personal, embarrassing or insulting to another's character.
Respect Boundaries-- Don't badger, harass or intimidate someone into helping, promoting or supporting you.
Don't Criticize--Don't negatively comment on another's physical characteristics, mental abilities or business. Be positive in your comments or keep quiet.
Speak Politely--Ask, offer and make suggestions in a manner, which makes another feel welcomed, appreciated and helped.
Avoid Foul Language--There is a wealth of vocabulary words better suited for communication. Swearing is disrespectful to others and degrades one's own intelligence.
Ask for Answers--If you lack for particular knowledge--ask. Don't make assumptions that could negatively affect a potential relationship.
Be Responsive--Answer questions, reply to messages, respond to tweets and always try to do it in a timely manner. Someone is reaching out to you--reach back.
Help Others--Don't focus so much on your own needs or objective, instead try to help others to build and promote their business. In doing so, they will feel more inclined to help you and everyone wins.
Remember, when we are minding our social media manners, we are building relationships that help to build better business.
Causes Sherry Parnell Supports
St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, Habitat for Humanity, Heifer International