Your ability to create positive personal impact is an important key to your success. As I point out in Straight Talk for Success, you create positive personal impact in three ways: 1) creating and nurturing your unique personal brand; 2) being impeccable in your presentation of self; and 3) knowing and following the basic rules of etiquette.
Amy Vanderbilt sums up my point about etiquette quite well.
“It is axiomatic that as we mature and grow in years and experience, we must be able to meet more demanding social situation with confidence and ease.”
In other words, as you become more and more successful, you will find yourself in increasingly demanding social situations. It helps if you know what to do in these situations. Because if you do, you will feel comfortable and confident, and able to focus on the conversation at hand, not on wondering if you are handling yourself properly.
I had occasion to pull out our copy of Amy Vanderbilt’s Etiquette: The Guide to Gracious Living the other day. After I found the advice for which I was looking, I turned to the front of the book. We have a revised edition. I read the “Introduction to the Original Edition” to see what she had to say in 1952 when the book was first published.
Here is part of what I found…
“I respect people who are unpretentious yet mannerly, considerate and honest, forthright yet kind and tactful. I dislike display and foolish expenditure in the sense of what Veblen called ‘conspicuous waste,’ that is, spending to impress those who have less, as well as to impress associates.
“I believe that knowledge of the rules of living in our society makes us more comfortable even though our particular circumstances may permit us to elide them somewhat. Some of the rudest and most objectionable people I have ever known have been technically the most ‘correct.’ Some of the warmest, most lovable, had little more than an innate feeling of what is right toward others. But, at the same time, they have had the intelligence to inform themselves, as necessary, on the rules of social intercourse as related to their own experiences. Only a great fool or a great genius is likely to flout all social grace with impunity, and neither one, doing so, makes the most comfortable companion.”
Ms. Vanderbilt provides great advice on etiquette in the first sentence of these two paragraphs. Let me summarize them here.
- Be unpretentious
- Be mannerly
- Be considerate
- Be honest
- Be forthright
- Be kind
- Be tactful
If you follow the seven pieces of advice above, you will create positive personal impact.
The common sense point here is simple. Most of us think of etiquette as rules based, when it in fact etiquette is based on one simple idea: be considerate of others. In you are unpretentious, mannerly, considerate, honest, forthright, kind and tactful you will always create positive personal impact. You will do so, because you will be following universal laws of social interaction that precede and supersede our society and your business.
That’s my take on how simple it is to be socially correct. What’s yours? Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us. I appreciate and value all of your comments. As always, thanks for reading.