Ever been told to use the golden words while talking to others? As children we are often coaxed and threatened into using words like “Thank You, “Please”, and “Sorry”. Why are these little words important? They go a long way in creating a congenial environment and circumventing conflict. Courteous communication can be a very important tool in the carrying out communication effectively. But are these words enough in resulting in courteous communication? Well, not really. There are many things one must keep in mind in ensuring courteous communication.
Let us begin by understating what is courtesy. Courtesy can be defined as polite behavior and attitude towards others. The next question is how important is it to be courteous. Let me illustrate with an example – you reach office huffing, having started the day badly, spilling coffee all over yourself and then missing the 8:00 am bus. You see the elevator door closing as you run with only a couple of minutes to spare for a meeting on the 15th floor.
Your anger and frustration is just about to reach its peak, when a friendly hand slides out and stops the lift for you. Your anger and frustration melts straightaway. You reach the meeting on time and give a wonderful presentation feeling confident after the elevator experience. Courtesy becomes even more important in direct communication. Courteous communication when asking a colleague for help or sending sales proposition mail to a client can multiply your chances of being met with a positive response.
Some pointers for courteous communication:
- For starters address people with respect, using a name or salutation they are comfortable with. If you don’t know the person well go formal.
- Be empathetic. Create your message keeping in mind the requirements and state of mind of the audience.
- Be honest. There is no substitute for honesty and sincerity. Trying to trick someone is never going to result in successful communication and relationships.
- Be friendly. Maintaining a friendly tone in your message will immediately get positive vibes from the receiver.
- Use a gentle and polite tone. Harsh and insensitive words will do nothing for your goal.
- Even when disagreeing with someone put it politely. Do not attack the person.
- Try to maintain a positive tone even for negative messages, always end the message on a positive note.
These guidelines will ensure courteous and eventually effective communication and a congenial work environment.
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