“Think before you act” – insight from Emily Post, and her offspring, from The Etiquette Advantage in Business

Troy: You know, I asked him about that. He said, good manners are just a way of showing other people we haveBlast from the Past respect for them. See, I didn’t know that, I thought it was just a way of acting all superior.
from the movie Blast from the Past

Think twice before you speak, because your words and influence will plant the seed of either success or failure in the mind of another.
Napoleon Hill


“Think before you speak.”

I don’t know who first said that, but it strikes me as immensely wise counsel. (Maybe it’s adapted from the book of James: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry.” Or, from the King James Version: “let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath“).

But, it reminds us that such pithy sayings are smart. They contain rich advice, and should be heeded.

Etiquette AdvantageI thought of this as I read the sample pages of Emily Posts’s The Etiquette Advantage in Business: Personal Skills for Professional Success, Third Edition by Peter Post with Anna Post, Lizzie Post, and Daniel Post Senning – yes, all continuing the family business started by the originator of this business within the family, Emily Post. (Can’t you just imagine the pressure to always be polite while growing up in this family?!)

Here are some of the short, so very needed, advice sayings I read in these pages:

Think before you act.
Make choices that build relationships.
Your actions need to be grounded in sincerity.

(or, to reduce these to one word each: consideration, respect, and honesty).

So, reading these pages made me do a little brainstorming – what other simple phrases could I come up with (reminders that would be valuable to follow?

Here’s my short list (a couple borrowed):

First, do no harm
Practice good etiquette – be polite
Pay attention to the other person
Listen – listen first; keep listening
Don’t seek the credit
Share the credit
Take your share of the blame – maybe a little more
The customer may not always be right, but always deserves your respect
Don’t be a jerk
Seek first to understand
Always be helpful, and useful, to others

What phrases would you add?

And, more importantly, which of these phrases do you need to put into practice? And, yes, that goes for me, also!

And, by the way, I agree with the title: someone practicing good etiquette in business, and in life, has an advantage in this sadly keep-calm-and-think-before-you-speak-26lacking-in-etiquette era.


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