Life is about relationships and the rest is just details.
There are basic common sense rules that are not so common anymore. It doesn’t take much to rise to the top in a culture where we are more technologically savvy than we are socially savvy. If we can incorporate the following rules into our everyday lives this world would be a much kinder, more polished place to live.
1. RSVP – ASAP!
“No one responds these days.”
This is the leading complaint I receive regarding parties, showers, dinners, or events. Solution: We MUST respond immediately to invitations of any type (paper or evite). Simply say: I am responding to your invitation. I will (or will not) be able to attend. Thank you for inviting me. Remember: You do not have to give an excuse why you are not attending.
For those who are sending out the invitations: DO NOT include this phrase on your invite: Respond only if declining. You will have no clue how many people will or will not show up – trust me on this one!
Also, never hesitate to contact your invitees to see if they are attending.
2. Say thank-you twice
. Once when you are leaving the event, dinner party or business interview, and then send a hand written thank-you note as a follow up to show your appreciation.
The only time you are not required to send a thank-you note is for a host/hostess gift. That would be considered a “thank-you for a thank-you”.
3. Don't let your cell phone control you
. Leave it on silent, and check your text and voice messages in private. People know where they stand with you in relationship to your cell phone. Nothing says I don’t care about you more than ignoring the people sitting right in front of you.
When I started my company, Protocol Enterprises, Inc in 2000 I can assure you that several people in each of my audiences would forget to silence their cell phones. Eleven years later – most all phones are on manner-mode. People are receiving text and fewer calls.
I was hired by a very large insurance agency to speak at their regional office team meeting. My instruction from the Human Resource Department was this: Emphasize that it is extremely rude to read texts and emails during meetings, and make sure our president gets this message loud and clear. Consequently, after honing-in on this point, I asked the president to stand and tell his team the importance of focusing on the meeting – not checking text or emails. He said, “I have been negligent in this area, but want you all to know from now on, my phone can wait, you have my undivided attention.”
4. Don't be late. Ever.
5. Always keep your right hand available for socializing
, i.e. shaking hands, hugging, waving, blowing kisses … whatever is social. Remember: your right hand is your social hand and your left hand is your personal hand. Left is used for holding your drink, and covering your mouth for a sneeze or cough.
6. Use the basics: “please,” “thank-you” you’re welcome, and I’m sorry.”
Forget phrases such as “no problem.” Use eye contact and a sincere, genuine smile always.
7. If you make a commitment, stick to it!
Relationships are built on commitment and trust. If you are asked to commit to even the smallest occasion – show up and have your game face on!
8. Attend weddings and funerals.
My mother died when I was 18 months old, and my elderly Aunt Sally raised me. We were several generations apart, but she imparted words of wisdom that I will never forget. Her in-sight has benefitted me in building strong relationships.
“Always attend weddings and funerals”, I can hear her say, “Your friends will always remember it fondly.”
9. Treat others the way you want to be treated.
Yes – this rule is golden! If you want to be treated special – treat others that way. Remember birthdays, anniversaries and special occasions. Write notes, send cards, type emails, and make calls, not so others will do the same for you, but to be the best you can be. Making others feel special says a lot about you.
10. Open doors!
Not just doors on the front of the building, but doors of opportunity. When someone refers me to a client, I am overwhelmed with gratitude - which leads to me reaching back out to them to say thank you by phone and a follow-up thank-you note. This is relationship building! In turn, I am constantly thinking about how I can help them and help others in the same way.
The great Zig Ziglar says, “We can have everything we want in life if we just help enough others get what they want.”
Joy Weaver is a renowned etiquette expert, speaker, and author of “Just Ask Joy… How to Be Socially Savvy in All Situations”—a book highly endorsed by Jean and Zig Ziglar. Joy represents designer Joseph Ribkoff and is a regular guest on ABC’s Good Morning Texas. Her clients vary in range from corporate giants such as Raytheon, Sprint and Balfour Construction to Junior Leagues and National Charity Leagues across the nation. Joy is nationally published and has been featured on ABC’s The View, in the Associated Press, New York Times, USA Today, Southern Living Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and The Dallas Business Journal. Protocol Enterprises/Just Ask Joy is based in Dallas and has served clients across the country since 2000. You can follow Joy on Twitter at www.twitter.com/SociallySavvy and learn more at www.justaskjoy.com