Excuse me, may I get something from my locker. I will be real quick. That was the voice I heard behind me at the ladies changing room at the gym today. That was music to my ears. I immediately moved, smiled and acknowledged the grace and sweetness with which this lady had spoken. I thanked her for her courtesy. Hearing my comment another lady from the far end remarked, OMG, you are so right. One rarely gets to hear a true form of apology or gratitude or excuse me these days. On her way out she apologized to me saying, I couldn’t help making that remark. I smiled and told her that she made a valid observation and there was no need to be apologetic and I thanked her for her support.
While it takes only a few words to make someone’s day, words poorly chosen have the inordinate power to start an argument, spoil someone’s day, destroy relationships, lead to arguments, and cause embarrassment.
Three simple words “Sorry”, “Thank you”, “Please” have the immense potential to empower your communication, build rapport and enhance relationships when used with the proper tone and intention.
I say proper tone and intention because I have been at the receiving end of “sorry” with absolutely no apology intended. A week back, I suddenly get a jolt in my elbow and before I could even recover from my excruciating pain, this man says sorry and again rudely steps his shoes over my feet and my toe nail comes off. He doesn’t bother saying sorry and he marches off pretending to be unaware of what he had done. I come across similar types of behavior in the elevators of building, at offices and also at the gym. I take the example of the gym many times because to me a gym is where you go to work out, get healthy and in turn build your endurance. That means over time you should adopt the right attitude no matter the tearing hurry you may be in. If you cannot be courteous and ride over your challenges at the gym, what is the point in going for a workout?
Isn’t life similar to the gym? Because life is presenting you with some unnerving moments doesn’t mean you have the right to stomp over somebody else with your attitude and actions.
Yet in today’s so-called well-connected digital and fast paced world that we live in, we care more about speed with which we achieve results instead of the quality. Yes… We are dealing with multi tasks and juggling with many issues at the same time. We are hard pressed for time, yet by no means does that give us the right to behave aggressively or arrogantly to one another. Just because we sit behind computers trying to build rapport and relationships, it doesn’t mean we throw etiquette, courtesy and respect out of the window.
When did any of us stop appreciating courtesy or an apology? If the answer is never, why has “I’m sorry” changed to “I’m sorry but” or I appreciate what you are saying morphed into “I appreciate what you are saying, however “
Why have we become so stingy in being appreciative of something that somebody has done or acknowledging somebody’s email?
I find it appalling when people write so many blogs on leadership and yet when you interact with some of them, they seem to be lacking the courtesy to acknowledge or be thankful.
Communication is complete only if the words are expressed in a tone and manner that is congruent to what the words mean. Silent gratitude and apologies are no good.
Words are an important part of our communication but when there is in-congruency between the words, body language and tone, we pay more attention to the non verbal. Research by Albert Mehrabian has indicated that in cases where we are incongruent, we give
7% of meaning in the words that are spoken.
38% of meaning is paralinguistic (the tone).
55% of meaning is in facial expression.
In the world of chats, IM, hangouts and every other form of digital media which we live in, we forget to frame our thoughts and words. We don’t take time to acknowledge emails, messages, tweets, chats and we say things without recognizing the impact of our words or cryptic one word responses.
Would you shrink in your status or size if you said a genuine sorry or please or Thank you.
Would you downgrade yourself if you acknowledged somebody?
Would you belittle yourself if you showed gratitude or appreciated someone for a job well done? Click To Tweet
Effective communication starts with your feelings, your thoughts and the attitude you take to every situation. Click To Tweet. It is these thoughts that translates into words, body language and tone in your voice. Are they congruent? Are they effective?
Are you leading by example in the way you communicate? Click To Tweet
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