How are etiquette and strong business relationships relevant?
Etiquette = Good manners.
Good manners = Respect and consideration.
Respect and consideration = Pleasant to deal with.
And a person pleasant to deal with is much more likely to develop and maintain strong and sustainable client and partner relationships.
How Is It So
When talking about etiquette and strong business relationships, you may think I’m referring to being polite. As in using soft words like please, sorry, would you be so kind to, and so on. While these words are important to use in our conversations, I refer to a different concept here. One where, either while negotiating or discussing business matters, communications can become a bit more complicated. We can’t always see eye to eye with our counterparts. Still, we should always avoid putting other people on the spot. There is no need to affect the other person’s pride by bluntly saying what we think.
You can achieve that by tweaking your sentences in order to take the focus away from the ‘you’ — e.g. finger pointing — to put it on the ‘I’ instead. That way you will preserve the sense of trust that is crucial for holding productive talks. By carefully choosing the right words, you’ll not only allow for more fruitful discussions to take place, but you’ll also have the power to defuse tensions that sometimes can escalate in a negotiation.
To succeed in doing so however, lies a challenge in how you control your emotions and your ego. You have to be prepared to swallow your pride occasionally in order to keep the conversation on the right track. Concentrating on the ultimate goal you’re pursuing will help downplay the importance of your own emotions. You must not let a moment’s frustration overshadow the ultimate goal you’re pursuing — always have that big picture goal in mind.
Say What You Think, Differently
Here are some examples of what I mean by ‘tweaking your sentences’.
You’re thinking: You don’t understand what I’m explaining to you.
You should say: I think I may have gone a bit quickly, actually how it works is / what I meant is … (and you get into more details if needed)
You’re thinking: You obviously aren’t listening to what I’m saying.
You should say: I may be repeating myself / It may sound like I’m insisting, but as I mentioned earlier… (then you try explaining it in a different manner)
You’re thinking: You didn’t send me the documents you said you would.
You should say: I understand you were not able to send me the documents? Can you tell me when you’ll be able to provide them?
You’re thinking: What you’re saying is totally incoherent.
You should say: I’m having a hard time understanding this part of your explanation since… Can you explain it to me differently?
You’re thinking: What you’re asking for is totally unreasonable.
You should say: I can certainly understand why this would be great for you, but for us it just doesn’t make sense because of…
By using this etiquette type of approach you will have the power to transform how your message is received. Helping you keep an open canal of communications for your business relationship to continue to prosper.
1st Rule: Always have in mind your big picture goal.
2nd Rule: Be ready to put your own ego aside.
3rd Rule: Tweak your sentences to take the focus away from the ‘you’ and put it on the ‘I’, to avoid putting the other person on the defensive.
4th Rule: Did I mention to put your own ego aside?
Trust me, incorporate this practice in your business life and it will become a great asset!
Tell me, what is your experience with these situations? Is this something you already practice ? Would love to hear your thoughts on this subject! Write your comments in the section below!