The Civility CEOmmitments
Because It’s Never Too Late to Reverse Rudeness
By Sue Jacques ~ The Civility CEO™
Rudeness. Are you tired of it? I am. Sometimes it feels like civility is dying a painful death. It’s as though courtesy is on its last legs, and we need to act quickly to revive it. So what are we going to do about it? What is the solution? How do we reverse rudeness?
In the 1976 movie Network a disgruntled Howard Beale, played by the remarkable Peter Finch, provokes his fellow citizens to go to their windows and scream, “I’m as mad as hell and I’m not going to take this anymore.” And they did. But that’s not enough to inspire the kind of change we need in 2011. Besides, these days many of us are too tired to get off the sofa!
What we need is a different solution. We have to become as mad as hell and decide that we’re not going to DO this anymore. Because no matter how we slice this thing called rudeness, it is US who are doing it and WE who are putting up with it. We can shout out our windows all we want, but the only way to deal with a problem of this magnitude is to change our own behavior.
I am positive that if we work together we can turn things around. Here are ten suggestions that will take us from rudeness to respect:
The ‘Civility CEOmmitments’
1. Most of us don’t have time to spend waiting, so let’s all promise to start showing up on time. It is our responsibility to do whatever we have to do to get to wherever we said we’d be by the time we said we’d be there. We’re running out of excuses and it’s time for us to make some changes. Whether that means becoming ruthless with our schedules, buying ourselves new alarm clocks or learning how to say no, let’s simply do it.
2. When people spend their money on our products and services, let’s show our appreciation and treat clients and customers like gold. Let’s all agree to stop texting or talking on cell phones when it’s our job to greet and serve others. Let’s stop whining about office politics and how badly our day is going. And while we’re at it, let’s quit bullying and controlling other people and instead put a smile on our face and willingly do what we’re being paid to do.
3. Sloppiness doesn’t cut it anymore, so let’s all start to dress like we care about ourselves. Whether we’re going to work, the mall, the airport or the dentist, our appearance says more about our level of self-respect than anything else. We don’t have to get all gussied up, but let’s keep ourselves clean, run a comb through our hair and put on something that fits and covers our private parts.
4. Kindness is becoming a rarity, so let’s all offer to help others more often. Whether we’re at work, in our communities or on the street, let’s simply put ourselves out there and ask if there is anything that we can do to help. This one act will have a huge impact on our efforts to resuscitate civility.
5. Our roadways are becoming faster, more crowded and increasingly dangerous, so let’s all slow down and drive with care. Unless we’re emergency responders there should be no reason to speed or disregard the rules of the road. The one place that we absolutely don’t want to be multi-tasking is at the wheel of an automobile, so let’s all decide to leave our electronic gadgets alone while we’re driving.
6. Why don’t we all begin to communicate our feelings, thoughts, observations and ideas respectfully and constructively? Let’s stop using vulgar language and remember to say please and thank you. Furthermore, let’s send more notes of appreciation and always ask for what we need rather than demand that it be given to us.
7. We each have an inherent need to be heard, so let’s listen to one another, ask good questions and learn how to carry on engaging conversations. Let’s make more of an effort to take a sincere interest in what people are saying, and find out about who they are as individuals rather than focusing on what they do for a living.
8. An apology goes a long way, so let’s all learn how to say ‘I’m sorry’. If we’ve said or done something that inconveniences or hurts someone else then let’s have the guts to own up to it. If we’re wrong about something, let’s say so. If we want forgiveness, let’s earn it.
9. Our society will always share meals, so let’s all use proper table manners. If we want to eat with our hands while lounging on the sofa alone at home, fine. But let’s agree that any time we’re eating in the presence of other people we’ll make the effort to dine with grace. If we don’t know how to hold silverware, chew quietly or sip without slurping, then let’s learn.
10. When we’re happy others are more likely to be happy, so let’s discover the things that we absolutely love to do and find ways to do them more often. We will smile and laugh more and be a pleasure to be with because our enthusiasm will overflow into our interactions.
With the recession winding down our outlook is shifting. Most of us have been humbled by the events of the past few years, and as a result we are more frugal and wise. We want to be appreciated as customers, employees and clients. We expect that when we invest our time, our money and our effort that we will be treated fairly by our colleagues, neighbors and friends. Yet in order to get those things we first need to give them. So let’s get over being as mad as hell and work together to do something about it. After all, it’s the civil thing to do!
Sue Jacques is The Civility CEO™, an executive etiquette and image consultant who helps individuals & businesses gain confidence, earn respect and create courteous corporate cultures.
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©Copyright 2011 Sue Jacques. All rights reserved. You are welcome to copy, quote or share as long as the content is intact and the writer is credited. Thank you.