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Embarrassment: An Etiquette No-No

I'm going to discuss a subject I believe we can all probably improve on - using embarrassment to try to persuade others to perform or meet our objectives.

I work with teenagers, and oftentimes, when I ask them questions about their lives, they share things about school, family, and relationships.  One issue they share with me a little too often, meaning it's happening a little too often, is adults using "embarrassment" in order to get teens to do things, behave better, study harder, perform at higher levels of achievement, etc.

Recently a teen shared a situation that happened in her math class. She said that her teacher called on a young lady to answer a question.  When she didn't know the answer, the teacher reportedly became frustrated and asked the student to stand up and explain why she didn't know the answer.  The teacher said she was going to write a three-page essay explaining why she didn't know the answer and then informed her that she needed her mom's phone number so she could call and discuss this with her. She capped off the lecture with, "It looks like you need to go back to middle school."

Perhaps some of these details would be reported differently from a different witness to the event.  I don't know, because I wasn't there myself.  However, here's what I do know.

It is NEVER productive to humiliate and embarrass others when trying to inspire them to perform better.

If showing good manners means that we act and speak in a way that shows value to others, then embarrassing them would be the complete opposite of that goal.

Once we engage in this type of behavior, we lose the respect of those around us.  Without respect, we can't motivate others, people don't care whether they please us or not, and we can't inspire people to want to change.  We cripple our ability to lead others to succeed when we don't have their respect and admiration.

We all have wonderful memories of teachers, youth leaders, and adult friends who truly inspired us, made us want to work harder, study more, and achieve greater things.  What was so special about them?  For me, they were the teachers, leaders, and parents that I knew cared about me and want me to achieve, learn and grow.  They bent over backwards to help me succeed.

Whether we're teaching, parenting, or working in any position of leadership, we must ask ourselves why we're here.

Do we really care and want to help, inspire, motivate, and change? 

 If so, remember to always use respect and honor to those around us.  We'll never receive what we're not willing to give.

Monica

Helping Our Children to Politely Receive Compliments

We all can struggle at times when we receive a compliment from someone. Often, it can make us feel awkward because we’re not sure the best way to respond.  If it’s difficult for us, then we must assume it also can be difficult for our children.

The best way to respond to a compliment, is simply, “Thank you.”  However, we want to show our sincere gratitude as we say, “thank you” and we can do this by looking the person in the eye, and with true sincerity, express our gratitude.

With our children, it is a great idea to role play a few example situations.  For instance, let’s say someone at church says to our daughter, “That is such a lovely dress you have on today.  You look beautiful.”  Our child would hopefully look up and make eye contact and then say something like, “Thank you so much.  My grandma bought it for me.”

On another occasion, a neighbor could come up to our son and say something like, “Wow, you really are fast on your bike.”  Hopefully, our son would stop, look up at the neighbor making eye contact while smiling and say something like, “Well thank you so much for noticing.  I’ve been practicing a lot and trying to get faster.”

Today, it seems very  impressive when any child or young person simply makes eye contact and speaks directly and purposefully with adults.  Too often, children and young people look down at the ground when an adult tries to speak to them and mumbles responses that are sometimes difficult to understand.

Parents, as you role play some scenarios with your children, they will increase in their confidence and be able to handle compliments from others with kindness and gratitude.  Practice makes perfect.  

Have a great month!

Monica Irvine

Business Telephone Etiquette

All businesses hopefully realize that the way in which they answer the telephone and communicate with their customers on the telephone is their most important asset.

How often have we as consumers decided in less then 10 seconds whether or not we were going to do business with a company or someone depending on how they answered the phone?  It's so important.

The best way for me to discuss these skills in this particular platform is to list them out.  However, if you're interested in a much more detailed approach, please see my professional services page on my website.

📱 Answer the phone by the third ring, expressing a welcome, identifying the company and then yourself.

📱 Remember that customers can hear your mood and appreciation for the call by your voice, tone, speed of speech, and energy level.  Smile--they can hear it your voice.

📱 Try to make sure there's no background noise or distractions while speaking to the customer.  You really can't multi-task well when you're talking on the phone to a customer.

📱 The person who initiates the call is the person who should initiate the end of the call.

📱  Before discussing personal matters with a customer, verify that now is a good time for them to discuss such matters.

📱 Never get too personal with a customer unless the customer is the one to initiate such comments or questions.

📱 Never place a caller on hold without getting their permission to do so first, and never leave them on hold for more than 30 seconds without coming back to inform them of progress or possible further wait.

📱  Always reply with a yes or no or perhaps a "let me check to see if he's available" before asking the caller for their name after they have asked to speak to someone.

📱 Ask the caller for their name and number before transferring them to another department or person in case the call is accidentally lost.  Inform them of who and where you're transferring them to and why are doing so.  Give the name and direct number to the caller in case the call is accidentally lost.

📱 Give needed information to the second customer service rep so the caller doesn't have to repeat information already given.

📱 Show customer appreciation for their call by thanking them, asking them if there's anymore you can help them with, and wishing them a wonderful day.

The are just a few etiquette skills that go a long way in ensuring that our customers feel our appreciation for them and our commitment to excellence.

Warmly

Monica Irvine