It was during my final year of school that I got the opportunity to get to know a very well mannered and courteous schoolmate. I still recall his family’s wonderful hospitality when I had visited their home for a delicious traditional meal.
The first time I had met him though, I was struck by how he had refused to look at my eyes. It was much later when I realized that he had considered it impolite to look into my eyes.
Our culture, beliefs and background plays a phenomenal role in how we approach, perceive and relate to people. The fact also remains that if we were to be aware of how we may appear to people while communicating, we may probably rethink the effectiveness of our efforts in being understood.
Even before we begin the verbal communication process, messages are being sent through non- verbal channels.
Body language and eye contact are the first two elements that are observed by the person whom we are attempting to communicate with. A defensive or aggressive body posture complimented with a stare is most likely to terminate the communication link before you had even uttered your first word.
A respectful awareness of culture differences and the unique nature of individual experiences would certainly increase your chances of being a successful communicator. This is were the virtue of politeness plays a powerful role. Apart from being courteous, there are better chances of achieving your goal when you are polite. We all like to treated with politeness so treating people the way you like to be treated is a great way to establish a rapport.
We can show our politeness when we communicate by –
1) Respect Personal Space
Respecting the individual for what they are and being aware of their comfort zone is another way to ensure that the person responds to you positively. Demands or commands may get you in some situations what you want but in the long run neither does it establish a healthy relationship nor a positive rapport. A respectful approach with a request is likely to not just help you but will help you establish a long term rapport that enjoys healthy communication.
There will always be something positive to appreciate in the person you are communicating to. It could be the smile, the attire, the background the person comes from and the profession. By careful observation, you may be able to notice many more appreciable traits.
As a regular customer of the department store close to where I live, I used to be regularly attended by a lovely saleslady. She would always ensure that she greets me and assists me in my purchases. Talking to her one day, I realized that her birthday was in the following month. It was my joy to wish her on her birthday and witness her surprise. We all can make someone’s day brighter and radiant with little effort. Their joy adds a unique sparkle to our day.
3) Readiness to Compromise
In a situation that requires a certain goal to be met, for eg: meeting someone in an office, keep your options open. If at first you hear a “no”, what next? Have options ready so that you are not rigid in your stand but ensures you meet the purpose of your visit. Being rigid in a situation has a higher risk of you not just achieving your goal but also of creating an unpleasant situation for your self.
Make your day Beautiful – be Polite
Sometimes you may come across individuals who may provoke you with their response. Their abruptness, lack of interest to communicate, silence, obvious disinterest may tempt you to mirror their behavior, after all you may ask yourself, “Why should I bother if they can’t be polite?”
Think for a moment, by mirroring their rude behavior, will it add to your day’s happiness? Are you looking for getting the satisfaction of having put someone in their place or do you wish to enjoy your day?
I used to once visit an educational institute frequently and the receptionist would judiciously give me a grim glare. Despite the occasional temptation to respond in kind, I would smile and wish her to which she would look elsewhere and mutter a “Good Morning” This went on for months, and I noticed that the quality of my interaction with her remained still cold if not icy.
In my following visits, I insisted in asking her how she is and wishing her a great day. There was a thaw in the ice and today, she may not beam at the sight of me, but she is not cold, the grim expression is replaced by a brief but warm smile of recognition.
As someone once said,
“Raise your words, not your voice
It is rain that grows flowers, not thunder”