“Treat everyone with politeness, even those who are rude to you – not because they are nice, but because you are.”
— Author Unknown
What does an IRS form 990-N, 9-1-1, and a $999.99 have in common?
They all involve a little courtesy.
As treasurer for one of my Toastmasters club, I was required to submit a 990-N form to the IRS. To verify that a few deposit numbers, I needed to send out a few emails. A few courteous emails.
A few weeks ago, I saw some graffiti up on a mailbox. I didn’t think much of it, but today I realized that it wasn’t going away, so I called our local authorities and reported it. Courteously.
And finally, tonight after a month of dealing with Craig’s List phone calls, I sold our old Chevy Caprice. The folks that bought it were quite … courteous.
I got text messages at midnight. I got people trying to obscenely low-ball me. I was told our car is a jalopy. I had numerous people say they were going to come by and look at it, and then never appear. I had people tell me our car was ugly. I had one guy tell me he was coming at 8pm one night, didn’t appear, then got mad the next day when I didn’t respond to his text messages right away.
In every one of these cases I physically felt irritated and annoyed, and although I refused to treat anyone poorly, I realized that because of the lack of courtesy, I was never going to give them a good deal on the car. It made a difference in my attitude.
That’s the simple lesson. Show courtesy and people will treat you better.
So here’s my long-awaited 9-9-9 plan.
- 99.9 % of the time, send courteous emails rather than impolite, short ones.
- 99.9% of the time, be courteous on the phone. Even to the rude telemarketers.
- 99.9% of the time, be courteous when talking to anyone by listening more.
- 99.9% of the time, show up on time out of courtesy if you say you’re going to. Or at least call if you’re not coming.
- 99.9% of the time, be courteous on Facebook. You don’t realize how bad you look when you complain.
- 99.9% of the time, say thank you because it’s the right thing to do.
And the 0.01% that’s left over? Well, try to be courteous then as well.
Courtesy makes a difference 99.9% + 0.1% of the time.
Handled all my emails courteously. Talked courteously with the 9-1-1 dispatcher over a non-emergency call. Was courteous to the people buying my car as they were to me. And, called back one prospective buyer to tell him the car sold because he had been courteous to me.
In short, I gave my time as courteously as I could.
Don’t forget! It’s Random Acts of Kindness Week!!