Of course, I have no right to teach and educate anyone, but I will still say – if you expect respect, if you want to work in a civilized environment, be the first – show respect and behave yourself like a civilized professional.
I am not writing this on behalf of an ideal and infallible guru. I am the one who occasionally may not answer a letter for a week. I am the one who can inattentively read something and pester with stupid questions. I am a person who tried very hard to educate well and who was taught to be polite, but, unfortunately, not taught to build communication. For a long time, I faced serious problems in business and business communication, each new contact was given to me with great difficulty.
But I have a great sense of inappropriateness and inadequacy of behavior, even if this behavior is my own. And I learn every day, learn from my mistakes and from the mistakes of others. After all, having once experienced all those unpleasant emotions that are associated with uncivilized behavior towards you, you no longer want to deliver the same experiences to others, you do not want to waste someone else’s time in vain and exploit someone else’s patience.
Just a few questions, simple and obvious, it would seem, this is the alphabet. But every day each of us more than once or twice is faced with the fact that such obvious things suddenly turn out to be not obvious.
1. Do You Answer All Letters and Calls?
I don’t mean spam! How fast? Do you always pick up the phone when you get a business call? If you cannot answer within one or two days due to lack of time or you lack some information to give a complete answer, write about it! If you can reply to a letter immediately after reading it, answer it immediately, it won’t take much time, but it will clear a little space in your brain. If you didn’t pick up the phone, find an opportunity to call back.
2. Have You Done Your Homework?
Do you carefully study all public information before asking a question? Do you read carefully or listen to the answers to your questions? And re-read? Make sure you are addressing at all. Take your precious time to add the recipient’s name if you are sending a sample letter.
Prepare for a business meeting so you don’t ask about things that are easy to find out on your own. Of course, bank inquiry services or network cosmetics hotlines work to ask them whatever you want. But if we are talking about cooperation with a specific person, and especially if you are simply bursting with curiosity and you decide to ask a question, make sure to do your “homework” first. Your time is not more precious than another person’s! If it seems to you the opposite, then it seems to you.
3. There is Exactly No Other Way to Your Purpose but How to Burden Another?
Are you sure that there is no other, more obvious or more independent way of obtaining information than “to contact an expert, who knows for sure, and if he doesn’t know, then okay, I at least tried”? This point follows from the previous one. More often than not, such a train of thought only means that you are a lazy person who wants to dump his work on another person. And it is not so important whether it is a friend or just a “person from the Internet” – why not try to find the answer yourself or “buy” it in the form of a book, info-product, master class, personal consultation of the same person to whom you are just applied? Sometimes people are happy to help, including free of charge, but this is their prerogative, not an obligation. And if they help, it deserves gratitude. See below for gratitude. And if they do not help, it also deserves gratitude.
4. Can You Refuse?
The refusal must be formulated, and it can be done in such a way as to leave the best impression of yourself. It is unacceptable to simply ignore answers that do not suit you. First, your refusal is not necessarily the end of communication and an end to cooperation. It can encourage the other party to compromise, or at least give his/her invaluable feedback.
People who send requests for cooperation and disappear after receiving a response about the conditions give the impression of being inadequate, seriously. Either they hide from the need to refuse, or they simply do not put you into anything, not considering it necessary to voice a negative decision and ignoring the inconveniences of your suspended state. Both options are not the ultimate dream, right? Especially when the first letter told us that this person wants to work with you and does not see anyone else in this role (well, if the paragraph about changing the name is fulfilled!).
Of course, it is not necessary to answer the 40 window glazing company prices that you requested and other similar messages. Although, actually, it’s not that difficult. And, of course, you don’t have to respond to obviously idiotic sentences. Although send 2 lines: “Thank you for your letter, it is not relevant for me at the moment, have a nice day!” – this is also a titanic work. Believe me, this is, in fact, much faster and, moreover, more environmentally friendly than thinking to yourself, “Oh, idiot, what kind of nonsense did he send me?”
But if you initiate communication about cooperation, your refusal is a sign of respect for the time spent on you, which gives the other person the opportunity to move on and, possibly, get better.
5. Are You Realistic in Your Promises?
Do not underestimate the cost of your work, so that later every time you do not worry that you have cheapened. Do not be fooled that you will sit and work all the time allotted for doing work without sleep, rest or food. If this is not your first experience, you know how much time it really takes, what you can and what you can’t, and how things are in general. Don’t lie to the other side, but above all, don’t lie to yourself.
6. Are You Consistent in The Mode of Communication? Fixing All Strops?
Confused communication, smeared across different communication channels, greatly complicates further work. Therefore, a request sent by mail is best answered by mail, unless otherwise indicated in the letter. Now everyone is everyone’s friends in all possible social networks, but still, if one channel is recommended for some questions or, even more so, one channel has already been chosen, it is better to stick to it so as not to search for pieces of discussion on all platforms.
It is better to immediately collect everything that you have agreed upon in telephone conversations into a numbered list and send it to your interlocutor by mail. And the best completion of the preparatory stage of work is the drawing up by one of the parties of a kind of “contract”, even if a real contract is not provided. It can be just a clear letter that stipulates all aspects of your cooperation, which confirms, corrects or complements the other side. It’s much easier to live with, seriously!
7. Do You Answer All the Questions Contained in The Letter, Or Only on The Last?
This sin is found in almost everyone. No matter how diligently the questioner enumerates his questions and breaks letters into paragraphs, the probability that he will not receive some of the answers tends to plus infinity. Personally, I practically gave up the practice of asking several questions at the same time (unless this is a written interview, of course). It’s just safer. Still, when replying to an email, make sure you are responding to the entire email, not just your favorite or “comfortable” parts.
8. Are You Not Grapping For Everything?
Projects that you don’t like, you will do without commitment, breaking deadlines, giving mediocre results and, ultimately, ruining your nerves and reputation. Look for “your” client and customer and work to match it.
9. Are You Not Missing for An Undefined Time?
Whatever the reasons behind this may be, to disappear indefinitely or to completely interrupt communication before its logical conclusion – this is terribly indecent and infantile. If you do not know what to answer, just answer it, take a time-out and do not break the period of silence that you agreed upon. If you do not have time to complete the work in time, find the strength to warn about it, it looks much better and more responsible than your mysterious disappearances.
All your stories about incredible circumstances, illnesses, yours or relatives, fires, floods and “the dog ate my composition” your addressee, I’m sure, has heard more than once. Even if it’s true, it doesn’t matter. Now he is not worried about the reasons, but the future prospects. And most importantly – draw conclusions and no longer put yourself in a situation where you have to lie, dodge and hide.
10. Are You Sorry for Your Mistakes?
Failure to meet deadlines, provision of inaccurate information, inability to fulfill the obligations assumed – all this happens to us, because we are all human. The ability to admit a mistake and adequately resolve the conflict is much more important and valuable than a super-ability that insures against mistakes in principle. Very often people make excuses, but they don’t do this most obvious thing – they don’t apologize.
11. Do You Say “Thanks” And “Please”?
Politeness is worthless, and yet it is priceless. Probably, you cannot teach adults this, but you can. Politeness is the verbal expression of your feelings. Thank you is a token of gratitude, and be nice is respect for the efforts of the person to whom you are asking. No more and no less. This is not a convention at all, it means to call things by their proper names. If this is not the case in your case and such feelings are not familiar to you, fake it till you make it!
12. Do You Put the Right Point in Communication?
Are you completing work on joint projects with feedback and exchange of thanks for cooperation? This stage is not as important as the discussion of conditions, but it allows both parties to take the maximum out of the joint work, having received moral satisfaction, a qualitative assessment of their professionalism and a solid foundation for further communication, both professional and, perhaps, personal, why not no?
13. Are You Not Confusing the Names of Your Addresses?
I’m sure not, but check it out just in case. Each of us lives, wrapped in a thick layer of our own interests and motives, as well as stereotypes and delusions. With rare exceptions, we avoid putting ourselves in the shoes of other people. Someone quite deliberately spits on other people’s interests and feelings, someone, in principle, does not think about them, someone ascribes their own thoughts to others, but the fact is that in most situations we see ourselves as such heroes of computer games passing levels and defeating monsters, forgetting that our monsters are living people with whom you can and should build relationships.
Even if it’s micro-interaction at the level of a chain of three letters, you can waste a lot of your and other people’s time and be remembered as an idiot, or you can lay the foundation for a fruitful and respectful relationship. Yes, and you believe in karma or not, but the law of conservation of energy exists and works in all. And we always end up receiving from the world what we give. Well, the choice, of course, is yours.