The other day, a colleague and I were lamenting the lack of common courtesy in the modern age. Admittedly, we're both dyed in the wool Southern belles whose grandmother's made sure we received good "home training" in the social graces. Until I was 13, I had to courtsey when I met my grandmother Memory's friends. But it seems like many people today don't want to invest the extra seconds to be kind. To hold the door. To say please. To offer to carry that heavy box. And I think that's sad.
Happily, there are still a few places where good manners count. Yesterday Steve and I were on the Morehouse campus in Atlanta. From the second we drove up to the information booth at the gates, we've been met with direct eye contact, smiles and handshakes. Not to mention all the calls of "good morning" as we walked across campus. Clearly, the Morehouse community values courtesy. And I say, "Amen." (A side note to college students: I can tell you as a employer that, all things being equal, a kid with good manners is going to get hired over someone without them.)
Now, maybe that's old-fashioned, but I don't think so. I think it's good business. You don't need to act ugly to win in business. It may be a dog eat dog world, but we can still chew with our mouths closed, you know?
This isn't the first time I've written about the topic of manners:
For Go, AirTran's in-flight magazine: Good Etiquette is Good Business
For the Seattle Times' Newspapers in Education program to help school kids become better mannered: What Your Mama Told You
For DigitalSouth (may it rest in peace), Scarlett Fever: One Dixie chick's guide to doing business in the South