Tag Archives: politeness

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Does Politeness Make a Difference?

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Does an investment in politeness make a difference? In the workplace, is being polite taken for granted? Will it help you navigate the C-Suite, the tight circle of middle management, or the front line?

When you ask for more information, a return telephone call, or bring a helpful conversation to a close, are you polite?


Do you say, “please” or “thank you”?

When we say, “please” the conversation is different. It is not implying a command, it is asking for participation. It suggests that participation is known to be voluntary and with respect it is being sought.

In the voicemail message, “Please give me a call when you get a chance.” is very different from, “Give me a call when you get this message.”

“Would you mind giving me your email address?” is different from, “What’s your email address?” One is much more civil, it is respectful and considerate. The other feels more like a command.

People often want to thank one another by saying, “Thanks.” Email signatures are often preceded with, “Thanks,”. Is that the closing to a command or a meaningful voice of gratitude?

I will often close an email message with, “Thanks so much!” I believe it makes the attempt at gratitude more striking.


In the workplace, giving commands typically is not recognized as being considerate or respectful. Even when the lines of authority suggest that it may be okay.

Employees at all levels often feel that resources are scarce.

What is the most precious resource for many workplace professionals? Time.

When we communicate with politeness it suggests that participation is recognized as optional, and for that, we appreciate you.


Dennis E. Gilbert is a business consultant, speaker (CSPTM), and culture expert. He is a five-time author and the founder of Appreciative Strategies, LLC. His business focuses on positive human performance improvement solutions through Appreciative Strategies®. Reach him through his website at Dennis-Gilbert.com or by calling +1 646.546.5553.

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