Please and Thank You–A Lesson Learned

I live in London and I am used to the fairly hostile and insular nature of our capital city. People generally never say good morning and nobody talks on the tube and when ordering their morning coffee, “Can I get … “ is rarely suffixed by “please” or “thank you.” It is a shame and I for one think politeness is important.

Just because we live in a digital world it doesn’t mean that we cannot be polite to each other. Courtesy is free and it makes you feel better to give and receive please and thank-yous. In fact I have learned in my business career that if you are polite and courteous and respectful you will prosper.

I was speaking at Learning Live on Artificial Intelligence in L&D and as I sat nervously waiting for the room to fill, quite a lot of people walked past the speaker’s post and said hello or good morning to me. In fact I would estimate that perhaps 40 per cent of the room personally said hello or good morning. It had a really positive energising effect on me prior to my talk and I want to thank everybody who took those five seconds to be polite, I really appreciate it.

I only mention this because on my LinkedIn feed today some idiot in California was berating people who thanked him when he LinkedIn with them. What was particularly telling was just how many people commented negatively about his view and lack of manners. What was perhaps most amusing was how the said idiot responded to criticism, generally by being rude and offensive to his critics.

I couldn’t help but click on his profile and was stunned to see that he was the “Chief Content Officer & Editor In Chief of …” the twenty third largest privately owned company in the USA. I cannot for a second imagine that the private owners of this business don’t say please and thank you, instead I imagine that they would, in fact, be horrified to read said idiot’s comments under the banner of their brand.

“Civility, politeness, it’s like a cement in a society: binds it together. And when we lose it, then I think we all feel lesser and slightly dirty because of it”–Jeremy Irons 


By Adrian Harvey