9 Ways to Help Restore Civility in Today’s World
I cannot believe that everyone was shouting in the meeting. No one heard anything and nothing got resolved.
My colleague stopped talking to her cousin because of the person she voted for.
The recent outbreaks of uncivil behavior in the political arena have impacted our everyday experiences, as the comments above testify. But it's time for people to fight back, politely of course, and assert that being uncivil to one another is not the way we want public figures to behave. Nor is it the way we should behave ourselves.
After the terrible events of 9/11 we came together and helped one another at a time of national tragedy. We saw or heard of acts of incredible kindness, often between strangers. And you know what? We liked it!
Keep in mind that you don’t have to mirror the impolite actions of others.
There are ways for people to express their differences without resorting to bad behavior. If you want things to change, the change starts with you. Let me stress that: You are the change agent.
Use these 9 tips to encourage polite behavior in the workplace and your world.
1. Don’t attack back.
Remember that someone else’s bad behavior is no excuse for your own. Though it may feel good to respond, “Well, what do you know, you idiot?” if somebody says something to offend you, it’s not going to build your credibility or accomplish anything.
2. Use courteous behavior.
It’s hard to be nasty to people who are nice to you. Keep “please,” “thank you,” and “excuse me” in your vocabulary. Greet others when you see them. And respond to the greetings of others. If someone says “hello” to you, you must say “hello” back. It is not optional!
3. Avoid inflammatory words.
Using harsh words such as “stupid,” “ignorant,” and “fool” only inflames a situation, and this approach is unlikely to lead to a positive resolution. Cursing at people is just mean, and reflects poorly on the one doing the cursing.
4. Disagree agreeably.
If you have difficulty with someone, talk to the person. Listen to what he or she has to say. You can evaluate an idea without attacking the person who is promoting it. Saying, “I see it differently, and here’s why…” is a lot more productive than screaming at people or calling them names.
5. Acknowledge your mistakes.
Saying to someone, “You’re right. I shouldn’t have said that or done that,” goes a long way in maintaining good relationships.
6. Share, wait your turn, and be gracious toward others.
Help other people when you can. Don’t interrupt. And be considerate when sharing space with others. This includes cleaning up after your meeting and making sure that you return the items you borrowed.
7. Be cautious with humor.
Humor can be an effective communication tool, but it also may cause you to fail miserably, especially in tense or difficult situations. What some people believe is funny may hurt or put down other people, and this invites conflict.
8. Stop complaining.
If you don’t like something, don’t complain about it to others – do something. Get involved. Join organizations. Politely object. (Additional information on communicating effectively and politely can be found in my new book, The Communication Clinic: 99 Proven Cures for the Most Common Business Mistakes.)
9. Walk away.
And if you don’t want to do any of the above, you can always avoid hostile or impolite interactions by simply walking away.
Solving Your Biggest Client Issue May Be at Your Fingertips
Written by: Shileen Weber
When the American Funds’ Capital Group asked 400 advisors last year to name the biggest issues they face in their businesses, it wasn’t the DOL, market uncertainty or the economy that sat in the center of the idea cloud of answers.
It was client issues.
At a time when regulatory concerns and market turbulence would seem to be at all-time highs, the advisors who answered the survey were most concerned about servicing their clients as well as ways to find new ones and grow their businesses.
It’s one of the ironies of the business, that the things most people find so hard to manage – creating financial plans, managing assets and staying ahead of events – are what advisors find to be the easiest parts of the business. Marketing - the business of selling themselves – can be the area advisors find the hardest elements to master.
In this age of instant communication, it can be even more intimidating to market your practice, especially to younger clients for whom many traditional methods like newsletters, postcards and phone calls don’t work anymore. For them, email is the preferred way to get information, and, if it’s important, they are more likely to respond to texts, not phone calls.
But, it doesn’t have to be that hard. The digital age gives you access to ideas and content of all kinds you can use to touch your clients in a way that positions you as a valuable resource. The key is to keep it simple, stick to some basics and create consistent outreach that clients and potential clients are interested in and will appreciate you sharing with them.
Here is a common-sense approach you can take that will not require you to hire an expensive agency or take valuable time away from managing your clients’ assets and running your business.
Content is King
Create a content calendar for the year: Think about reasons to touch a client 13 times during the year – that can be once a month and on their birthday. (The common rule of sales is that it takes at least 7-13 touches to make a connection.) The number is limited and keeps you from inundating the clients who likely already feel inundated with content. You can take the seasonal approach – tax planning in the fall, January for account review content, college financing in the spring – and supplement it with topical events during the year. Creating a calendar will help you stick to a plan. Here’s one resource for a content calendar.
Review what content is already available to you: Basically, this means finding the resources you already have and determining what pieces will be most valuable to your clients. Start first by checking out content your broker-dealer already generates that you can personalize. Many firms have economists who write regularly about the market. That’s content you can pass along to keep clients up-to-date they would not have access to anywhere else. In addition to your broker-dealer, mutual funds, your clearing firm, and money managers are all excellent sources of informative and even analytical content.
Personalize the content you use: Add your name, the client’s name or some way to avoid making it feel like canned content that you are using just to check the outreach box. See what capabilities your email program may have to help you.
The birthday strategy: One advisor used clients’ birthdays in a new way. Instead of the card or lunch date, the advisor asked the client’s spouse for a list of friends he could invite to a birthday lunch and made it a memorable event that was also a soft approach to getting referrals.
Become a curator of good content: What your review will show you is that you don’t have to generate the content yourself. You can point clients to pieces you find insightful. You are likely already doing this every day just to keep yourself informed. The next step is to compile it and send out the very best pieces to your clients, again, with a note with your own thoughts about why you found it valuable.
Find out what is working and do more of it: Use your client interactions, in-person and online, to find out what types of content clients liked and any they didn’t. You can use tracking on your emails to see how many were opened as a measurement tool, but the personal interactions tend to provide more insight than raw data.
Be disciplined about your execution: Get help from an office assistant or schedule the time each month to do the content development and outreach. As any good strategy, if you make it a habit, it won’t seem so hard.
Most importantly, be yourself and be personal: You may want to regularly get personal by talking about your family and hobbies. The ultimate is if you can provide content that is personal to your clients, not just about their investments – they get that from their statements, apps and online portals. Think alma maters, hobbies, children and parents.
Of course, as a disclaimer, you have to make sure all content and communications are complying with regulations and the rules of your own broker-dealer.
The process of creating a plan will get you thinking about your clients in a new way. That exercise alone can re-energize your business and get you seeing marketing opportunities in places you may never have seen them before.
Shileen Weber is Senior Vice President of Marketing and Communications at GWG Holdings. She was previously Director of Online Strategy and Client Experience at RBC Wealth Management, where they placed first in two JD Power and Associates U.S. Full Service Investor Satisfaction Study (2011 and 2013).
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