I hope you find my writing and business tips and observations useful. My business and blog are dedicated to helping businesses communicate clearly and reach their potential. Read, subscribe to my newsletter, enjoy!Tash

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Polite comments please!

“I visited your blog. Recipricate the visit {URL}”

“CD wants you to read the blog post {URL}”

Believe it or not, these rude requests have recently entered my blog comment and email box. Do they really think it will result in me clicking on their link? I certainly didn’t, and I deleted their comment/email as well.

It really annoys me when people are rude, but more so when people expect me to react because they have chosen to do something.

So what if you have read my blog post? That doesn’t mean I automatically have an interest in what you blog about, yet a number of people have this expectation; even worse are those associates/friends who expect me to read their blog regularly just because I know them, even if there is no sign they have EVER read any of my blog posts!

It’s like those people (not clients) who get annoyed because I don’t return their phone call straight away – it may suit them to call during the day but I have a business to run!

Not a very constructive blog post I admit, but there is some relief to vent about rudeness and expectations! Of course, we can all take the message that a polite request is much more likely to get someone to do what you want (in this case, read your blog post!)

Disagreeing with clients – the nice way!

If you work for clients, you will not always agree with how they want things done. Sometimes, it will just be a matter of personal choice so you stay quiet and do things their way. Other times, your professional experience and knowledge leads you to believe the client would be better off following your way.

So how do you tell a valued client that you disagree with their request?

Let’s take a simplified situation – the client asks for bright red and you think pale blue is a better option.

The first response to come to mind may be “Bright red won’t work so I’m going to use pale blue for you.”

However, the client is likely to be annoyed at being told they’re wrong and you’re making the decision. Result? They will dig their heels in and insist you use bright red without further discussion – or just find another supplier.

Another response may be “Pale blue is best and applies in 90% of cases” and just going ahead with pale blue. Taking control of the project like that shows no respect for your client and may just end your relationship.

Here are some better ways to approach your client:

  • Bright red would certainly attract attention! However, did you know that colour experts consider red to mean…?
  • Is there a particular reason you want it bright red?
  • I will do it in bright red, but first I wanted to make sure you know you have a choice. The alternative is pale blue, which has the advantages of …
  • I have found an example of bright red for you, and a pale blue example as a comparison. I think the pale blue works better because… What do you think of them both?
  • That’s an interesting thought – I would never have considered bright red for this project. To me, bright red doesn’t always work because…
  • Based on my experience, bright red is less effective than pale blue because… Would you like me to try both colours so you can see the difference?

If you handle it politely and with respect, your client will appreciate you speaking up and sharing your expertise – after all, that’s why they are using your services! You may still have to complete the project in bright red, but at least the client has made an informed decision and you have respected your professional opinion.

Have you had a supplier respectfully disagree with you which has led to a better result? Share your story in the comments area below.

Polite emails

Writing thank youWriting an email is so quick and easy that sometimes we forget it is in writing and still reflects on how we are perceived.

For starters, emails should be just as polite as letter or face-to-face contact. Apart from being likely to get a positive response to good manners, it is simply a sign of respect and professionalism.

I recently received an email from someone who runs a network which I don’t participate in. The second paragraph started with “If you are not a fan of using Forums, perhaps now is a good time to change your attitude.”

It didn’t help that there was no greeting to start the email (It opened with “Just a reminder to go to the Forum”)

I found this quite rude and it actually made me less likely to join her forums in case that is how I would be treated there as well. She made no allowance for people being busy, having concerns over online security* or not knowing how to use a forum – she just assumed I have a bad attitude and that I should change it to suit her.

So how do you keep an email polite?

  • start with a greeting, and preferably use the person’s name

  • use words like please and thank you

  • don’t insult people – if you must say something negative, put it in positive or constructive terms

  • be brief so you don’t waste their time

  • use proper sentences so it is easy to understand and you look intelligent and literate

  • treat the reader with respect – if you wouldn’t say it to their face, it isn’t appropriate to write it either

* Her email mentions that non-members can read the posts so I would have concerns about the security of the site.