Manners maketh the man (and the woman)

Posted April 07, 2011

Manners maketh the man (and the woman)

The key to success? Be polite and charming to each person you meet, regardless of their background. Make everyone around you feel important and appreciated. This is the advice that was given to Simon Cowell by his father. And he has a point.

We do think warmly of people who appear to give us their undivided attention. George Clooney has this skill. Every woman who has interviewed him has fallen for his charm. He makes them feel good and they, in turn, have only good things to say about him.

But sometimes life clashes with your ideals. I tried SW’s strategy at a pizza restaurant last week. I hadn't booked but the restaurant wasn't exactly packed. So I was surprised when I was led to a table so close to the door that it was practically on the street. It wasn’t a lovely sunny day like today. In fact, it was somewhat chilly that night so every time the door opened I was hit by a blast of cold air.

“I’m not really happy here,” I politely said. “Is there anywhere else I could sit?” They’ve tried to fob me off with this table before (by far the worst in the restaurant) and usually when I plead my case they quickly find me another. Not this time.

“No. You must sit here,” was the abrupt reply.

“Mmmm. I’ll need to think about that,” I said (very calmly, no sarcasm).

What did you say?” asked the waitress. Clearly she wasn’t used to dissent.

“I need to decide if I want to stay,” I explained in my most courteous tone.

And what do you know? She gave me a scowl and walked off. Needless to say, I didn’t stay. Nor am I thinking of going back any time soon. I clearly failed to charm her and she certainly didn’t charm me. More practice required!

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