Be Gracious: Create Positive Personal Impact

The ability to create positive personal impact is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to create positive personal impact, you need to do three things.  1) Create, develop and nurture your personal brand.  2) Dress for success.  3) Know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.

On Sunday, I received an e mail from a young guy named Jim whose boss had given him a copy of Straight Talk.  In part, here’s what it said…

I read your book Straight Talk for Success, excellent, you are indeed the common sense guy!  I have learned a ton from reading that book from how to brand yourself, to dinner etiquette (glass on the right, bread dish on the left, outside in with utensils).  Truly found your book easy to read and loved it…
I am 27 and feel like a sponge for all this information. 
Just wanted to thank you for your words of wisdom and for writing about some of the unwritten rules in business.

That was great.  I always like to receive positive feedback on what I write.  However, I was gratified that by sending me an email, Jim was putting to work some of my advice on creating positive personal impact.  He showed me that he is a guy who understands the basics of etiquette.

Have you ever sent an e mail to an author thanking him for what he’s written?  Did you get a response?  Please leave a comment sharing your experience with us. 

Here’s a personal story about this.  Last week, I was in the New York City area.  When I’m there I listen to Q 104.3 the classic rock station.  Maria Milito was on as I was driving to the airport.  She played a great set.  When I got the airport, I logged on to the Q104.3 site and sent her an e mail telling her I enjoyed her show.  I got a response from her in less than a half hour.  Everybody likes positive feedback – trust me on this one.

Back to Jim’s e mail to me — sending a thank you note to someone who has done something for you is common sense and proper etiquette.  Sending a note to a stranger whose book you read and enjoyed is even better.  By doing so, Jim branded himself (in my mind at least) as an interpersonally competent guy, and someone who is business savvy.

In reality there is no difference between business etiquette and social etiquette.  Well mannered people always focus on making other people feel comfortable and appreciated – whether in a business or social setting.

As Jim points out when he mentioned business dining etiquette, there are some rules to follow.  Knowing these rules makes it easier to concentrate on the conversation instead of worrying about making a social gaffe.  However, most people will overlook minor faux pas if you are truly gracious.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people create positive personal impact.  You can create positive personal impact by becoming known as a gracious person.  Small things, like saying “please” and “thank you,” smiling at others, taking a second to hold a door for someone who has an arm full of packages, allowing someone to cut in front of you in traffic, are the marks  of gracious people.  A strong personal brand also helps create positive impact.  If you build your personal brand on gracious and ethical behavior, you will be well on your way to success in your life and career.

That’s my take on creating positive personal impact, personal branding and etiquette.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your ideas with all of us.  As always, thanks for reading – and writing.


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  1. Dear Bud
    Thanks for your writing on positive personal impact. I have been in situations where i got positive feedback for my work and i have replied to them immediately. Also i have received replies for my feedback.
    At the end you have mentioned about gracious people who use small things such as smile as their positive personal impact.Do you think people always acknowledge others who smile at them? I have mixed experiences. Smiling at coworkers in the morning has made some days very positive, where as other days people tend bend their head or turn away on sight of me. Should i see this as a problem of theirs or mine? Looking forward to hear fromyou

  2. Raj:
    Thanks for your comment.
    I think that smiling at others is always appropriate. If they choose to not smile back, that is their problem, not yours.
    On the other hand, don’t assume that everyone who doesn’t return your smile is not a nice person. Sometimes people are preoccupied. Sometimes they are just having a bad day.
    My best advice — keep smiling. You’ll get a reputation as a nice person — and you’ll be creating positive personal impact.
    All the best,

  3. jim dowling says:

    i am almost finished the third chapter of your book straight talk for success.every time i am reading it i want to start a mannequin repair business becauce i worked in that job for 5 years before i went on disability for scizo-affective disorder in 1986.i cannot take much stress,i get paranoid.i want to work 4 hours a day.i don’t have any start up money and i don’t know where the business will be.any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.i don’t have any money to pay you as a consultant.

  4. Jim:
    I am sorry to hear about you diagnosis. However, if you can only work four hours a day and cannot deal well with stress, you probably should not start a business. It takes a lot of time and the stress involved is great.
    I suggest that you look for some part ime work — perhaps in a mannequin repair shop.
    Good luck as you go forward.
    Bud Bilanich

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