Success Tweet 73: Be Gracious

Success Tweets: 140 Bits of Common Sense Career Success Advice, All in 140 Characters or Less is my new career success coach book.  I’m proud to say that it has just gone into its second printing.  You can pick up a copy of Success Tweets at your local bookstore or on line at  Better yet, you can download the eBook version for free at

Today’s career advice comes from Success Tweet 73…

Be gracious.  Know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.  Everybody likes to be around polite and mannerly people.

A couple of years ago, I published a book called Straight Talk for Success.  A few months after it came out, 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 myself, 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 career 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 – positive or negative — with us. 

Here’s a personal story about this.  A while back, 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 career advice.

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 are gracious; they 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.  But knowing the rules only makes it easier to concentrate on the conversation instead of worrying about making a social gaffe.  Most people will overlook minor faux pas if you are truly gracious.  But it still is a good idea to brush up on dining etiquette before important business lunches or dinners and interviews.

Sharon Hill is a friend and etiquette consultant.  She once told me a story of a young man who lost a sales job because he didn’t know how to properly eat a foil wrapped baked potato.  Do you know how to eat a foil wrapped baked potato properly?  I’ll send signed copies of Straight Talk for Success and Success Tweets to the first person who responds to this question.

Personally, I think that this is a sad story – for the young man,  and for his potential boss.  Not knowing a minor point of dining etiquette shouldn’t disqualify an otherwise qualified candidate from a job offer.  If that’s the candidate’s only flaw, he can learn that lesson once and be on his way to a successful career.  However, in this case the hiring manager saw it as a deal breaker – and he had the ultimate say so.

When it comes to etiquette there is an old saying…

Those who know, know.  Those who don’t know, don’t know.  Those who know always know those who don’t know.

Think about it.  Take the advice of this career success coach.  Learn and follow the basic rules of etiquette – especially dining etiquette.  You’ll look polished.  You’ll present well.  More important, you won’t have to worry about the rules when you’re in a social situation.  You’ll be able to concentrate on the conversation – which is the important reason for any business meal.

The common sense career success coach point here is simple.  Successful people create positive personal impact.  You can create positive personal impact by becoming known as a gracious person.  Follow the career advice in Tweet 73 in Success Tweets.  “Be gracious.  Know and follow the basic rules of etiquette.  Everybody likes to be around polite and mannerly people.”  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.  If you build your personal brand on gracious and ethical behavior, you will be well on your way to the life and career success you deserve to be.

That’s my take on the career advice in Tweet 73 in Success Tweets and on creating positive personal impact by knowing and following the basic rules of 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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