Creating an Etiquette-ful
A reader posed a compelling question recently: “How do you want others to perceive you? What is the image you want to be known for?” Or, to borrow from a marketing term, what is your personal brand?
Typically, your personal brand is your public persona used to influence your status in society, to market your expertise in a particular industry, or to elevate credibility as a public figure.
But what about your personal etiquette brand? Would you be known as someone who promotes excellence? A person who wants to be helpful and kind? Generous and considerate? If you chose a personal brand with which to present yourself to other people and society in general, what would that be?
Any etiquette-ful action involves considering "what it’s like to be on the other side of me." Something I’m working on is self-awareness, as I believe that’s part of what the famous poet Robert Burns meant when he wrote, “Oh would the gods the gift they give us, to see ourselves as others see us.”
Self-awareness means being willing to take personal assessment on how clearly we see what others see in us. It also means that we become committed to being honest with ourselves, aware of our gifts and our flaws.
Seeking the truth about how others see us in everyday existence requires an open mind and open heart. You can’t see the truth if you aren’t willing to accept it. However, we are all human and we all have the capacity to come up short in consistent etiquette-fulness because we must interact with other humans. It’s important to remember that other people are mirrors who reflect what we present.
To consider your etiquette-ful personal brand, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do your actions show others that you are sincere?
- Are you listening to people in conversation and comprehending their messages, or are you listening to respond?
- Are your interactions with others pleasant? How can you make everyday interactions meaningful and enjoyable?
- If you were someone else interacting with you, what impression would you have?
Presenting Your Personal Brand
The adage “Actions speak louder than words,” is telling. What actions would set the example of living your personal brand?
My guess is that the following actions would be most prominent when interacting with people:
- Listening more than speaking.
- Asking others what they think and feel about a subject or situation.
- Asking for input.
- Showing more than telling.
- Suggesting that someone else to go first.
- Inquiring about someone’s well-being or health.
- Inviting others to meet on a call, suggesting a virtual teleconference meeting.
- Giving credit for good work.
When interactions become tense, or disagreement arises, you can implement “the pause.” This is several seconds of silence that allows you to tap into awareness of your words and actions so you can respond rather than react. The pause is essential to finding what is most respectful and courteous in an immediate situation.
The benefits of using the pause are:
- It gives you time to let emotions stay put.
- Its canopy offers a sense of personal control.
- It is a part of gaining inner calm that can inspire you.
- It reminds you that no one is perfect and that others deserve the benefit of a doubt.
- It provides the opportunity to be remembered for thoughtful, fair responses.
Choosing how we want to be perceived is an act of positivity. Creating a personal brand around that desired perception cements your commitment to being that person. It is a courageous act, as you will discover many things you may want to change, and your path forward might take you to new levels of being in the world.