Composite image of businessman shouting at colleague with his bullhorn on white backgroundSometimes I run across people who seem to view the phrases please and thank you as empty social forms that are not really necessary in our modern world, and actually deem them as bordering on being a useless affectation.

I respectfully and firmly beg to differ!

When used with the proper intention and tone, please and thank you provide the grease that enables the wheels of personal, social and business interactions to move smoothly in the right direction.

Think about it. Do you really like it when someone orders you around? Aren’t you much more likely to respond favorably to a request rather than to an order?

The word please indicates a request. Failing to use it, or some other words that make it clear that you are making a request, is much more likely to elicit a no in response to what other people will probably interpret as an order.

To get more yeses, consider adding more pleases to your language when you would like someone else to do something you want them to do.

Thank you is an equally powerful phrase to use, especially if you want people to keep doing things for you that you would like them to do.

Everyone appreciates being acknowledged for any service or favor rendered. Failure to express that appreciation can almost guarantee the likelihood of future requests not being granted, or being granted grudgingly at best.

This phenomenon reminds me of one of my mottoes from my work as a professional volunteer, which often requires finding other people to help out with whatever tasks are at hand, for no reward beyond knowing that they are doing a good deed.

The first time you forget to thank someone may be the last time you see her.

Always remember: Good manners are good business. And they certainly can help to enhance one’s personal relationships as well.