So 10 years ago we used to live opposite a crack den.
Well, I say a crack den, but it was more like a family business. There were Mum and Dad Drug Dealer, with their Grown Up Son Drug Dealer, and their pitbull dog, Simon (true story).
Every night an assortment of ‘interesting’ folk drove up and down our street trying to find which of these nice terraced houses was the crack den.
And most mornings I’d bump into Mum Drug Dealer (MDD) on my way to work. The conversation would go something like this:
MDD: Morning love!
MDD: Do you need anything to help you party?
Me: That’s very kind of you, but no thanks! I’m just on my way to work.
MDD: Are you sure? I’ve got [insert list of drugs].
Me: Really nice of you to offer, but I should probably get to work.
MDD: Ok darlin’ see you tomorrow!
Me: Ok thanks. Bye now!
I look back now and laugh about how damn British I was about the whole thing. So polite. So formal. So ‘nice’.
And I’m still pretty polite in social situations. It’s in my DNA. But I try NEVER to be too polite with my business or with my writing.
Because when we’re too polite, we often become bland. We don’t say what we really mean. We stay in the middle-of-the-road and risk of being run over by the competition.
Are You Being Too Damn Polite?
Are you trying to please everyone with the way you promote yourself or your business?
Are you terrified of saying anything controversial in case you offend someone (so you say nothing)?
Are you using formal business speak to give yourself an air of respectability?
STOP IT! Because you’re wiping out your personality too.
Your clients and colleagues won’t know what you stand for. Why you’re different from everyone else. And why exactly they should buy from you, promote you or hire you.
So How Do You Avoid The Politeness Trap?
Take a pen and write a list of things that you’d really like to say if you weren’t too darn polite (and too afraid…).
- What do you really think about your industry?
- What’s the bitter pill that your customers need to swallow?
- What are some of the stupid mistakes you see being made time and time again?
Then dare yourself to pin down some points that you can talk about openly. If you’re worried about how they sit with your company’s policies – then be proactive and check (you’ve got this).
Because I promise that you can say more than you think.
You’ll make your colleagues or clients sit up and listen.
And you’ll stand out from the crowd.
You can send me your politest thank-yous when it works.