Respect and etiquette

The last few weeks have got me thinking a lot about etiquette, especially in business. I’ve read some astounding posts on Linkedin commenting on the current business culture where respect has been devoid, resulting in a despondent professional. 

So some of the observations and learning have made me think a lot about Non-Verbal Communication and Neuro-Linguistic Programming, something I was privileged to be introduced to about 7-10 years ago. The art of control often is around the “how” the engagement starts. Even in print, which is a highly kinaesthetic medium, this is still critical. The initial conversation starter or introduction to any dialogue the intangibles are so critical, the smallest nuances can have so much inflexion on how things move forward.

As a small business, our primary focus is on service, which through the right engagement, we can aim to succeed in achieving your objectives. Whether verbal or electronic brief or request, this can have a significant effect on how this moves forward. 

Bit of a case study. A walk-in of the street customer, in the last week, instantly tried haggling and telling me about you can do a better price than XYZ Printer, at this point, he well and truly switched me off from the transaction, as he was in the wrong place. When he then added can you do a different item and didn’t haggle / or discuss the price, he won me back into the transaction. Needless to say, a lesson I’ve been trying to apply is to have control over what I do, doing the wrong job, for no margin ultimately does impact me in many ways, and also affects the performance of the business.

There is much to be said about the three interconnecting circles of price, speed and quality, or even substitute whatever label you like for any of the circles, you cannot have all three, it never happens. 

Time for another case study. A local craftsperson/reseller came to us asking after can we do… which the answer was yes. Clearly, at the time the lady concerned was having an interesting time trying to juggle a lot of new products and deliver them on a timescale to meet the seasonal timeframe of pre-Christmas sales. As the relationship grew and the respect for each other built, the questions were asked, can you do this, and solutions were offered, whilst it wasn’t the most comfortable solution for the customer, as they hadn’t budgeted for it, it soon won them over with the result. This time it was for product labels, after the initial batch, we soon found a subsequent order being made, along with some others of a different specification as well. We are looking forward to doing more work with this small business, and wish them every success, as clearly their ethics include respect and they reap the rewards it brings.

Whilst pondering this blog, I thought a lot about different communication engagements, one which has always made me think is the Japanese business culture (this article covers some of the key points:, which touches on many of the points raised above, especially around respect. But equally we have a very different culture here in the UK, we form connections on many different levels, mirrored behaviour is one, which picks up a lot on NVC and NLP attributes. I do get a buzz of this, especially when I realise that both parties in a business conversation are tuned in, inadvertently mirroring behaviours and talking in a language which engages each other.

The next time you are planning on engaging with someone for the first time, remember you are the key to the initial success of any business transaction.

Stuart is HAD-Print's Operations lead, he has a varied background in Print, Graphic Design, Photography and Customer Engagement (along with the odd bit of Marketing). Often taking the approach of scratch my back and I'll scratch yours, giving plenty of support to people.

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