“The Magic Move”

“I regard apologizing as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make” -Marshall Goldsmith

Never underestimate the power of words. The energy created from the spoken word has an immense impact on the receiver and yourself. The energy flows in a circular spectrum, affecting thoughts, moods and eventually the well-being of a person. Cathy Truett realized this and applied it directly to his customer service of “Chick-Fil-A”.He insisted on referring to the customer on first name basis when the order was ready then always responding with “my pleasure”  after the slightest expression of gratitude and more often or not magnifying it.

After reading a book by Cathy I just had to experience the customer service for myself and it was strange how I anticipated the response from the staff. I knew it was all etiquette but it genuinely evoked a sense of warmth and respect. The power is even more evident in the apology.

Some people have a misconception of  the “apology” to be seen as a sign of weakness. There is definitely more to gain than without it. “I’m sorry. I’ll try to do better.” When it comes to apologizing it is best to “get in and get out as quickly as possible”

If it isn’t obvious by now, I regard apologizing as the most magical, healing, restorative gesture human beings can make. It is the centerpiece of my work with executives who want to get better- because without the apology there is no recognition that mistakes have been made, there no announcement to the world of the intention to change, and most important there is no emotional contract between you the people you care about. Saying you’re sorry to someone writes that contract in blood.  ‘What Got You Here Won’t Get You There’ -Marshall Goldsmith

I offended someone onetime out of anger and it was apparent the other party didn’t receive my words well at all. “My roommate, Simon Marange from the ‘shonna people of Zimbabwe’.” He pulled me aside and said. “You need to apologize, you can’t go around in life with people thinking bad of you, if then he doesn’t want to accept your apology it is his business, your soul would be clear.” With his accent and serious expression the situation was dramatized and I felt compelled to apologize.

I took his advice and strangely a weight was lifted of my chest and my mind was clear to move on.  I had a vague understanding of the concept but it was then reinforced after I stumbled on some books explaining the power of autosuggestion. Recently I’ve grown a bit more sensitive to “negative talk” –embrace the power of the spoken word.

Thanking is also a crucial feature of etiquette and being mannerly. Get used to it, the power of words is tremendous. “Good morning!” “How are you?” “Thank you!” “Great to see you!” Some people may interpret it to be ‘fake’ or sarcastic but when expressed genuinely these simple words can really turn a “frown upside down” and send invitation to socialize.

It’s Bajan culture to respect elders and to say “Good morning” was almost automatic every time I passed an older professor. After a few “good mornings” the elderly gentleman sat down next to me as I was digesting a book alone at breakfast in the cafe. I looked up, realized it was him and I immediately started the conversation with a warm “Good morning!” Then our conversation erupted into topics on cultural differences, racial issues, the value of a degree and some advice. After about 40 minutes, he introduced himself for the first time and expressed interest in the contents of this blog. Later I discovered he was the Dean’s husband. “Good morning” was the two words that opened the doors for this networking opportunity.

A man’s manners are a mirror in which he shows his portrait.
-Johann Wolfgang von Goethe 

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