Professional And Courteous

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The plumber’s promise.

As I was gazing out of the window on the Florida highway heading back to the airport, I spotted a very rundown truck. The exhaust was pushing gunk into the environment that would be heartbreaking to Mother Nature (especially on Valentine’s Day). The driver was smoking a cigarette with the window rolled down and – at quick glance – didn’t look like he had just rolled out of bed after a fresh and cleansing shower. Plastered across the van, in a massive font size, it read: "Professional and Courteous Service." I thought to myself: "maybe… but unlikely."

Isn’t that what we all want?

At the end of the day, we want our plumbers to be professional and courteous. What winds up happening is that we consider it a "win" if they take their boots off before entering our homes (without track dog dung on our floors), if we don’t see too much butt crack, if they don’t pretend like they’re smarter than us just so that they can rip us off and, ultimately, that they don’t use our bathrooms to take a dump. It’s a universal truism and, by the way, we’re not just talking about plumbers. We’re talking about all of us . Nobody likes to be dumped on. We’ve set (or moved) the bar so low in today’s business world, that we’re all amazed when any service or product that we have purchased is shrouded with an abundance of professionalism and courtesy. Why is that? We should not accept clients screaming at us and we should not be irrational if a Kickstarter project gets delayed. In a world of tweets, Facebook updates and tumblr, the short fuse is all but gone and we’re constantly explosive… about everything.

We need more professional and courteous people in the business world.

It’s as simple as that. Things go sideways. Projects don’t always work out. Deadlines are sometimes missed. We often try to push new ideas on people who may not be open to them. Whatever the case is in your world, nothing is perfect. We all strive for excellence and perfection. We often fall shy of it (sometimes it’s our own doing and sometime it is completely out of anyone’s control). But, in a world where nothing is perfect (let’s say seldom perfect?), there is never a reason not to be professional and courteous. It’s the one thing that each and every one of us can not only control, but that we should all be very cognizant of in each and every business interaction with one another. It is something we can be vigilant about.

Back to that plumbing truck.

I have no idea whether that plumbing company lives up to their promise. By my guesstimates, it’s hard to say you’re professional when your transport vehicle looks so unprofessional, but who am I to judge from that brief moment alone? Still that line: "professional and courteous service," gave me pause. It made me think about the many interactions I had in the past few days, where I had been crabby due to a lack of sleep and too many early-morning flights, coupled with a burning desire to be constantly delivering great work with everything we’re doing at Twist Image. In the end, I think I delivered on the promise of being professional and courteous. Going forward I’m not going to have to think about it again, because I’m going to do my best to live it – at each and every moment in time.

Taking a second.

My trick. Your trick. Before any interaction (phone, email, text, in person, Twitter, whatever), take a pause. Don’t hit the publish button, hold your tongue and take a second to say to yourself, "professional and courteous service." Be there, in the moment, to serve, to engender a smile and to get whoever you’re working with to be happy about that interaction. Do your best to get them to the point that they end your moment by saying, "thank you." Imagine, in just one second, you really can change the face of your business.

What’s your secret to always being professional and courteous? Share them below, so that we can all learn… 


  1. Great article! It’s so true that basic good manners seem to have fallen by the wayside these days.
    There’s a great article by Peter Bregman that offered the following tip: Don’t let your reaction determine the outcome, let the outcome determine your reaction.
    Taking that strategic pause to be present and a deep breath to focus on the desired outcome helps a lot, but on some days, it’s definitely easier said than done!

  2. I think you nailed it when you said “pause.” I have to remind myself to do this before I speak or act sometimes. I also try to remember to ask myself: “What will everyone gain from this conversation (or interaction)?”

  3. Kidos Mitch and here’s a motto: “Professionals are not measured by the business they’re in, but by the way they’re in business.”

  4. It’s amazing how common courtesy has fallen to the way side with the rise of social networks. I do think courtesy as an act is a means of differentiation. But it’s just plane old good manners, too.

  5. The key is to always be in the moment. When our mind is elsewhere, thinking of the things that have gone wrong, delays, annoyances, wanting the other person to hurry up or any other of a multitude of woulda coulda shoulda’s, we cannot possibly be professional and courteous.
    Live in the moment. Be in the moment. There’s a saying that goes if you’re depressed, you’re living in the past. Anxious, you’re living in the future. At peace, living in the present. We should always be present, for this moment is the only one there is and then poof!…it’s gone. Cheers! Kaarina

  6. I sincerely think about how I would react to my email or interaction. I many times send the email to myself and upon reading it have made changes due to preceived tone or lack of clarity. Golden rule is a simple device to always call upon in any interaction, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. Simple, easy to remember and a great guide to do business or live by.

  7. I have been told many times that it’s not a bad thing to have a few bad reviews sprinkled into the positive ones Andrew. It makes all the reviews seem more plausible but I think these guys may have taken it to far.

  8. I think that work, which, for me, is my business, is meant to bring joy (both to myself and to others) and to be done in service of others. Remembering that helps me to be professional and courteous and to do the right thing even when it’s hard.

  9. Ohhhh so true. After living through 4 weeks of renovation in my home with countless trades all I can say is the ones that are professional and courteous win my heart. Along with this came several opportunity’s to bash some not so professional trades on Facebook and invite them never to come back into my home.
    At the end of the day I learned a very valuable lesson.
    Before Posting THINK!
    T = is it true
    H = is it helpful
    I = is it inspiring
    N = is it necessary
    K = is it kind
    Thanks for the reminder Mitch!

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