Nick Emery: "Do mind your Ps and Qs"

Why doesn’t anybody write thank you any more? I know this is grumpy-old-git territory, but people rarely bother to write thank you or acknowledge your efforts in writing.

Face to face, we are still generally polite. But, electronically, we aren’t.

It could be the social ineptitude that the author Douglas Coupland predicted would come as electronic interaction replaced human contact, or it could be a feature of our business being less personal and more transactional.

Either way, it is annoying. I’m not sure why this happens. It could be that: a) people feel that they will be somehow indebted if they acknowledge the work of others; b) you are just too busy to write eight letters; c) "I have heard it before and don’t think it’s worthy of my response"; d) "I didn’t look at it"; e) "I didn’t understand what you sent to me"; f) "I didn’t want to acknowledge what you sent to me as it involves work and/or changing course and/or admitting I was wrong".

You therefore have a choice as to how the world sees you: a) a narcissistic adolescent; b) disorganised; c) happy to alienate everyone because, soon, no-one will send you any ideas; d) incompetent; e) doubly incompetent; f) unprofessional, lazy and a grade-A twit. Take your pick.

In terms of business, people will help you less, like you a lot less and send you a lot fewer ideas.

If you say thank you and are generally well-mannered and polite, people will like you. They will share great things with you and these ideas will make you less stressed, more successful and an even nicer and more polite person, which will in turn beget even more ideas and general niceness.

The two worst things to be in our business are slow and rude (oh, and unpunctual). Fast is key, but not at the cost of behaving well with others.

In a business short on patience but big on self-esteem, we should remember the basic courtesies. In the face of all this, we should not forget that civil behaviour holds civilisation together.

We are obsessed with data and acronyms, so maybe we should invent "TQ" as well as "LOL" so that at least we have something. I am sure there are lots of books written on how manners make a better business but, frankly, it’s obvious: treat everyone as a person and be polite, you idiot.

This article was first published in Campaign