Manners from the heart

Politeness all year long

by Shannon Smith

There are those who save heartfelt greetings and gracious manners for just one or two days of the year. Some assume a kind of superficial veneer for special occasions, such as Valentine’s Day. Artificial politeness is simply an attempt to make others believe we are something we are not, for just one day.

Isn’t it refreshing when someone with manners crosses our path, especially now that crassness has practically become the norm? When true politeness is genuinely part of a person’s character, the outer trappings reveal the internal reality. Manners do not necessarily come naturally. It’s the response of the heart, of kindness, sincerity, and truthfulness, for which no amount of surface polish can be substituted. Part of a beautiful character is a heart filled with such honest intentions. We respond positively when an individual is attentive, kind, considerate, and respectful toward us. The old saying, “You get what you give,” rings true. Good manners are developed through practice and a spirit of generosity. When we realize that manners are the outward expression of inward virtues, rather like the hands of a watch indicating that the machinery within is perfect and true, we’ll then understand the power of applying the simple Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do unto you.

Sometimes we meet and must do business with those who are devoid of these noble qualities. On the other hand, isn’t it refreshing when we meet an individual whose personality is like the warm rays of the summer sun?

History is dotted with examples of individuals who possessed the power of an indefinable charm of style. Among the qualities which contribute to worldly success, true politeness ranks among the first. It is our attitude towards our fellow human beings, perhaps more than any other quality, that promotes or obstructs success in life and impacts business advancements. We value, court and seek the friendship of individuals with genuine character, while shunning those who are crude, rude and cold. Isn’t someone with manners more appealing on every level, including the professional? Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: “Manners make the fortune of the ambitious man.”

More than one of the golden keys to the door of success, good manners represent the crowning jewel of a noble character. One great motivating power of our conduct is the heart. Manners shouldn’t be like a rich, colorful cloak put on for a few days of the year but a constant companion fully integrated into one’s personality. Shannon Smith is Canada’s leading image strategist and president of Toronto based Premiere Image International. She presents customized training programs to companies and individuals in personal branding across North America. Her book “Power Manners” is now available.


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Good Manners are an essential element in everyone's personal portfolio!

Far from a collection of rules and regulations, this is a very practical easy-to-read guide with answers to many of business and social questions.


It explores contemporary manners and universally accepted rules of behavior, helping you through business and social situations throughout the world.


Find out how to make the best entrance, how to handle the business lunch, about small talk and introductions, and what fork to use and when.


Find out how well-mannered you are when you check out our chapter quizzes.

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