MARCH 11, 2009

Being nice goes a long way
       People often criticize and say I have a sharp tongue, I go too far, Iím too outspoken, blah, blah, blah. But from my experience since going through school (for communications, I might add!) is that a professional business manner goes a long way.
       A couple months ago in this column I mentioned I have bad luck when it comes to dealing with companies. I had trouble getting my house alarmed because of internal communication problems at the company; the window company ordered the wrong windows, etc.
       While it is incredibly frustrating because nothing seems to go right, I have come to see the lighter side of it and laugh along with friends when I tell stories of these comedies of errors.
       I just got back from a few days in Edmonton and, naturally, there was a mix-up with my hotel reservation. The charges were wrong and it was something people might get worked up about, considering a long time was spent on the phone making the initial reservation.
       Having gone through enough similar problems, I knew keeping a level head would work to my advantage. If you come out swinging, they wonít help you. They might offer something to get rid of you, but it doesnít usually work in your favour.
       I explained the situation to the front desk manager. She helped and even offered me a better deal because we started working together on rectifying the problem, rather than me just dumping it on her and telling her to fix it. Being patient and understanding, even making a few jokes along the way, showed the manager, while I was inconvenienced, I was still being reasonable.
       From my days as a retail manager, I know that that role often has powers only used when customers are pleasant. Be a jerk to me, Iím certainly not going to go the extra mile to help you, is what I thought.
       So, next time the restaurant screws up your order, your package arrives late, or you get the wrong-sized pants even though that stupid salesperson assured you it was right Ė chill out and talk it out and youíll find things work out easier than you might have expected.
       Wow, when do I start my motivational speaking tour?
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