Someone who can do you no good

Dec 13, 2016
It’s Christmas time. Great for kids. But I remember that the joy of Christmas as a child was always tempered by, what I saw as the chore, of writing thank you letters to all the uncles and aunties.

Don’t get me wrong.  I was very grateful for the gifts, most of them anyway, and the relatives were very kind to include me in their thoughts, but I hated writing those blasted letters.  But write them I did: Mum made sure of that.

But have you noticed that there seems to be many people who never learned the lesson? The Words Workshop publishes a trade magazine for the international moving industry.  It’s cleverly entitled: The Mover.  Brilliant! 

Thank youUnlike some magazines we don’t charge for editorial insertions. If we think the story is good, it’s in.  If it’s not, it won’t grace our pages at any price.  So you might think that people would be happy to have positive stories about their companies included.  I’m sure they are. But how often do we get an e-mail saying thank you?  Almost never.

We take a lot of photos too.  Some we use, some we don’t. But if we have a great photo of someone we always send them a copy – no charge.  Does anyone say thanks?  Very rarely. 

The thing is, Mum was right.  We remember those who can’t be bothered even to e-mail a single word.  Especially when we know that those same people would be incandescent if we wrote something negative (which we sometimes do).  They often ask for another favour sometime later but, sadly, we are rarely able to oblige.  They may never know why.

I once saw someone being very rude to a young lady at a conference.  She’d made a mistake, but there was no need to chastise her so.  That man might never know why his press releases have remained unpublished in our magazine ever since.  We know - actually, so does she - but he carries on, ignorant that his bad manners are doing his business harm.

The opposite is also true.  Just a brief word of thanks, a small kindness, can create a warm impression and unknowable benefits. Courtesy is free.  “The true measure of a man is how he treats someone who can do him absolutely no good,” said Samuel Johnson.  Isn’t that the truth!

Steve JordanSteve Jordan, Managing Director, The Words Workshop
Managing Director