The Power of The Word “Please”

Posted by Todd Smith

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Let’s face it; most of us rely on the help and assistance of others throughout our day—at work, home, and out in the community.  Sometimes we may not even realize how much we’re relying on others to accomplish what we need to get done.  Every great leader will tell you that you can’t rise to the top without the help of others.

Saying please to everyone when asking for anything—regardless of whether or not it’s a person’s job or responsibility to help you—is a principle so important that I’m devoting today’s lesson to helping you tap into the “Power of Please.”

Effects of the “Magic Word”

At the most basic level, when we use the word please, it shows respect and consideration for the effort another person puts forth to help us.  Including please with your request is not only a social norm but, if communicated with a genuine sense of appreciation, it’s a powerful way to establish rapport, build relationships, and develop your own character.

When we say please, people are more willing to fulfill our request or provide the help we need. As the adage goes, “You have to give respect to get respect.” When you are polite and say please, people are more likely to respect you in return.  And, without a doubt, your consistent use of please (with everyone, all the time) is a little thing that will most definitely help you stand out in a crowd of busy people who are mindful only of their own time schedules and to-do lists.

Subconscious or Intentional

Even for those of us who pride ourselves on impeccable manners and almost always say please, it bears noting that how we say it really does matter. When I say ‘subconscious please,’ I’m referring to the requests we put on autopilot. For example:

  • Please move so I can get a fork.
  • Will you please tell me why this couldn’t wait until tomorrow?
  • Please stop that tapping! I can’t think!

Technically, these common messages include the word please, but let’s take a look at how they differ from these similar requests.

  • Would you mind handing me a fork, please?
  • Could we please discuss this tomorrow, John, after I’ve had a chance to catch up?
  • Will you please do me a favor? I’m having a really tough time concentrating right now. A few minutes of quiet would be a great help.

As you read them, I’m sure you noted that the second set of messages is more pleasant and courteous—intentionally so. If you were on the receiving end of these requests, which would you likely be more agreeable to comply with—the subconscious or the intentional?

My challenge to you today is this: never allow yourself to ask someone to do something for you without saying please.  As you become more intentional about saying please, be conscious of how you say it.  Does it sound like you mean it?

The key to every successful relationship is putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own. You can take a step towards stronger relationships every day with one simple, yet powerful word: please.

Jeremy, if it is a problem having the quotes around the word please, go ahead and remove them. I remember you have to do something special with these types of things in the title.

Let’s face it; most of us rely on the help and assistance of others throughout our day—at work, home, and out in the community. Sometimes we may not even realize how much we’re relying on others to accomplish what we need to get done. Every great leader will tell you that you can’t rise to the top without the help of others.

Saying please to everyone when asking for anything—regardless of whether or not it’s a person’s job or responsibility to help you—is a principle so important that I’m devoting today’s lesson to helping you tap into the “Power of Please.”

Effects of the “Magic Word”

At the most basic level, when we use the word please, it shows respect and consideration for the effort another person puts forth to help us. Including please with your request is not only a social norm but, if communicated with a genuine sense of appreciation, it’s a powerful way to establish rapport, build relationships, and develop your own character.

When we say please, people are more willing to fulfill our request or provide the help we need. As the adage goes, “You have to give respect to get respect.” When you are polite and say please, people are more likely to respect you in return. And, without a doubt, your consistent use of please (with everyone, all the time) is a little thing that will most definitely help you stand out in a crowd of busy people who are mindful only of their own time schedules and to-do lists.

Subconscious or Intentional

Even for those of us who pride ourselves on impeccable manners and almost always say please, it bears noting that how we say it really does matter. When I say ‘subconscious please,’ I’m referring to the requests we put on autopilot. For example:

· Please move so I can get a fork.

· Will you please tell me why this couldn’t wait until tomorrow?

· Please stop that tapping! I can’t think!

Technically, these common messages include the word please, but let’s take a look at how they differ from these similar requests.

· Would you mind handing me a fork, please?

· Could we please discuss this tomorrow, John, after I’ve had a chance to catch up?

· Will you please do me a favor? I’m having a really tough time concentrating right now. A few minutes of quiet would be a great help.

As you read them, I’m sure you noted that the second set of messages is more pleasant and courteous—intentionally so. If you were on the receiving end of these requests, which would you likely be more agreeable to comply with—the subconscious or the intentional?

My challenge to you today is this: never allow yourself to ask someone to do something for you without saying please. As you become more intentional about saying please, be conscious of how you say it. Does it sound like you mean it?

The key to every successful relationship is putting the other person’s needs ahead of your own. You can take a step towards stronger relationships every day with one simple, yet powerful word: please.

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About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 29 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s daily lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts. (Todd’s podcasts are listed in America’s top 100 podcasts.)

Related Posts:

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When It’s Time To Learn, Shut Up And Listen

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10 Simple Ways to Show Your Sincere Interest in Others

The Fundamentals of Eye Contact

Handshakes Really Do Matter

The Importance of Being on Time

10 Ways to Make a Positive Impression When Greeting People

The Power of Showing Your Appreciation

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About the Author:

Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 34 years and founder of Little Things Matter. To receive Todd’s lessons, subscribe here. All Todd’s lessons are also available on iTunes as downloadable podcasts.


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