Courtesy 'essential for positive business relations'

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Positive interactions deliver far-reaching business benefits

Businesses must be aware of the benefits of focusing on soft skills in their employment practices, ensuring they help their teams to develop positive relationships with clients and suppliers.

This is the view of David Cliff, managing director of business consultancy Gedanken, who told smallbusiness.co.uk that courtesy and the need to present an approachable and welcome demeanour in all client relations is essential to business success.

A courteous approach to dealing with people is one of the best ways for businesses to ensure they are respected within their industry, while it can also help to ensure that any issues faced in client and supplier relations are more straightforward to resolve.

One of the fundamental principles that should underlie all business culture, being considerate of one another's differences and treating everyone with understanding and respect will go a long way to making business interactions more positive all round.

Mr Cliff argued: "Courtesy is about understanding not just good manners and a reasonable level of etiquette towards people, it is a genuine human understanding that recognises and consistently values throughout all processes, irrespective of whether the customer converts to a sale, becomes a client, or whatever else."

By focusing on helping to develop an ethos of consideration within a business, employers can ensure they are helping to foster positive relationships not just outside of a business, but within it as well.

Creating an atmosphere where members of staff are comfortable talking about any issues they may face on a daily basis or within their professional realm is important to the development of key soft skills like common courtesy. This sense of camaraderie and positivity will then, in turn, translate into better relations with other businesses and their staff as well.

Overall, Mr Cliff concluded that common courtesy should not be viewed as something that should be tagged on to worker training, but it is an attribute that should be placed right at the core of staff attitudes.

"It is experienced subliminally by individuals as imbuing confidence and implying success and, yes, adds to a qualitative experience of the transaction that is imbued with greater meaning," he added.

In other words, businesses benefit when their staff act in a respectful and courteous manner, not simply amongst themselves, but with everyone they interact with during their professional duties.