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Two Fundamentals to Improve
Relationships with Others

There is another basic rule in public relations that is often not noticed or given enough importance, but when you apply it correctly you can be successful in dealing with others.

Man worked out that the way to smooth out human relationships was the use of “good manners.” Good manners will not only heal and repair any difficult times between people, they will also really improve relationships.

Even the most primitive cultures, meaning people who live in the most simple ways without any modern machines, still have highly developed ways on how they treat one another.

This was learned from a study of twenty-one different primitive races that show they follow and use their customs (accepted ways of acting), rules or traditions between people, between different tribes and even in their relationships with people from different countries.

Everywhere throughout the world, no matter what country or area that people are from, they strongly disapprove of “bad manners.”

Those with “bad manners” are not accepted.

And so, the most important thing to understand and use in public relations is “good manners.”

So, if you or a team of people using public relations have not become skilled in what is accepted as “good manners” by those you are seeing, you will fail. You or a team might know all the important methods of public relations and yet still fail for the one reason of “having bad manners.”

To have “good manners” there are two things which you must do:

(a) give importance to the other person and

(b) use the two-way communication cycle.

Two-way Communication Cycle

In dealing with people, it is impossible to get your ideas across and get any acceptance without a two-way communication cycle.

A cycle is a period of time with a beginning and an end. In a cycle of communication we have one person starting a communication to a second person who receives the communication. He then understands it and acknowledges it and this brings about the end of the cycle. By acknowledge is meant to say or do something to show another person you have heard and understood his communication. For example, saying “Thank you.”

In a two-way communication cycle, the second person now starts a communication to the first person who receives it, understands it and acknowledges it. In other words, the two-way communication cycle is a normal cycle of a communication between two people. It is not a two-way communication cycle if either person does not, in his turn, start a communication when he should.

Whatever other actions there are when you are meeting with someone, these two things—giving importance to the other person, and using the two-way communication cycle—are involved. Any person who does not apply these points will find himself and his message not accepted.

Being arrogant (acting as if you were better or more important than another) and using force might achieve control over someone or something but this method will never get acceptance and respect for a PR.

The reason the psychiatrist or psychologist could never get general goodwill (kind feelings, approval and support) is because they are personally (a) very arrogant and, (b) they show a strong feeling of dislike and lack of respect toward people. Examples of this are the things that psychiatrists and psychologists say about people, such as “man is an animal,” or that “people are all insane,” etc.

They just don’t have “good manners” because they do not (a) think or give others a feeling of importance and (b) they do not use the communication cycle.

Successful PR

All successful public relations is built upon the basis of good manners as these are the first methods developed to make relationships between people less painful, difficult or unpleasant.

Good manners are much more widely known and respected than the subject of public relations. As a result, your public relations actions will not be successful if you do not use good manners.

For example, if you ignored the security guard at a business and treated him as if he was not important, while you are there to meet with his boss, it would probably turn out very bad for you. Because after all, who do you think talks to the boss? The security guard talks to his boss each day.

Making an appointment and then not keeping it, sending out an invitation too late for it to be accepted, not offering food or a drink to someone coming to see you, not standing up when a guest enters your office or home, treating your employees like they are servants in public, raising your voice in a loud and unpleasant way in public, interrupting what someone else is saying to “do something more important,” not saying thank you or good night—these are all “bad manners.” People who do these or a thousand other rude actions are rejected by those that they come into contact with in life.

And so, since public relations is basically acceptance then bad manners make it fail completely.

To apply the techniques of PR successfully, you have to have good manners.

This is not hard. You have to look at your opinions and feelings that you show toward people and correct anything that might cause difficulties when dealing with others. Are people individually important? Also, you have to have your two-way communication cycle perfect, so perfect it is so natural that it is never noticed.

With those two things worked out, you can now learn more about the person or group that you are working with and what they think “good manners” are, so that you can apply this information when meeting with them.

Now, with public relations used correctly, you can achieve successful PR.

Importance

You have no idea how important people are. In fact, it has been observed to be the opposite of what you might think. In other words, people in less successful positions in life have a self-importance that is much more than someone in a higher position. In other words, a janitor’s idea of his own importance might be far greater than that of the successful company manager where the janitor works!

So ignore people at your own risk of failure.

Trying to get special treatment from someone by complimenting them a lot is not very useful. In fact, it is often suspected by the person you are complimenting because it is not honest and sincere. And your falseness will be obvious to everyone except a fool.

A person’s importance is made obvious to him by showing him respect or just by letting him know that you see him and that he is acceptable to you.

For example, you can easily show someone that they are important by just saying “Good morning” or “Hello” when you first see the person. Normally it makes the person feel good.

Also, knowing their name and something of their life will create importance. For example, when you go to meet with someone and see their receptionist for the second time, greet her by her name and even ask how her son is doing in football practice—something she’s obviously proud of by the photos she has on her desk—and you will notice she is more friendly and helpful. Just by those simple actions, you have given the receptionist importance.

Acting as if you are more important than others is about as acceptable as a dead cat at a wedding—perhaps a silly example, but you get the point. It would make people not want to be around you.

People have value and are important. Big or small they are important.

If you know that, you are well on your way to achieving good manners.

And that means that public relations can happen.

Communication

The two-way communication cycle is more important than what is said.

The content of the communication, the meaning to be put across to another or others, is less important than the fact that a two-way communication cycle is happening.

Communication exists to be replied to or used.

Communication, with the communication cycle present first, must exist before it carries any message.

Messages must travel on a communication line. The line or route along which a communication travels from one person to another must be there. For example, if you walked into a waiting room at a doctor’s office and began talking to no one in particular, you would probably be ignored. People in the area might continue reading their magazines or talking with their friends. You must first create the communication line, meaning, get the attention of someone you want to talk to and only then begin speaking.

Advertising does not always apply the communication cycle. You will see ads such as “Buy the latest ______!” that go right into thin air. You must do something first to create the communication line. And the line must be simple so that it gets an answer, either by a person using it, buying it or just answering back.

A funny example was a salesman who wrote to people and told them to buy a very expensive product without even explaining its use or value. There was absolutely no response—zero. That’s because the salesman did not create any communication line. He was writing to a name from a file or list, but not really to anyone.

When you deal with others, you must cause a communication cycle before any acceptance of what you have to say can happen. Then you might get your message across.

Good manners require a two-way communication cycle. This is even true when writing letters or making phone calls.

From this you know things like “tell the lady thank you and good night as you leave from her dinner party.” That’s a correct acknowledgment in the communication cycle.

You really have to understand the two-way communication cycle to have really good manners.

Without a two-way communication cycle, public relations is a useless activity.

Rituals

Rituals are a series of actions and words performed regularly in the same way, sometimes as part of a religious ceremony or social custom within a group or race. It is important to recognize and know the rituals of any group you might deal with in doing public relations.

If an American Indian’s ritual of having formal meetings was so exact, and if a thousand other primitive races had precise social conduct and ways in which they greeted one another, then it is not too much to ask modern man to have good manners as well.

But “good manners” are less obvious in our times than they once were. This comes about because the mixing of so many races and customs throughout the world have made the ritual traditions disappear that were once well practiced in the smaller groups.

You are experiencing a careless and lazy way that manners are used.

However, this is no excuse to have bad manners yourself.

You can have excellent manners by just practicing and paying attention to the:

a. Importance of people

b. Two-way communication cycle

c. Local rituals that are used as proper conduct

These are the first musts of someone applying the methods and skills of PR. On that foundation you can build an acceptable public relations appearance and influence that makes PR succeed.

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