I’m a dad. More than anything else, that’s my full time gig. And as a father, I do my best to try to instill good manners in both of my children. My wife and I don’t deliver without a please and we don’t walk away without a thank you. I think that in many ways, manners are something that is missing these days.
But I’m here to tell you that as professionals, especially creative professionals, you need to stop saying please and apologizing so damn much.
I’ll admit, I stole some of this from one of my favourite podcasts, Changing The Narrative. Full disclosure, I just started listening to this podcast yesterday but aside from the podcasts that I make and that of my dear friend John Dulong, I can’t recommend any podcast more than these guys. In fact, I’d go as far as to say, listen to theirs even over mine.
In any case, they talk a lot about being creative professionals and one of the things that we regularly do in this regard is say things like “please” and “I’m sorry.”
Look, if you fuck up. Say you’re sorry.
And if you want something from someone, that they didn’t request or necessarily offer, say please.
Other than that, get those words out your mouth.
They do nothing but make you feel inadequate.
They make you feel like you’re SO lucky that people would consider working for you or buying your stuff or using your services.
If you’re pitch is please, give up now.
Manners are important. I say sir. I say ma’am. I thank every service person I meet, all day long. I look at nametags and when I walk out of a store or a restaurant, I want people to think, “I’m glad that dude was there.” I’ve written posts about exceptional service (even when it’s something as simple as NOT bringing me a straw) and I think we owe people that SERVE us a LOT.
But don’t say sorry because you charge people a reasonable rate to do your thing. That’s YOUR thing. You know YOUR thing and they know THEIR thing.
I don’t take a shirt from Mark’s Work Wearhouse and walk up to the cash and say, “This seems like it’s not worth this much. How about…”
You buy that shirt. Or you DON’T and you walk away.
Don’t apologize for being awesome.
Here’s another example.
I can do my job better and faster now than I could a year ago, or two years ago.
So if I charge hourly, then I’m doing the same thing, for less money, better.
I don’t charge by the hour. I charge by the project.
I don’t charge for my time (directly). I charge for my experience. My knowledge. My passion.
And I don’t apologize.