Cleveland Business Connects

For immediate release (October 6, 2017) Media Contact: Judy Abelman Email: Phone: 440.725.8861...

Rebirth of civility

By Colleen Harding

In the 1960s and ’70s it became popular to break the rules. It seemed that people were trying to be noticed by being rebellious. It was mainly the younger generations that were introducing a “shock factor” to society. They were very vocal about that fact that they were going to be different by destroying the social rules that were put in place to maintain some semblance of order.

Yes, society was shocked. The music changed drastically, the clothing was sometimes nonexistent, and respect for protocol went out the door. The Sexual Revolution was born, along with several other movements. Some great movements were born as a result of this time period, but they were introduced to society using the shock factor.

Fifty years later we have progressed into a society that disregards rules of common courtesy too often, in my opinion. The focus seems to be on looking out for No. 1 and taking care of No. 1 and letting everyone else fend for themselves. Meanwhile, society continues to get louder and ruder and more self absorbed and is completely abandoning the general rules of civility and kindness. Somehow we have become a society that rarely holds its tongue and believes everyone is entitled to their opinions, whether they are solicited or not. We have resorted to speaking nonstop, not listening to others, and, many times, speaking above a polite volume. When was the last time someone yelled at you and you changed your mind about how you felt? Seriously!

An effective leader can express his or her message with out yelling or offending. An effective speaker is strong but open and kind in his or her delivery. An effective leader is a great listener. The notion that a person would express his or her opinion without thinking of the recipient is ludicrous.

Recently, I had a conversation with a group of young people, and I told them how common it has become to be rude these days. Our society seems to have become hardened and accepting of piercing opinions. Bad behavior has become the norm instead of the exception. If you want to get my attention, BE POLITE, BE RESPECTFUL, and BE KIND!

We have an epidemic of rude behavior taking place, and more and more people are jumping on the bandwagon. If you want to be noticed, return to civility and see how it is received. Pay attention to how others respond when you are careful and gentle with your words. I can assure you, you will be remembered and rewarded.

Colleen Harding is a protocol coach and the founder of the Cleveland School of Etiquette and Corporate Protocol. She can be reached at (216) 970-5889 and

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