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Guest blog about The Power of Nice

A week ago, we interviewed Linda Kaplan Thaler and Robin Koval on our radio show. They run the advertising agency, Kaplan Thaler Group. You can learn about the interview and listen to it here.

You probably know of Linda and Robin’s work… the AFLAC duck, the Herbal Essences "Yes! Yes! Yes!" commercials. Or how about the jingle, “I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, I’m a Toys ‘R’ Us Kid”?

Linda and Robin’s latest handywork, is a a great (quick) read about how being nice can actually get you places in the business world.

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Below are concepts Linda and Robin have kindly submitted as guest bloggers in our blog today…

The Six Principles of Nice

Think that nice guys and gals finish last? Think again. Below are the six principles that will help you harness The Power of Nice.

1. Positive impressions are like seeds. Every time you offer another person a compliment, a smile or a helping hand, you plant a seed of that can grow exponentially. For example, if you introduce two business associates to each other because you know the relationship will benefit them both, you’ll gain yourself a truckload of goodwill – all for the time it takes to pick up the phone or send an email. You may not see a direct benefit from your action the next day or even the next year, but the people who instinctively and continually know how to lend others a hand are the ones who get those out-of-the-blue phone calls with amazing new business opportunities. When you plant those positive seeds, you not only keep yourself in the forefront of others’ minds, you make them want to help you grow your business.

2. You never know. Why should you give up your bus seat to the elderly lady? Why should you always send a prompt RSVP to every invitation you receive? Why should you thank the delivery guy and give a warm hello to the cleaning lady? Because you never know who will be playing a major factor in your life. The old lady that you give your bus seat to could turn out to be a landlord who has the keys to your dream apartment. Or she might be the mother of your most important client. The point is, you should treat every person you meet like a VIP – because they might be!

3. People change. We once received millions of dollars worth of business from a woman whom we had only known as an assistant twenty years earlier—the fact that we treated her respectfully back then paid huge dividends later on down the line. So remember: That 22-year-old sitting at the receptionist’s desk might not seem very powerful now, but chances are she won’t be transferring phone calls forever. Fifteen years from now, she could have a powerful position at a company you’d like to work with. How do you want her to remember you?

4. Nice must be automatic. We heard about a consulting firm that was in the running for a huge piece of business. Their work was stellar, but they lost the job minutes after the client stepped off the airplane. Why? The person from the firm didn’t pick up her bag. Now, you might think that you would never commit such a faux pas in front of a VIP. But unless you’re consistent in the way you treat others, you might. The best way to ensure that you will mind your manners when it really counts is to make it a habit so ingrained that you couldn’t possibly be rude to an important client—or anyone else.

5. Negative impressions are like germs. When you’re rude to someone who you think “doesn’t matter”—a doorman, a busboy — you not only harm yourself and the other person—you infect everyone around you. This is particularly true in business. If you’re at a lunch and you send your meal back to the kitchen three times, you won’t impress your colleagues with your refined taste buds. But you could kill the deal.

6. You will know. There’s no doubt about it. We’ve all been in situations where we’ve been a complete model of patience and kindness and still lost the deal, the job, the girl. By the same token, we’ve all had times when we’ve been careless or thoughtless and didn’t suffer any consequences. But there is one judge and jury you can never escape from—yourself. When you’re running a business, you’re constantly selling yourself. In order to do that, you have to believe in the product. The investors you’re pitching may never know that you just stole a cab from an pregnant woman to get to the meeting on time, but you will know. Why burden yourself with even a flicker of self-doubt? The best way to knock them dead is to move forward with the clear-eyed confidence that comes not just from being smart and talented, but also being very, very nice.

Got your own perspective about Nice vs. "tough" when running your own business?

About the Author: Rich Sloan

Rich Sloan is chief startupologist and co-founder of StartupNation and host of StartupNation podcasts. He is also co-author of the acclaimed how-to book, StartupNation: America's Leading Entrepreneurial Experts Reveal the Secrets to Building a Blockbuster Business. Rich encourages you to [...]

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