5 Ways Good Manners Make You Wealthier


Manners maketh the man. They're one of those things in life that cost you nothing, but can bring you great benefits — like respect. Or a smile from a stranger. And, in some cases, money. Here's how manners can lead you to a wealthier life. (See also: 12 Lessons in Manners From Around the World)

1. They Can Get You Hired

Good manners can help you score a great job. Politeness is a sign of professionalism, which is something every employer wants from their workers. Of course, manners won't compensate for a lack of job qualifications or a negative personal reference. But they can give you that boost you may need to clinch the gig. Likewise, a lack of manners can oust you from the running.

According to Tom Keene, editor-at-large at Bloomberg Television and Radio, illiteracy in the table manners department can quickly make a job interview go south. "Memo to all seeking gainful employment: Nothing kills the wine-and-dine interview like not knowing where the knife goes after you cut into the expense account New York strip steak," writes Keene, who has interviewed his fair share of job candidates. "I have personally seen too many qualified and unfortunate people that will never get ahead because, for whatever reason, they never learned the basics of fork, fork, knife, spoon, spoon."

2. They Can Help You Move Up the Ladder

If you're after a raise or promotion, don't discount manners as a means of getting you there. All told, 85% of respondents in a recent survey from the staffing firm Accountemps said being courteous to co-workers has an impact on a person's career prospects. On the flipside, just 14% of participants said that having poor manners at work has no influence on an employee's career success. The study is based on surveys completed by more than 450 employees ages 18 years and older who worked in office culture in the U.S.

"Time constraints and external pressures aren't excuses for bad behavior," says Max Messmer, chairman of Accountemps. "While it takes more than just good manners to rise through the ranks, displaying professional courtesy will only help your career." Among the biggest work etiquette offenses: Using a speakerphone or talking loudly on the phone, loitering or talking around a colleague's desk, eating foods that have strong odors, keeping a messy or cluttered workspace, and leaving the phone ringer on loud.

3. They Can Help You Succeed at Networking

When you receive a person's business card at an industry mixer, do you take the time to send them a polite email the next day noting that it was great to meet them? Do you take the time to learn the names of the people at the mixer so that you can properly greet them should you encounter them again in the future?

These sorts of manners are a step beyond "please" and "thank you." They take time, consideration, a good memory, and a little forward thinking. But folks who practice these next-level manners, otherwise known as polished social skills, will get ahead in their careers more times than not. That's because they know how to bridge frivolous meet-and-greets into meaningful connections. After all, you never know who might be in a position to help your career in the future.

4. They Can Increase Your Sales

If you work in sales, you likely already know that being kind, polite, and understanding with your customers increases the chances that you will earn their future business — regardless of what it is that you're selling. If you own a business or work on commission, practicing politeness with customers quite literally translates to more money in your pocket. At the very least, good manners will keep you from being labeled by your customers and co-workers as boorish.

5. They Can Solidify Friendships That Bring You Success

Friends are scientifically proven to make you more successful. Specifically, developing and maintaining friendships with positive, like-minded people. It's these folks who share your drive and goals who can best help you narrow in on your dreams. Now, here's where manners come in: Research shows that saying "thank you" helps people to build and sustain friendships. Truly, minding your manners can make a big difference in the quality of the friends you keep, and your overall success.

What other manners make you wealthier? Let us know in the comments!

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