The art of being gracious should never be lost or forgotten
True graciousness demands that you have time for others. So listen, be attentive to what people say and respond without interruption.
Graciousness looks easy, but of course it is not. Do not mistake mere manners for graciousness. Manners are rules. But graciousness reflects a state of being. When wandering the world, forget your business cards. Don't look for more contacts. Instead, observe. Say hello to the people you see every day. Stay interested in others. Be generous in your attentions but not showy. You don't have to wink, snap your fingers, high-five, or shout. On the street, in the lobby, square your shoulders to people you meet. Make a handshake matter, good eye contact and a good grip, Smile. And if you can't smile, you can't be gracious.
Remember, true graciousness demands that you have time for others. So listen. Be attentive to what people say. Respond, without interruption. You always have time. You own the time in which you live. You grant it to others without obligation. That is the gift of being gracious. The return is the reputation you will quickly earn, the curiosity of others, the sense that people want to be in the room with you. You can be confident that your reputation precedes you in everything you do and lingers long after you are finished.
The art of being gracious should never be lost or forgotten. It is all about how you make the people around you feel. Imagine going to a party or family gathering and finding yourself ignored or made to feel unwelcomed. Whether it was intentional or not, when you find yourself in the company of people who are not gracious, it leaves a bad taste in your mouth. You may even find yourself not wanting to be in that person's company again. That is how profound an impact an ungracious host can have on you. The flip-side is when you are ungracious toward others. They, in turn, may have second thoughts about inviting you or wanting to be in your company again. So, what are the characteristics of a gracious person?
A gracious person is slow to take credit and quick to lavish praise. So first stop blowing your own trumpet. Let others do it for you, if you truly deserve it.
A gracious person never seeks to embarrass another. In fact, quite conversely, a gracious person will quickly cover up for the embarrassment, whoever and howsoever it was caused in the first place.
A gracious person is always thanking others. Gratitude should be an all-time mantra. You can't have enough of this good stuff, it's simply amazing and what follows from it, even more so. A gracious person doesn't monopolise the conversation. It's a conversation remember, not a speech. Have your say and leave the platform for the others to have theirs. Stop trying to hog the limelight all the time. When someone is telling their story, don't but in with "even I".
A gracious person doesn't try to play "one up-manship". One of the most annoying features of ungracious people is this one for sure. "Oh I do this way, this is so much better". You walk 5km I walk 7km every day. You got 80 per cent, I got 90 per cent. If you are better than me, that's great, good for you.
A gracious person pays attention to people. The world isn't about you. How you feel, how you look, what you eat, what you wear, your likes and dislikes. Look beyond yourself.
A gracious person desires to say what is appropriate. We may have the best intent, but it's the words that we say that matter.
A gracious person looks out for the comfort of others. A gracious person is naturally caring and is always seeking to make others comfortable, mentally and physically. You don't have to announce, "see, I did for you". Your acts of care reveal a lot about you, no announcements are required.
A gracious person understands that he is not indispensable. The world existed before we were born and will continue to do so, after we are gone. Stop thinking you are so important. Every time you say, if it wasn't for me, this wouldn't have happened. First of all, we don't know what is going to happen in the next second, so maybe this deed or act, you are talking about, would or would not have happened. Or maybe something better could have happened without your intervention.
A gracious person constantly points out the good that he sees. A gracious person is always appreciative, a craving every person has - to be appreciated.
The act of being gracious is about making choices. And along with the choices we make, there are consequences. You can choose to be a gracious and leave people looking forward to being with you again, or you can choose not to be gracious and build a wall that keeps you from enjoying the company of others. The good news is that it is never too late to be gracious.
The writer is founder of LegalConnect. Views expressed are her own and do not reflect the newspaper's policy.