Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness

Positive impressions are like seeds, and negative ones are like germs
- Thaler and Koval in The Power of Nice

Over the summer, my PR professor recommend us to read "The Power of Nice - How to Conquer the Business World with Kindness." It is short, concise, and worth the 20 minutes of your very busy life. Many people choose who to be nice to, or even when they "need" to be nice, but what they don't realize is that the effect of kindness rarely comes directly and almost never takes effect right away. Being kind to people can get you far, very far.

Here are some points I want to share from the book along with my personal experiences:

You never know
- The security officers at the bottom of your building could be the owner of your favorite restaurant taking a side job for fun.

- The nerd you make fun of at school can be (usually very likely to be) your future boss.

- The old man having trouble with bags of groceries you pretend not to see could be your next HR recruiter.

I'm not to say that every person you meet is going to be the next Mark Zuckerberg. Think about the world as one big high school classroom. When you make a negative impression, what happens? The story evolves and spreads like a wild forest fire. When you do something nice, you may not be commended right away, but the memory sticks and somehow comes back to support you when you most need it.

Last summer I was working on my photography portfolio and had some time to do volunteer work. To cut a long story short, I had a chance to help the Samaritans Boston take pictures for its 5K run, as well as help them create some promotional graphics. This year, I was looking for possible internships in non-profits and the manager I worked with helped me create a PR internship! I am super excited to be able to do some PR work for them, and couldn't help but think whether this could have happened if I didn't volunteer for them to start with.

Everyone needs some kindness and appreciates smiles
I personally think security guards have the most boring and frustrated job ever. You sit there all day, harass people to sign in, ask them if they made an appointment, yell at people, stare at the security camera screens, and wait until you clock out.

Everyone is busy. People walk by them without saying hi, gets angry or threatens to get them fired when the guard interrogates suspicious individuals - i.e. doing his job. 

The least I could do is greet them when I pass by with a short hello and a bright smile, which is usually reciprocated. When I have the time, I tend to make small-talk. Ask them about their day! Bring them a red bull or something. Imagine 12 hours where you are restricted to talk, to call, to use the computer (how many of you can stay off social media for that long?), or even go to the bathroom!

Many times I had a bunch of people watching the game, or just partying in the living room. My apartment building is known to be pretty intolerable with noise since the walls are made very thin. Every time I had more than 10 people over, I would make sure to let the security guard know that if we were to get too loud, feel free to knock on my door. One time, I watched a police officer alongside the security guard yell at my neighbor few doors down while I was having a loud party. My door was opened since I was taking out the trash. As I was about to quiet down the crowd in my apartment, the security and officer walked straight pass me and said "Having a party hm?" and kept walking!

Of course I can come up with a thousand examples where being nice helped me out, but the general idea is everybody needs kindness, and kindness can get you to places you never thought it could. Always be nice.
Treat others as you wish others to treat you!

No comments:

Post a Comment