Smiling & Delightful vs Serious & Direct: What is Most Effective In Business?

Smiling & Delightful vs Serious & Direct: What is Most Effective In Business?

Last week I had a flight to Phoenix, from Newark. This was on a Sunday night in the midst of some snow, sleet and other inclement weather.  Unfortunately, I and other passengers experienced canceled flights, delayed flights and lots of frustrations.

It's times of intense frustration where you can see the attitude of people really shine. They crumble under pressure and turn out to be terrible people. Or they rise to the occasion and remain pleasant.

Problems that occur prior to taking off fall to the airline ground staff (is that what they're called), who take the brunt of passenger complaint and fury.

All around me were people who were angry and frustrated.  Some people were aimlessly stewing. Others were taking their frustration out on the airline staff and yelling, harassing and making the already frustrating day, much worse. There were others, me included, who were calm, smiling and in fact even helping answer repeat questions.

What did being nice achieve?

First, of course, it made one less headache for the airline staff.

Second, and more important for me, it made them much more amicable to assist me in getting on another flight - which happened!

I always wonder, am I too nice? Should I be more aggressive and "stand up for my rights". Maybe.

However, I have found that in the long run it pays to smile and be nice. Through charm, and an overall good attitude, you can get so much farther ahead than stomping your feet and demanding things.

This is how I've run my hustle, my smart hustle, for many years.

Is there a time to not be so nice and smiley? Sure.

A few years ago, the night before the Small Business Summit, our clothing sponsor was delayed in getting my suit to me. As usual, I was charming and smiling my way to get the suit. Thankfully, my friend Beth Silver of Doubet Consulting was helping me manage things. Beth is a very nice woman and ultimate professional. But her style does differ from mine. Needless to say, while my charming and smiling did not work, her choice words with the clothing sponsor got me my suit within hours and in time for the Summit.

What's your style? Charming and Nice or Serious and No Nonsense? Do you think one is more effective over the other?

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