Have you heard about inbound marketing?
It is an effective practice of promoting a business or non-profit through content marketing. The idea is to build a body of content that is useful to potential customers. Inbound marketing strategy stands in contrast to traditional or outbound marketing. Instead of using mailings and cold calling practices that interrupt the potential customer, the inbound approach uses social media to bring customers with a specific interest to the content.
Consider marketing from the shoes of a potential customer. You will discover the civility of this approach and perhaps want to apply the practices to build a respectful workplace. An inbound marketer:
Respects your time and intelligence.
Avoids interrupting you with unwanted pop up ads or junk mail.
Builds an online relationship with you by thinking about how to be helpful.
Offers just-in-time useful information.
Makes a bold, clear offer only once, after you have shown interest by gathering information for making a decision.
Following the advice given by inbound marketers and applying it to the workplace can lead to a productive and respectful workplace culture. Five lessons from inbound marketing make good advice to any person who decides to take small actions that matter.
1. Respect the time and intelligence of peers, direct reports, and managers.
Present information in the way they can best digest and respond to it. For each person that could be different. It may sound overwhelming at first. However, this approach to working with others will lead to a more productive environment.
2. Avoid interruptions of others if people are talking or seemed to be engrossed in a project.
Of course there are times when it is necessary that you interrupt people, however it can be done in a respectful manner. Here is an example to use in a tight time-frame situation.
“Excuse me, I am sorry to interrupt. I know you are focused on ____, however, ___ is waiting on a response.”
3. Build relationships with my peers, direct reports, and managers by thinking about what they are trying to accomplish and determining ways to help them.
We all need the help of others to be successful. Think about what ways you can be helpful to the people around you. This is a lesson from the section on interdependence and emotional banks accounts that Stephen Covey taught in his book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.
4. Offer just-in time useful information to the people with whom you work.
Generally, people don’t like unsolicited advice or feedback. Content marketing works so well because it curates content and allows people to who are searching for information to get what they need. Giving people feedback can feel like unsolicited advice so there is a reason this idea is presented after building relationships with others. You can tell people almost anything if they trust you. If they know you are there to help them rather than sabotage or look better than them.
5. Make a bold, clear offer (request) to people.
After people have experienced the respectful environment you have created, most people will be more than happy to comply when you speak up directly and clearly with a genuine request.
The Seeds of Civility is a blog that is created by The Wallace Centers of Iowa. Here we gather tips for leading (and developing emerging leaders) with civility.