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You’ve probably heard the expression that someone is a “class act.” It’s a compliment, of course. And who wouldn’t want to be described in that way?

However, one needs only turn on the TV news to be assaulted with examples, instead, of a decline of civility. This decline is seen in everything from politics and business, to personal interactions.

Being a class act is not something you decide to be one day and not the next. Also, it’s not about having money and name dropping to be successful and get ahead in life.

Instead, being a class act is something that’s internal. It’s a desire to engage with others with behavior, words and attitudes that convey courtesy, kindness and respect.

The beginning of a new year is a good time to assess oneself and start new habits. If you want to be a class act, I believe my acrostic below will help guide you into 2019 and beyond.

C –First, a class act shows Compassion and genuinely Cares when someone is down on their luck and going through a hard time. They volunteer their time to worthy organizations to better the lives of others and their community.

L –Next, a class act Listens respectfully to the viewpoint of others. They disagree graciously and courteously, without using foul language, name calling or displaying rage, violence or threats. They create an environment where others feel respected and valued, even if their race, religion or political views are different.

A – In addition, a class act Acknowledges others to make them feel valued and important. They greet coworkers in the hallway, open the door for those following and respond to phone calls and emails in a timely way. They say please and thank-you…a LOT! To the overworked restaurant server, to the carwash attendant on an especially cold day, to the coworker who helped when they were slammed. They regularly write thank-you notes to recognize the kindness, generosity and extra mile shown by others. They acknowledge everyone on the team for a good job and avoid grandstanding and taking all the credit.

S – A class act is Selfless. It’s not all about them. They find common ground. They seek the other person’s good, putting them in a position to succeed.

S – A class act is Self-confident but doesn’t have an ego.

A – Furthermore, a class act knows that Actions count and Accountability matters. They take responsibility for their actions, good or bad. They always follow through, get back to you when they say they will and send the information they said they would send. They own up to their mistakes and don’t pass the blame. They say, “I’m sorry” when necessary and sincerely mean it.

CCharacter counts. A class act doesn’t gossip or demean others. A class act chooses words that affirm rather than tear down. They show up for work and meetings on time, or early. They do the right thing even when it’s hard or perceived as unpopular.

T – And finally, a class act knows the importance of being Truthful, Trustworthy and confidential. A class act sets an example of integrity and realizes a breach of confidentiality or trust is not easily repaired.

In summary, a class act reflects all these traits on a regular basis. People notice when someone is a class act.

Are there attributes about yourself that you want to refine in 2019 to be a class act? Your choices matter.

Rachel Wagner, owner of the business etiquette firm, Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol, is a recognized business etiquette expert, consultant and speaker, and often quoted in local and national media outlets. You may enjoy other savvy business etiquette tips at www.EtiquetteTrainer.com.

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