Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ – The Polish that Generates Presence (Part 2)

Some people are born with the gift of a good personality. They know when and how to smile, which questions to ask and how to make people around them feel at ease. They have good people skills, and with these, they are able to enter places they ordinarily may not have had access. 

For those of us who just can’t seem to flow as we would have loved, the responsibility is laid on us to get these skills. Learn it, copy it, or pray for it; just get it.

One of the simplest ways to differentiate yourself and generate presence is learning to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’. These very simple words can change the way you relate with people and the perception people have of you. No wonder they are referred to as the ‘magic words’.

Some have argued that saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ is not part of our culture. This cannot but be far from the truth as nearly all of our languages in Nigeria have a word for the two phrases. In Ibo, ’please’  is ‘biko’, the Hausas say ‘ba don halina ba and Yorubas use ‘e jo’.

Similarly, the Yorubas say ‘e se’ for ‘thank you’. In Hausa, it is ‘nagode’ and in Ibo, it’s ‘dalu’.Given the way our culture has been drastically eroded, learning to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ will differentiate you and get you noticed.

In seeking to develop a cultured personality and generate presence, the following are a few pointers that may help in your daily journey:

  • Saying ‘please’ each time you make a request on someone depicts your politeness, courtesy and the consideration of the burden (big or small) you have placed on this person. 
  • Never forget to say ‘thank you’ when a task has been completed for you. Any task.  
  • Everyone likes to know they are appreciated and their services valued. More than making the other party happy, it is also a reflection of your own attitude towards other people. 
  • Remembering to say the two ‘magic words’ shows you are polite in your dealings with people and this will automatically attract people to you. 
  • In a case where several people with similar credentials are chasing the same job or contract, the differing factor may well be an individual’s ability to generate presence by his politeness and cultured behaviour. 
  • In a society like ours with a huge population, differentiating oneself is an absolute necessity. Having a good personality does this without costing the giver anything. 
  • As much as saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ edifies the hearer, it certainly certifies the speaker as a person who has respect for himself and who is confident enough to publicly acknowledge the good in other people. 
  • So start to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ today to your maid, children, spouse, driver, colleagues, parents and anyone else who has offered you a service. 
  • Life is so complicated, and often full of pressure. Saying ‘thank you’ may brighten someone’s day and relieve them of life’s pressure. 

As it cost us nothing to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’, let’s remember, we all benefit when we do things right. EtiquetteBank

6 thoughts on “Saying ‘Please’ and ‘Thank you’ – The Polish that Generates Presence (Part 2)

  1. Hi Tinuke,

    Once again,thank you for a very good write up. It is interesting that your article has come about a day after I read an article in one of the Nigerian newspapers which articulated that Nigeria should ‘rewind’ to the time when things worked in the country- between 1960 -1967. What your article is pointing out is that we as a people, need to ‘rewind’ to ‘first principles’. We need to ‘unlearn’ the unwholesome things and habits that we have embraced over the years. When I was growing up, we had to treat all the domestic help and drivers with utmost respect – Please and Thank you were the order of the day.My parents also accorded them these courtesies. Fast forward to these days where the employers of such helpers ( the parents, who are supposedly wealthy and enlightened ), treat the helpers with disdain and deal with them as if they are mere inconveniences. Charity begins at home!!!. If the parents don’t show the good examples, the children are doomed and by extrapolation, the nation.It amazes me that as a people, we Nigerians are so discourteous yet, we take offence at the slightest of things. It appears that people live under the illusion that the more unpleasant they are to others, the more they will be feared and, the quicker their wishes will be complied with. It need not be so and I think that as a nation, if we sort out the little things ( basic courtesies, love for one another, good time keeping, etc), the bigger things will take care of themselves – Nigeria will regain her former glory and we as individuals will be better off in every way.

  2. Hello,

    Indeed, the subject matter cannot be over-emphasised. The magical words walked out of our culture sometimes ago, most people are living in denial, are self-centred with care free attitudes. In a society as ours, we are breeding children of no value of person’s or thing


  3. Awesome article ! I think the dialogue needs to continue . Adedapo said it in his closing statement ” Nigeria will regain her former glory and we as individuals will be better off in every way.”

    Have you ever noticed the difference in an individual once you Thank them ?

    How often do we get home at the end the day and send thank you texts messages to those who helped us in one way or the other during the day ?

    How many times do we pick up Thank You cards to send to people who have at one time or the other helped us . ?

    How many times do we remember to say please and Thank you to our kids (no matter how young), when they assist us ?

    How many times do we wave in gratitude at the traffic warden on the road ?

    There is a huge shortage in the use of these two words , almost non – existent , we christians need to stand up and be counted . Whats more important is we need to mean it , we need to look into the eyes of whom we are thanking , on aa airplane , thank the stewardess by name , in a restaurant, thank the
    Waiter/ess by name. What ever we ask for Please must proceed , even the broken english version – I beg – will do !

    EB , Please let us delve further into this dialogue , Gratitude is part of the way to peace and Love i our world.

    Keep the flag flying !


  4. A very good article and advice. On my last visit to Nigeria my host family had household help: cooks, nanny, drivers, and I was astonished and embarassed and felt badly as the wife would start yelling at the help starting as early as 6 a.m. with the yelled command to "WA!" There was never any gratitude or politeness. What I witnessed was basically slavery with verbal abuse. I am hoping on my second trip that these memories will be replaced by a kinder and gentler manner in the compound of my other associates. I was bewildered for a good two months trying to discover what was the yoruban word for "please" since I never heard it spoken. But commands were easy to decipher…Unfortunate, and I know that this bad behaviour does not represent all of the good people of Nigeria. I found Nigerians in general to be very warm and hospitable and I am looking forward to my next stay.

  5. Please is begging (May I Have something) is proper manors, Please is an old layover from the feudal system of Lords and peasants. Proper etiquette is simply to ask in a polite grammatically correct manner

  6. I was schooled in please and thank you and practice it regularly. It has its place and more people should remember those "magic words". However, I have a spouse who uses the "magic" to the point of dwelling. We will go out to a restaurant and every, single item that is brought to the table he'll retort, "thank you", when he orders he says "please" a couple of times. He says this at home for me just putting together a meal – or getting him something. Now, don't get ME wrong, I'm all for those two kind words. But, there comes a time when too much is just too much! It's overkill. And, the problem in our relationship has come from the magic words when HE thinks I should use them, as he thinks that I am lacking and disrespectful. So, I agree to disagree with all you've written about using please and thank you to spouses, family, community, etc. There is a FINE line between correct usage and down right "please, don't say that word again!