Authenticity trumps authority

By Dave Henning / July 3, 2023

“Demands come across as entitled. . . .  A simple please levels the playing field.  It will get y0u further than your title, your rank, or your credentials.  Authenticity trumps authority, like a royal flush.  The word please demonstrates a posture of humility, and no one did it better than Jesus.”- Mark Batterson

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus.  Who, existing in the form of God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant.”- Philippians 2:5-6 (Berean Study Bible)

In his Preface to Part 1 (“The Psychology of Please”) of Please Sorry Thanks, Mark Batterson notes that words possess healing properties, like the balm of Gilead.  However, as Mark aptly describes, “words can ricochet around the mind with all the chaos of a pinball.”

Most significantly, Mark observes, each of us has a unique relationship with words.  Based on our experiences, we hear words differently.  Thus, right or wrong, different words mean different things to different people.  In addition, Mark expands this thought:

“Words conjure up age-old memories, evoke deep-seated emotions, put our defense mechanisms on red alert, and catalyze crazy ideas.  And the do so without our conscious awareness.”

Also, Mark talks about a psychological phenomenon related to stimulus and response called priming.  In priming, words serve as the lead actors.  For example, the word please is a politeness prime.  Above all, the author stresses, never underestimate the power of polite words.  Especially the word please.

Because please adds respect as well as urgent aspect to a request.  Also, please asks instead of demands.  However, Mark notes, the word please is only as effective as it is authentic.  Hence, our motives must match our words.  We must say what we mean and mean what we say.

In conclusion, the Emily Post Institute reminds us that:

“[Please] sets the tone for whatever follows and is one of the most important universal manners.”

Today’s question: What value do you place on authenticity?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “A conversational pace?”

About the author

Dave Henning

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