“What Is The Hidden Value Of More Civility, Pleasure?“ – Negotiation Insight

“There’s pleasure hidden in the value of civility. To experience it, know when to be civil.” -Greg Williams, The Master Negotiator & Body Language Expert (Click here to Tweet)

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“What Is The Hidden Value Of More Civility, Pleasure?“

What a time to be alive, he thought. I’m their leader, and they love me! And yet, he had just defamed someone – a person that had recently died who’d given much of his adult life to serving others. The leader had a problem with civility. The problem was, he didn’t see the value in being civil. Nor did he understand that it transmits a sense of induced pleasure.  

Do you know the value of civility? Are you aware of when and how to use it to induce the improvement you seek in others? If you think you’re not in search of some form of enhancement when you’re civil, this article may be eye-opening for you.  

People tend to be more civil during certain times of the year or when they’re in particular environments. As an example, the public, in general, inclines to be more courteous and are in a state of merriment during the end-of-year holidays. They wish one another a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, Feliz Navidad, and a host of other greetings to display their civility and good wishes to humankind. What happens to that civility during the rest of the year, and why does it seem to wain after the end-of-year holidays? Here are some helpful thoughts to ponder when thinking about the value of civility and how you can use it to improve situations.

Know when civility might work, and when it might not work.

In general, it’s nice to be kind to others. Because in return, they’ll be helpful to you. And there’s a psychological sense of pleasure instilled in a continuing exchange of civility. But some people take civility as a sign that others won’t fight back. We saw that manifest itself in Europe in the 1930s when one world leader sought to appease another. The appeaser thought he’d avoided future conflict. Later, the world discovered that those actions only fed the fervent fever of a man that would take the world to war.

When you seek to improve any situation, weigh the value that civility will have on the outcome. You might also assess what the lack of civility will cast. To enhance your assessment, know the character of the person with whom you’re evaluating. While some will respond favorably, others won’t. For those that won’t, let your lack of civility be your guide.

What causes one to dismiss civility’s value?

Some individuals possess a bullying mindset. They’re the ones that have gotten their gains by lying, cheating, and browbeating others. Thus, they’re accustomed to using the same bullying tactics that have gotten them to where they are. Because their value perspective is to belittle others to make them submit to their will, as alluded to earlier, they use the strategies that have worked for them in the past. That mindset and actions make such individuals easier to spot. Thus, they expose their future actions by the deeds they’ve engaged in in the past, along with how they engaged in those deeds. So, be mindful of someone’s track record when assessing the probability of using civility to induce a pleasant action. That means, when a person shows you his true self, believe him. Otherwise stated, what you see is what you’ll get.  


As stated earlier, people are more amenable to being civil, depending on the environment and on certain occasions. And that’s where your opportunity may lie to influence them. If you’re aware of a person’s personality type and the times they’re open to being civil, choose a time and environment that’ll aid your efforts the most. The converse is true too. Meaning, if a situation is unconducive for civility and it serves your purpose, use that as an opportunity to influence your subject. As with most things in life, timing is everything. Thus, it impacts the probability of success or failure. So, use timing and the environments you’re in wisely.  


There’re hidden pleasures in being civil. It’s shown through the dispositions displayed by those whose moods are enhanced as they engage with others. You can also see it displayed in the demeanor of those impacted by it when it’s absent. If you seek improvement in your environments, weigh the factor that civility might have to assist your efforts. It could be the extra weight that enhances your improvement efforts. And be mindful of how you apply civility based on your subject’s mindset. While it works to put some individuals in a more pleasant state, some will see it as an opening to mock or demean you. So, know when to be civil, in what situations to apply it, and with whom to extend it. Once you cover those bases, you’ll have a heightened chance of making others and yourself become improved. And everything will be right with the world.

Remember, you’re always negotiating!

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After reading this article, what are you thinking? I’d like to know. Reach me at Greg@TheMasterNegotiator.com

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