Illuminating the Heart of Civility – Lewena L Bayer

“Going into every situation anticipating that there’s going to be something that you will learn whether you are going to use it right away or not.”

Coexistence requires that individuals respect and treat others with the dignity that they deserve. This means that civility is a fundamental component in the progress of any society. At its core, civility transcends the mannerisms, courteousness or politeness of individuals and includes how people impact others in their behavior and speech. Our guest today, Dr. Lew Bayer believes that “Civility is its own reward” and suggests that “In choosing civility, people find their best self, and in doing so, they experience the grace, courage, generosity, humanity, and humility that civility engenders.”

Lewena Bayer has been in the civility space for more than 20 years and has an international recognition as the leading expert on civility at work. With a focus on social intelligence and culturally-competent communication, the team at Civility Experts Inc – which includes 501 affiliates in 48 countries, has supported 100’s of organizations in building better workplaces. In addition to her role as CEO of international civility training group Civility Experts Inc. which includes The Civility Speakers Bureau and Propriety Publishing, Lew is Chair of the International Civility Trainers’ Consortium, President of The Center for Organizational Cultural Competence, and Founder of the In Good Company Etiquette Academy Franchise Group.

Most recently, Lew was selected as an International Advocate for Aegis Trust, a UK based organization focused on peace education and the prevention of genocide. She is also an Education Chair for Recently, Dr. Bayer has been assigned the privilege of being named Ambassador of Global Knowledge Exchange and a Master Educator in Global Teachers Academy.

In today’s episode, we will be discussing the role civility plays in building better work places as well as communities. Our guest will also talk more about the importance of being thoughtful and embracing differences.

Listen in!

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  • Civility is a measurable competency. [3:45]
  • We put it under this category of soft skills because historically that is where communication and ability to do well in social settings fit. [3:48]
  • Increasingly civility fits under the umbrella of relational skills. [4:04]
  • It generally incorporates social intelligence, cultural competence, systems thinking and continuous learning. [4:30]
  • We do everything from dining etiquette for university graduates all the way to civil etiquette. [4:37]
  • We started out as the etiquette ladies where we were doing courtesy camp for kids. [5:29]
  • At that time I understood that you can teach children and change their attitude which changes the way they interact. [5:56]
  • Over the years I have had a good fortune of aligning this with people and we currently have 520 affiliates in 47 countries. [6:36]
  • I have been consistently been encouraged and stunned when people find support and encouragement regardless of their status. [8:19]
  • When someone comes into our affiliate group, they have the benefit of all these people around the world with different perspectives. [8:42]
  • I have had the opportunity to co-facilitate that spark. [9:05]
  • We have affiliates who sign the paper and commit to the plan and started making payments three years later. [9:11]
  • Over the years I have held on to the belief that there is more good than bad in the world and that if people knew better, then they would be better. [11:20]
  • I find that we have to give people permission to be confident and experience what it feels like to be valued. [11:55
  • We have a global project that we are working on called work citizen and it is about sharing these teachings and knowledge. [12:14]
  • Respect is something we all equally deserve because we are human and in the planet. [12:53]
  • Each person has value, gift and contribution and we may not know it or be able to label it or even appreciate at that particular moment, but we have to acknowledge it. [12:59]
  • If we just started there, imagine how different our interactions would be. [13:10]
  • Civility can be as simple as knowing your neighbor’s last name. Civility starts at home. [13:58]
  • There is so much potential for good and it just a matter of believing that and making an effort to contribute in a way. [15:08]
  • There is a lot of lonely in the world because we are fearful and the fear is founded on the perception that differences are scary or people are inherently bad. [17:10]
  • Commercial break. [18:20]
  • It is very hard to see other people’s perspective if you are constantly in your little hole of mud. [20:31]
  • Going into every situation anticipating that there’s going to be something that you will learn whether you are going to use it right away or not. [21:04]
  • There is always someone who can use some support and therefore making an effort to offer it before it is asked for. [21:50]
  • Part of the civility definition is choosing civility as a non-negotiable point of character and the primary objective is to ease the experience of others. [22:00]
  • Leaders should take on the service oriented approach and see what they can do for somebody else. [22:14]
  • Don’t be too hard on yourself but everyday get up one foot in front of another and it is shocking how much you can get done. [23:08]
  • Realize that it is a privilege for people to give you their time and focus to listen to you, therefore you should acknowledge and commit to giving them something of value and show appreciation through your tone and demeanor. Otherwise that gift is not going to last very well. [24:25]
  • I invite everyone to bring their best self in every interaction and you will find that civility is its own reward. [27:55]


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