We all had a figure in our lives reminding us to be polite. Grandmothers, teachers and assorted well-meaning adults are constantly remind children to be polite, to say “please” and “thank you,” and to mind their manners. As a kid, you may have bristled at the suggestions and muttered a perfunctory “thank you” before returning to play. (I certainly did.)

As it turns out, Grandma was right. Politeness really does count, and it can open all kinds of doors. I’ve grown up more Miss Manners than even my most insistent relatives could have imagined. As a result, I’m an enthusiastic proponent of politeness as a way of life—but also as a tool to improve communication.  I promise, you really do catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, and a little politeness goes a long way. Here’s a quick rundown of how (and why) to be polite when you’re interacting with Writers on Content Runner.

How to Write Polite Topical Notes

Advice from graduates of Hogwarts to their peers.

The most polite graffiti I have ever come across.

There isn’t a whole lot of opportunity to interact with a Writer before he or she has picked up your article. That means that, in most cases, the topical notes and instructions you leave will be your first chance to communicate—and your first chance to be polite.

Everything a Writer needs to know about an article should be contained in the topical notes and the instructions—that means that you need to be as thorough as possible, while also being clear and concise. If you’re looking for a friendly, lighthearted article written from the first-person perspective, let the Writer know up front. If the topic is difficult to research, let them know that you understand and include a link or two where the Writer may begin her research. If the Writer is likely to find articles during research that take a view opposite the one you’d like them to write, specify the direction you’d like your article to go.

Including as many details as possible up front will help you get the content you’re looking for without time-consuming revisions. What’s more, your Writer will feel you appreciate his time and effort and will work hard to write something you’ll like.

How to Review Politely

Once you’ve received the first draft of an article, you have the chance to send it back for revisions. If the work you received isn’t what you were hoping for, by all means, have it revised—but do so politely!

Begin your review with a compliment, if possible: “I think the section on software works well, but the paragraphs about hardware need a bit of touching up,” for example. By starting things off on a positive note, the review sounds less like a critical demand and more like collaborative review. When you do give your notes for revisions, make sure you’re specific. Rather than “this section needs work” or “this part sounds like filler,” offer concrete suggestions and specific examples. “You mention the health benefits of coconut water, but this section could be expanded. What about its benefits for hydration? For the skin?”

Before you wrap up your review and return it to the Writer, there’s just enough time for a last compliment (regular readers will recognize the structure of the Compliment Sandwich). This is mostly for the Writer’s benefit—to make him or her feel better after receiving critical feedback—but is by no means a waste of time or effort. Content Runner is about facilitating relationships between Writers and Users; being polite is an excellent way to ensure that those relationships are both professional and friendly.

Always Say Thank You!

Your Writer has pulled through and produced content you’re happy to publish. Huzzah! Now it’s time to do as countless others have reminded you: say “thank you.” You can leave a note when you click “Accept” thanking the Writer directly—everyone appreciates positive and grateful feedback. But there’s more you can do to thank your Writer.

If you liked the content you received, give the Writer a great rating! Four or five stars and a friendly review will help improve your Writers’ rating and help them find more work on Content Runner. It’s a small favor, but it can make a big difference. If you really liked the article, a review of four or five stars will allow you to leave your Writer a bonus. This is a new feature, and one we’re happy to have; if your Writer did an excellent job, offer them a small tip as a token of your appreciation.

Of course, the ultimate compliment you can pay a Writer is to work with her again. If you have more upcoming projects, consider sending a Writer whose work you like a Direct Order or adding her to your Favorites Pool. You can also increase a Writer’s Take Limit so that he or she can work on more than one project at a time.

It Never Hurts To Be Polite

It might seem overly formal, but being polite and friendly is about more than just “please” and “thank you.” It’s about respecting the person with whom you’re communicating and appreciating that he or she is another human being with thoughts and feelings who’s just trying to get some work done. It’s difficult to be mindful when all your interactions are through the medium of messages and instructions, but thoughtfulness pays off when Writers are eager to work with you and happy to do their best.

Did I miss something? Have any thoughts to add or questions to ask? Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you.