Minding your manners Featured

8:01am EDT November 22, 2004
While it's true that the formality of the business world is going the way of the typewriter, so is common courtesy. It may be a coincidence, but with the introduction of business casual attire and informal (but convenient) e-mails came a lax attitude when it comes to how we treat people.

Or maybe it's because so much more is expected of us -- now that we have lightning-fast technology -- that we are spending so much time trying to accomplish more and simply don't have time for the niceties of days gone by.

One example is e-mail. Many of the e-mails I receive don't even contain a greeting. They just start right in with a message as if we are in the middle of a conversation. It is the equivalent of answering the phone, and the party on the other end just begins talking. If that happened to you during the business day, wouldn't you consider it rude?

Another example is returning calls. I have to confess I am guilty of this courtesy faux pas myself, especially when the caller says a return call is optional. But it happens more and more. I call a person one day, and it may be days, even weeks before that person returns my call, even when it is urgent. No matter who it is, or why the phone call was made, that is just downright rude.

Last but not least are appointment breakers. Now I have no issues with those who, at the last minute, have to reschedule an appointment because an urgent situation arises. But there have been more times than there should've been lately,when appointments were broken and no one called to inform me. I have organized my day around the appointments and rushed to be on time, only to find that the other party couldn't make it after all. Sorry.

Maybe along with classes on time management and utilizing technology to get the most from your time, we should also be reviewing the Golden Rule.