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March 1, 2016

Author: Venugopal Chepur

Are we civil enough

If you smile at someone, it will not bring peace to some troubled war zone. If you are kind to a stranger, it will not heal the sick or feed the hungry in the world. But, perhaps, if not directly and immediately, it will make a difference somewhere in someone’s life. As they say, even butterflies fluttering has an impact on the ecosystem. So, we should not underestimate the power of a gentle gesture of a kind, caring, act. They have more resonance and carry farther than we can ever imagine. It makes a difference. Even if it’s a small difference, it’s a difference! Life experiences taught me several lessons on etiquette and more. I see so many basic principles of ‘being human’ etiquette are ignored in our daily business or professional lives. Here are a few examples:

A supplier writes to provide goods or services to a corporate buyer. The mail is almost guaranteed to be ignored in spite of it being addressed to a particular person, surprisingly, sometimes even with some reference in the context. If at all, it is replied a couple of weeks later. Email etiquette, I heard, says a mail is expected to be responded to within 24 hours? Job seekers, I am sure, would have the worst experiences. Well, I can understand the lack of response to mass mails inundating inbox and some extent when someone is genuinely swamped or not being able to catch up with emails or calls. I am not talking about spam mail.

Networking calls
A network friend leaves a voicemail for a corporate employee seeking some favor or connectivity within the employee’s organization is often ignored. Doesn’t the etiquette suggest a call is expected to be responded to within 24 hours?

Corridor encounters
A consultant who provided services on a previous project is ignored when run in a corporate corridor – the manager doesn’t care to smile or say hello, leave alone stop by to ask the consultant a simple “how are you?” Are we forgetting ‘being human’ and continuing to reinforce our society based on “you want a favor, so you labor, I will connect only when I need you in the context of my world” kind of transactional approach to life? Can we not be human enough to make the other person emotionally comfortable and happy with small gestures? Let’s not disregard simple human relations etiquette! Let’s be humane!
I would love your thoughts.

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