It seems as if 2009 was the Year of Rudeness. We saw a music star rudely grab a microphone from another star, a tennis player fined for outbursts on court, and a politician who couldn’t vocally contain his anger. Everyone is in a hurry and is doing too much. What has happened to our manners?
Technology has been a gift and a curse. We can find our children by cell phone, GPS and Skype. We can read and answer e-mails while walking. The worst is texting while driving! However, this luxury, or convenience, has also given us added stress while creating instant gratification.
If you are task-oriented, you will have a hard time ignoring the flashing red light on your BlackBerry.
Civility can’t be had while multitasking because you aren’t focused on the importance of a relationship. Etiquette and manners are the cornerstones of relationships. Those rules of behavior let us know what to expect from others and allow us to be comfortable. In today’s world, we certainly are not feeling the comfort. In an effort to reduce this epidemic of rudeness, here are a few things each one of us can do to help:
→Turn off your cell phone in an elevator, doctor’s office, business meeting and in a restaurant. Leave the cell phone in your vehicle if you are entering a place it can’t be used, such as a wedding, funeral or movie.
→Leave a detailed voice mail, not a missed call. And listen to a voice mail before you call back. Why make someone repeat the message they already left for you?
→When sending e-mails, write them like a letter. Will the receiver understand your tone? And always remember that “delete” doesn’t mean gone!
→Brush up on the family table manners; employers now are interviewing over a meal, and you likely won’t be eating food that can be unwrapped!
Hilarie Blaney is a corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant, certified by the Protocol School of Washington.