Posts Taged business-etiquette

Canvy phone manners courtesy

Vintage rules of business etiquette – an interesting perspective

From the times when getting along with people was so important that it got dedicated instructional materials, we found and watched a couple of videos depicting the office etiquette and telephone courtesy. It proved quite an exercise. Comparing manners, habits and expectations throughout the ages never gets old.

So, what were the rules of business communications in the 50’s?

 

The office etiquette video

Oh my, those times do seem much simpler, in some ways. Of course, people are still people, whatever the times. Not everybody would have looked or behaved as in instructional videos back then. Important issues were not part of the picture, either.

But hearing someone talk about “enjoying your work” or “enjoying the people you are working with” does make a lot of sense, in a comforting manner. While some may see such materials as cliché-istic or narrow-minded, they provided an image of what was considered of common sense in the society at the time.

The rules, or rather recommendations, provided in the video are meant to serve as a starting point. Each could choose to go his (in this case, more like “hers”) direction from there on.

You can watch it with amusement, nostalgia or criticism, but the office etiquette video is still interesting to see.

For example, the instructor opens up the office job course with this: “You’re starting a new career. It can be fun, or it can be hard. It all depends on the way you look at things”.

 

The telephone courtesy video

In a more theatrical style, the second instructional video set out to show what is right and wrong in phone-based business communications.

As in the first video, one may find it hard not to think about how the employees look like superheroes. Always neat, polite, fresh, un-stressed, calm and generally happy about their lives. They all look like A-grade adults who are willing to focus on their job-related activities and who always find the energy and even the initiative to do it.

Compared with the current state of affairs, the people depicted in these videos all look like as if someone was taking care of them. Meaning that they needn’t worry about how they need to shop, cook, clean, pay bills and generally run around stressed before or after work.

In this context, the characters that yelled, were impolite, incompetent or offensive (the bad examples) were quickly tackled by the majority of professional, polite, in-control employees.

To quote the video: “Good manners please our customers. Bad manners only irritate them” or “The telephone is meant to work for us. The important thing is how to put it to work properly. God telephone manners aren’t difficult, they are easy, natural”

 

A contemporary exercise

You may look at the way you interact on the phone, after having browsed these videos above. Do you have good telephone manners, or bad ones, for example?

Contemplate and compare. What great things have we added and what did we lose in the process of evolving along quite a few decades?

If you were to merge the best of the present and the past – as seen in the videos, what would that image look like?

 

 

Canvy communication

Communication should be flawless, except sometimes it isn’t, but it makes up by being funny

Local and global habits and etiquette have a way of growing on people. We all want to belong, to smooth relations and interactions, and to get one step closer to our goals by playing by the rules. Or at least by playing by those rules that are easier to abide.

A certain appearance, a way of addressing the others, paying attention to various embedded habits – and one becomes a sleek member of the (business/creative/domestic) community that makes up one’s environment.

Of course, such an intended compliance doesn’t always go as planned – and sometimes it’s for the better.

Minor miscommunications can break the ice

Due to the fact that an anticipated course of events generally represents our comfort zone, when things go as planned, all you will see of one person is all they desire to be seen. Some have histrionic talents are not at all what you see of them when the expected scenario goes on unhindered. Some have simply learned to go through the moves – and perhaps their job doesn’t even require more than this for everything to be OK.

Well, only when the unexpected is at work you can get to the second level of this game. Of course, some have backups for this too, and they just employ yet another role for themselves – “starring in the Mayhem movie” this time.

But it may well happen that unpredictable things crack the shell of people and they end up communicating for real, or even sharing meaningful connections. Perhaps a question was misheard, a meeting was postponed or wrongfully scheduled – that kind of things.

Of course, minor is minor, and sometimes interpersonal or intercultural differences are so impactful that the results are borderline funny, yet more like disastrous.  This is an article on this subject, where you may find out how some of the famous international brands ended up marketing their products in hilarious, even offensive ways by mistake.

Just laugh the embarrassment away

If the previous communication you had with someone just lead to confusion or to a situation you would have rather avoided, don’t make it worse by remaining stuck in a state of embarrassment and lack of creativity.

We are all humans after all, and humor is essential to our survival – it keeps the mind fresh and boosts happiness. Just see the things from outside, take a deep breath, think of how everybody went through similar stuff many a times, and, if possible, move on with a wisecrack and a nice joke.

Of course, managing carefully your appointments, your communications and your less inspirational moments is a thing to never give up a priori. We always strive to be the best version of us, but it is very important to accept our real version – and make a bit of fun about it, if necessary.

Just look at this funny website and have a couple of refreshing laughs – while, if a native English speaker, you recap the foreign languages you know well enough to avoid being “lost in translation”. Have a nice week!