All of our days are busy and full. As we transition through the various stages of life, our lives typically become even crazier. Being stretched too thinly by multiple commitments results in constant multi-tasking. Having a full brain of things to do and remember plus being on the run with little downtime, leaves many of us stressed and short with others. Here are 12 things we do on a daily basis that makes us look rude. Can we do better?
Answer Our Cell Phone in Public Places
Yes, this is disruptive and impolite and we keep doing it. If, in fact, you are expecting an important call communicate that fact to any persons currently with you. Here are a couple of reminders, have your phone on vibrate, if you receive a call and have to take it, excuse yourself from the table and move your phone conversation outside or in a hallway where you have privacy and you are not disturbing others around you.
Answer Our Office Phone on Speaker
How does it make you feel when you call someone and they answer their phone on speaker? Does it make you feel marginalized? As though the person has more important things going on than to speak with you at that moment? Does it make you feel as though you are having a conversation with a room full of people instead of just the person you are calling? Worst of all, the person who answers their phone on speaker, appears to others as self-important.
Interact with Our Phones Instead of Human Beings Around Us
Isn’t it difficult when you are excited to sit down and enjoy a meal with a friend or colleague and they are constantly looking at their phone, responding to email and texts and saying to you, “I’m sorry this will just take a second.”? Our smart devices are so convenient yet addictive. There is no reason to feel as though we need to be constantly accessible to the world. We should be able to take an hour break and enjoy the person sitting across the table from us.
Running Errands While Speaking on Our Cell Phones
Once again, the other patrons in the supermarket or people in line at the dry cleaners should not have to listen to half of our phone conversation. More importantly, a service person waiting on us should not have to feel invisible because we refuse to end our phone call before asking for service. We should all make a concerted effort to end our phone calls before going into a place of business.
Texting/Emailing During Meetings
It has only happened a couple of times, but I always find it ironic when I’m conducting a business etiquette seminar and a participant is busy on their phone. It is impolite at any meeting to be looking at or actively responding on your phone. Always give the persons in the room your undivided attention. If you feel as though you always need to be accessible the best solution is to use your “out of office” email message with an expected time of return so your colleagues and clients know when they can expect your reply.
Not Introducing Ourselves to Others
It is our duty to introduce ourselves to those around us. Whether we are in a business meeting, a networking event, or a luncheon where we do not know anyone, it is important to feel comfortable with taking the initiative, extending our hand and introducing ourselves to others. It shows confidence and makes a favorable impression on those whom we are meeting.
Not Actively Listening to Others
Isn’t it is obvious when we are speaking with someone and they are looking past us wondering if there is someone else in attendance with whom they would prefer to speak? This behavior is so demeaning to us. Bottom line: Do not be that person. When we make someone feel as though they are the only person in the room at that time, it makes them feel valued and important. In return, it makes people like and respect us.
Not Addressing People By Their Names
It is difficult to remember people’s names. However, when we can address a person with a greeting and the person’s name it makes the person feel recognized and valued. Here’s a tip: Tell ourselves we are good at remembering names. When we meet a person we should say that person’s name three (3) times: when we meet “Hello, Jim,” during the conversation and when we close the conversation “Jim, it was a pleasure meeting you.”
Overly Speaking About Ourselves
It is more important in business and social situations to ask others about themselves than it is for us to take the opportunity to promote ourselves. Be inquisitive about other people and their stories. This demonstrates that we are genuinely interested and care about them.
Eating on the Go
We are forever busy, but eating while driving our car or continually snacking around the office while speaking with others is unrefined. It is important to reserve at least 15 minutes to sit down and eat our lunch in a dignified manner. Whether we are at the airport, in our office with the door shut, or headed out for lunch, we should be seated at a table and eating in a civilized manner. It is good for both our psyche and physical being.
Not Holding the Elevator Door For Others
How frustrating is it when we are close to making it on an open elevator and as we are approaching the doors close on us? We are all focused and short on time, but that doesn’t mean we should be inconsiderate to our fellow human beings around us. If close to the control panel inside the elevator, please make an effort to hold the elevator door for those who are still approaching.
Not Stopping for Pedestrians in Crosswalks
This is a law in many states and hopefully more states will participate. It is important to stop our cars and allow pedestrians to cross safely in the crosswalks. As many pedestrians can attest to almost being killed in crosswalks, it is important for us to be aware of our surroundings. Driving safely is difficult enough without having a phone to speak into or text on, as a distraction. It only takes one mistake to negatively change someone’s life and yours forever.