Are we forgetting or forsaking our manners?

In an age of technology that allows for instant communication, regardless of location are we forgetting or forsaking basic manners?

We are bombarded with information day after day, but does that mean we don’t return a phone call, respond to an e-mail, say good-bye when we log off a social network?

This really falls a bit into pet peeves, but it also falls into the common courtesy realm as well. Mom taught you to say “Please” and “Thank you”, to acknowledge others with respect. The trend that I see though is that these very same people don’t practice this in their day to day dealings. For example, I’ll have a great introduction conversation with a potential client, I follow-up with a short note acknowledging our conversation high-points and next steps that were agreed too. Nothing. Crickets. Lots of crickets. Granted we are all busy. E-mails and voice mails get buried. Follow-up again. Nothing. More crickets. It’s not hard to hit reply and say “Thanks, but no thanks,” or “Great, but I’m busy now, let’s do this in 2 weeks”.

Know that I cast stones, knowing full well that I’ve done this. That was my past. This year I vowed to keep the In Box of my e-mail below 30 with all e-mails requiring a response attended too. All e-mails that are part of my to-do list marked as read, but pending action. Keeps me on track and helps maintain good relations. Also, keeps me from feeling guilty about avoiding an e-mail. With voice mail the box is empty. Call comes in, I either take it or respond as soon as my attention is freed up to do so. By the end of the business day all calls are returned either by phone or e-mail where appropriate. It isn’t easy at times, but it actually keeps my stress level down.

The ability to hide behind technology that is designed to allow for transparency is a bit ironic, don’t you think?


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