Aug. 1, 2013 - We get upset if someone isn't instantly available to us via cell phone - like a dog on a leash. We answer our phones for an unknown caller right in the middle of a face-to-face conversation as if the person we are with doesn't really matter. Somehow we have failed to develop the etiquette that should accompany new communication technology.

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It’s Just Plain Rude!


You are at a restaurant and a phone rings loudly at the table next to you. You are hoping that the person either declines it or excuses them self and steps away. No such luck, they take the call! To make matters worse, she has a loud shrill voice and the call is upsetting her. You are learning more than you ever wanted to know about her and her teenage daughter, but you really wish they would take it elsewhere and allow you to enjoy your meal and the quiet discussion you were having.

You are in a face-to-face meeting and your phone indicates you have received a text. When you get a chance, you sneak a peek to see who texted you. It was one of your subordinates who was having a crisis and needs your input. What to do? The client you are with is close to a decision on a large order and you don’t want to lose any momentum. But, your subordinate really needs you now or significant dollars could be lost. You think that the client will not be pleased with you texting -“ even if you explain the gravity of the situation. You decide to excuse yourself and make a restroom run hoping your client doesn’t think you are putting something ahead of him.

You are in a heated negotiation to close a deal. You are down to the final issue and you offer a compromise via email (after the lunch meeting) including your partner and your client’s subordinate. You get a two-word response via reply all email, “No deal!” It looks like months of effort have gone up in smoke with those two words and your stomach drops. You pick up the phone and call to find out what happened. “We’re good! I just didn’t want everyone getting the email to think I was soft. But, I’m fine with your suggestion and no one needs to know.”

One of your execs has been having difficulty managing a subordinate and has decided with your consent to let them go. The employee in question is on vacation and due to return next week. Your manager decides that it would be ridiculous for the employee to return on Monday just to be terminated, so they decided to send her an email advising that she has been let go and that her personal belongings have been boxed and are ready to be picked up at the reception desk. The employee is livid, not only with the termination, but the method. She forwards the termination email to the whole company with a “FYI -“ this is the culture of the company you are working for. Glad I won’t be there anymore!”

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