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Etiquette and Social Intelligence. Social Games and Their Rules

19/ 03/ 2018
  Author: Ganna Chaplygina, etiquette and business protocol specialist, author of articles for “Ukrayinska Pravda. Zhyttia”, “Osvitoria” editions and “Etiquette in stories” personal page. The main task of business is to achieve results. Business culture is HOW we achieve the result. No matter how the technologies are being developed, businesses are created and managed by people. If you want to reach the level of companies with high culture, you should know their business standards and be able to play by their rules. Etiquette covers the rules of good behaviour in a society of high culture. But today it is not enough to know the rules. They are modified and become flexible as quickly as the world around us. Something that was considered a common courtesy rule yesterday, today may become a manifestation of bad manners, may cause irritation and worsening of business relations. Here is a simple example of changing the telephone etiquette. 20 years ago, it was considered impolite to call on business in off-the-job time. This timeframe was common for everyone - from 9 am to 19 pm. Beyond this time, you would not find a person by the work number, because the phones were stationary. But at the specified time it was not just appropriate, it was efficient to solve different issues by phone and it worked out very well. Today, the business schedule can be completely different. The geography of business contacts is extended to the maximum - up to all time zones. Anyone can be assessed by a phone call, because the phones have ceased to be fixed-line. What would happen if you call your partner on any issue at any time convenient for you? And what would if they call you in such a way? From a formal point of view, everything is correct: it is working time, it is a business issue - You did not answer our letter. The partners may have a question and consider that it is convenient for them. But at this time you can be at a meeting, negotiations, drive a car or try to concentrate on the analysis of operational data. The further, the sooner the rules of etiquette will be modified. They will be like beacons, but in order to stay in the top we should develop our social intelligence - the ability to foresee the peoples reaction to our actions in advance. This will require maximum awareness in the formulation of tasks. Not just: I have a question, it is working time, and I may use the telephone. But the issue is how  to get an answer effectively, with a minimum invasion into other person’s private space? We should take into consideration several variables: how close we are to a person, his/her estimated schedule, the degree of urgency of our issue, the status. Depending on this, you may choose the contact distance: mail, instant messenger, SMS-message or phone call. If your question is a matter of life and death, then calling at midnight will be both appropriate and the only possible option. Jeff Bezos, the founder and chairman of Amazon, the world’s largest online shopping retailer, says that he often receives questions about the changes in the next 10 years. But almost no one asks me: What will NOT be changed in the next 10 years?  I believe that the second question is more important than the first one, because a business strategy must be based on the stable fundamentals that do not change over time. The same is true with the etiquette. It is important to understand and realize what values have remained and remained unchanged, and what new forms can some rules acquire along with changing the environment. The ability to anticipate new forms of interaction in the society is, in fact, the social intelligence. And it can be developed.

Author: Ganna Chaplygina, etiquette and business protocol specialist, author of articles for “Ukrayinska Pravda. Zhyttia”, “Osvitoria” editions and “Etiquette in stories” personal page.

The main task of business is to achieve results. Business culture is HOW we achieve the result. No matter how the technologies are being developed, businesses are created and managed by people. If you want to reach the level of companies with high culture, you should know their business standards and be able to play by their rules.

Etiquette covers the rules of good behaviour in a society of high culture. But today it is not enough to know the rules. They are modified and become flexible as quickly as the world around us. Something that was considered a common courtesy rule yesterday, today may become a manifestation of bad manners, may cause irritation and worsening of business relations.

Here is a simple example of changing the telephone etiquette. 20 years ago, it was considered impolite to call on business in off-the-job time. This timeframe was common for everyone – from 9 am to 19 pm. Beyond this time, you would not find a person by the work number, because the phones were stationary. But at the specified time it was not just appropriate, it was efficient to solve different issues by phone and it worked out very well.

Today, the business schedule can be completely different. The geography of business contacts is extended to the maximum – up to all time zones. Anyone can be assessed by a phone call, because the phones have ceased to be fixed-line.

What would happen if you call your partner on any issue at any time convenient for you? And what would if they call you in such a way? From a formal point of view, everything is correct: it is working time, it is a business issue – “You did not answer our letter.” The partners may have a question and consider that it is convenient for them. But at this time you can be at a meeting, negotiations, drive a car or try to concentrate on the analysis of operational data.

The further, the sooner the rules of etiquette will be modified. They will be like beacons, but in order to stay in the top we should develop our social intelligence – the ability to foresee the people’s reaction to our actions in advance. This will require maximum awareness in the formulation of tasks. Not just: “I have a question, it is working time, and I may use the telephone.” But the issue is how  to get an answer effectively, with a minimum invasion into other person’s private space?

We should take into consideration several variables: how close we are to a person, his/her estimated schedule, the degree of urgency of our issue, the status. Depending on this, you may choose the contact distance: mail, instant messenger, SMS-message or phone call. If your question is a matter of life and death, then calling at midnight will be both appropriate and the only possible option.

Jeff Bezos, the founder and chairman of Amazon, the world’s largest online shopping retailer, says that he often receives questions about the changes in the next 10 years. “But almost no one asks me:” What will NOT be changed in the next 10 years?”  I believe that the second question is more important than the first one, because a business strategy must be based on the stable fundamentals that do not change over time.”

The same is true with the etiquette. It is important to understand and realize what values have remained and remained unchanged, and what new forms can some rules acquire along with changing the environment. The ability to anticipate new forms of interaction in the society is, in fact, the social intelligence. And it can be developed.

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