I do facebooking. I regularly do. But I limit it to maximum 30 minutes a day. I follow a number of news portals and like to have a quick look at them whenever I get chance. I have a limited number of friends and I am bit choosy to choose friends on facebook. I have my own set of rules which includes the requester has to have clear profile picture, professional identification and a number of common friends and last but not the least, his/her recent posts which say a lot about him/her.
The reason I am sharing this is, couple of days back I got a friend request in facebook from a guy who is HR Manager of a renowned organisation in Bangladesh. Having found that he meets all the standards, I accepted him to my friends’ list. But to my utter surprise, within fifteen minutes of acceptance, I got a text from him in my FB messenger saying, ‘What is the possibility of getting HR job there?’ At first, it took me couple of seconds to understand whether the text was meant for me. When I realised, it was, it made me really surprised and set me thinking how could a professional guy ask someone a personal question on the social network without showing any manners?! He asked in such a way as if he was asking something to his subordinate colleague. Why didn’t he show any courtesy before asking something to an unknown person who he was just connected at social network platform? Why did he take it for granted? He didn’t even know me, let alone over familiarity. Being a high official, why doesn’t he know and show this simple courtesy? All these questions have inspired me to pen down this article.Almost all the invention of the world has got positive and negative sides of it. But it is for sure, the product was invented in the first place with the intension of doing good only. Afterwards, it was us who sometimes misused it. For example, dynamite was invented to help build roads through mountains but was used to kill people in wars. 200 years fast-forward from dynamite invention, Facebook was created in February, 2004 to help keep and build social network which is simply an awesome idea. Because of Facebook, I found my school friend after 30 years and I was able to see pictures of my extended family members which was perhaps quite impossible to get hold of them after this long time. I’m sure, millions of people worldwide have had this kind of experience through different social network platforms like Facebook. But as this is a social network, you have to maintain a social behaviour. You have to abide by the basic rules and show proper etiquette and manners. Well, there comes the vital question, where do we learn etiquette and manners of life?
Well, three places are there in our life where we should learn etiquette and manners from. And they are: our home, our academic institutions and our work place. It is said, home is the best institution to learn the ground rules of life. Whatever instilled in our brain in this period will accompany us throughout your entire life journey. It does really matter what we learn this time. Who do we learn from in this period? From our parents, so the parents have to know and practise all the etiquette and manners in the first place. If the parents don’t know the five magic words in everyday life (Thank you, you’re welcome, sorry, excuse me and please), how come they will teach their children? That’s why it is said, home is the best institution and parents are the best teachers.
Our second learning platform is our academic institution. We learn from our teachers, lessons, texts and even senior students. Not only etiquette, manners but also ethics and morality are also taught at school level education. Life skills lessons are started to be instilled in the students’ brain at this stage of life.
Our third and last learning platform is our workplace. Well, you can say, our entire life is a learning platform. Yes, 100% true; we should learn every single day of life. But, professional life is a place where we learn or sometimes are forced to learn through some training or workshops the professional etiquette and manners for the sake of our own professional development as well as organisation’s development. These are mostly conventional soft skills which include effective communication skills, interpersonal skills, leadership skills, organisational skills, selling skills, persuasion skills, management skills, time management skills, meeting management skills, team work skills, mentoring/coaching skills, presentation skills, self-promotion skills, networking skills, facilitating skills and the list may go on. And now it is widely accepted that people skills, I mean, soft skills really pay off on a win-win situation for an employee and for the organisation. And that’s why, soft skills training are on sharp rise everywhere.
Now knowing all these, or at least having a basic idea about these skills and practicing them in your professional, personal and social life will, of course, make you stand out in a crowd or take you to a new height in your career. Knowing the social etiquette is an inseparable part of your professional life. You simply cannot risk not knowing them and losing people around you, the way the guy lost me in this story. Mind it, people are your biggest strength in your professional, social and even personal life. So, you must know the basic social etiquette to have a strong social interpersonal relation. Here are the basics:
1. Be sure to introduce yourself by text message while you send friend request to anyone on the social network. Show proper manner. It really pays off!2. Be double careful about the comments you are leaving on their posts. Your intention is not to hurt their feeling, for sure.
3. Be sure to show proper respect to anybody’s privacy. Don’t unnecessarily wave your palms on their messengers. They may not be free like you.
4. Don’t share something too personal on social network. Be very careful about sharing your family members’ birthday and other personal information. A third party is always eagerly waiting to collect them.
5. Know the boundary between social life and personal life and act accordingly.
The writer is a Soft Skills Trainer, Edmonton, Canada firstname.lastname@example.org