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Rudeness Ratings and Easy Living!

July 8, 2010
Mary Jane Copps

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First, thanks to so many of you that sent me congratulations on the Pam Langille Memorial Award. I really appreciated each and every message.

Second, I’m often asked what the rudest “business” behaviour is in terms of telephone communication. For many people it is that distracted checking of the Blackberry while you are really supposed to be talking to them. Others get pretty ticked about cell phones that are left on during meetings and events, disturbing everyone with their inappropriate ringing. On her top ten list of rude things, Oprah includes clicking on a keyboard while talking on the phone. Although all of these things are irritating at times, nothing says rude to me more than people who don’t return phone calls. If you are one of these people, please consider the following:

1)When you choose not to return a phone call after we’ve spoken several times, perhaps even had a series of conversations, then your action (or lack thereof) is as inappropriate as walking away from me mid-sentence, or suddenly slamming a door my face.

2)Many people don’t return calls because they believe the other person, who’s calls they are not returning, should know what they are thinking, should be able to interpret what their not calling means. This is just immature, like a young girl in a ‘50s movie who pouts “If you loved me, you’d know what I wanted.”

3)If you’re not returning a call because you want to avoid conversation, fine. I know you’re busy and I can understand this choice. So call after hours and leave a message. That’s one of the joys of voicemail. And of course, you could send an email as well. At least that’s communication.

4)Know that you’re rudeness is remembered by others long after you’ve forgotten it. And given how closely we are all connected (LinkedIn proves this to me everyday), that could cost you money. If it is one of my calls you are not returning, are you 100% sure I am not one of your potential customers? And are you sure that your potential customers are not among my friends and associates, the ones I call up from time to time and vent about such and such a rude person?

It takes no time at all to pick up the phone and communicate clearly with someone. Okay, that’s not entirely true. A phone call with voicemail message takes 1.5 minutes. It’s better to find that 1.5 minutes than to have the word “rude” emblazoned on your forehead by others who tell two friends, who tell two friends, who tell ……

And what about you? What telephone behaviour crawls under your skin, makes you view someone else as rude? If you’ve got a moment, it would be great to hear from you, create a list we can all share.

Oh yes, I’ve been humming “Summertime, and the living is easy” because as I post this I’m officially on vacation. Two weeks of great friends and food, sunshine and rejuvenation. I wish you all wonderful vacations this summer and I’ll be back in touch with you on July 25th. Happy phonework! TLP

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