Last year in Feb 2012, a ship off the Kenyan coast of Africa cut undersea (submarine) network cables. This extrodinary event started when three cables were cut:
Ten days later, the East African Marine Systems (TEAMS) cables were cut by a ship anchored in restricted waters. The outage affect 9 countries (Register, 2012).
These outages, whether they are malicious sabotage attacks, or simply an accident, severed lines affect communications and ecommerce in these emerging markets.
The 2013 interactive submarine cable map shows where the cable trunks are located. The map can zoom in on specific locations around the globe and even includes a latency table of the source and destination connections.
In the age of multimillion dollar business deals being made in turtlenecks, sneakers, and jeans, one might think "etiquette" is no longer applicable. The very mention of the word "etiquette" evokes a Victorian-era clothes, stiff posture, and proper pronunciation of each syll-a-ble.
In reality, etiquette still has a place in the boardroom, the cubicle, and the workplace. The following etiquette "reminders" (I hesitate to call them rules) apply to all work environment settings.
Yes ma'am, I use manners! Please and thank you are timeless words that show proper respect and consideration. During business dealings, we would do well to extend these words in friendly banter or the pressure of business dealings. A friend of mine commented that three boys walked through a door without consideration of a young girl on crutches. Another young lady held the door open for her to pass through. It's no just chivalry, it's being aware of our surroundings. Besides, the young lady on crutches might be in my next meeting! Or an observant customer might be watching.
2. Names, Organizations, Background
One thing that will impress others is knowing their name. Even before we meet, I research the background, position, experiences of the folks I'm dealing with. In a business setting, it helps to "orient" oneself and others and understand the stakeholders and their positions. Folks like to know we are familiar with their organization, duties, or background. Proper etiquette holds that we do not go to far down some of these paths, it may be unacceptable/inapplicable to discuss background experiences (prior engagements, prior employers, past organizations, etc) during a workplace meeting.
Our smile might be the only one some people see all day. I make it a point to make eye contact and smile. Sometimes it goes unnoticed, other times I get a positive response. If other people are grumpy or negative, they have to own that. Their foul mood will not be a result of your sour face. It might even change their mood. It's worth the effort to smile....it doesn't cost much, and it might make a difference in somebody's day!
Surely there are other examples of business etiquette and volumes could be written on the "thou shalls" and "shall nots." These are three simple things I do. Please share your etiquette tips on twitter @jeffdaniels
Dr. Daniels is focused on Aerospace & Defense, technology management and systems engineering.