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The Etiquette of Technology

Ah…technology…ever changing, ever improving just to make our lives simper and the ability to communicate that much easier. There’s only one problem. It seems with the advent of every new gadget not only does accessibility increase but so does the extent of rudeness and lack of courtesy.

Shalini Richards
MQ Editor
Initially it was email. That annoying little “ding” notifying you “You have mail!” Then cell phones. With every imaginable ring you can think of and people answering them everywhere from board meetings to washroom stalls! It has gotten so bad now that there are warnings posted everywhere from the gym locker room to the movie theater. Don’t even get me started on “photo phones”!

Now it’s the Blackberry®. It’s an all in one. Convenient yes, annoying? Definitely! There have been many a time I have been in a meeting with colleagues, people I consider as “professionals” who just can’t seem to keep their fingers off that machine! It has even been rumored that Blackberry® type of PDA are being referred as “Crackberry” because of their addictive nature. Imagine it—head down, clicking away, sending messages, and commenting about responses received.

Or better yet, being in a one-on-one meeting and the other party inexcusably comments—“Just one sec-I gotta send this real quick…” Leaving you sitting there dumfounded wondering what comes next, maybe your colleague will just get up and leave the room with no explanation or even a good bye.

I have even had the fortune of attending a HR presentation recently where the presenter had their notes on their Blackberry®. Now, I’m no presentation guru, but even I know enough to face your audience—not have your head down the whole time reading notes-from cue cards or from a hand held device!

Now don’t get me wrong. I am all for technology and making life a little bit easier, and fun. However, this is more a comment of our inability to communicate with each other face to face. The simple thought of having a conversation has left us, and because of our lack of use of daily conversation, we have lost the etiquette of communicating.

I believe every PDA should come with warning labels:

“Warning: the user of this device may become rude and inconsiderate of others while using-responding to emails or calls as they come in, regardless of their live audience or their surroundings.”

Here’s the bottom line people: if we continue this lack of common sense and rudeness towards others while using these devices, pretty soon we won’t have any one to communicate with and there will be no use for these devices.

My advice: TURN IT OFF! The messages will still be there when you turn it back on again and the person facing you will feel like the most important person in the room.

Those who laugh…LAST

Rather than “don’t get mad, get even,” try don’t get mad… get funny and laugh!

We all face challenges and obstacles every day, no matter what is going on; but it’s all the little stressors that will add up over time and play havoc on our emotional and physical health.

Signs of physical and emotional stress have many forms – insomnia, headaches, muscle tension, gastrointestinal distress, mood swings, lower immune resistance and an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.

Many studies are revealing that it hurts more when we don’t laugh. Author Barbara Johnson notes “Laughter is to life what shock absorbers are to an automobile. It won’t eliminate the potholes but it sure makes the ride smoother“ & “The most wasted day is one without laughter”

In fact, additional studies have indicated that a 5-year old laughs 250 times a day, while some adults may only laugh 250 times a month.

Why is laughter so important?

Clearly laughter strengthens the immune system, improves cardiovascular conditioning, suppresses depression/anger and produces endorphins that provide us that feeling of calm and well-being.

What’s the point?

Like the ritual of taking a daily vitamin, incorporate laughter into your day and preferably plenty of it! You will immediately feel the benefit, instead of allowing the “doom and gloom” feeling to linger over you.

Laughter is free of charge, instantaneous and always in stock so what have you got to lose?

Cindy Larocque is a Senior Staffing Consultant with The Pollack Group in Ottawa.


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