Top 5 Tips on Electronic Etiquette

By Kathleen E. Murphy

Besides your license, credit card and keys, what is the one item and gadget you always have on or near you? Most people will tell you it’s their phone, or some version of an electronic device they use to keep in touch with the rest of the world (e.g., Smart Phone, iWatch, tablet, etc.). With electronic communication technology advancements, we are able to keep in touch 24/7 with virtually anyone else who is connected to a mobile communication device. There are clear advantages to this, but there is also a downside to always being “in touch”, and it is easy to lose sight of what the “unwritten rules” of electronic etiquette might be. Actually, do they really exist, and who is the “keeper” of these rules? If there are electronic etiquette rules, do you know what they are, or have you considered whether you might be breaking them on a regular basis?

In doing research on this topic, I was surprised to find that Forbes Magazine last published an article back in 2010 called Top 10 Electronic Etiquette Faux Pas This article covered a variety of electronic gadgets and the faux pas noted were reasonable and exercised common sense, but I am going to focus strictly on our Smartphones, and offer (5) tips on how not to offend others if you do any of these actions with your phone.  I know most of these will make you roll your eyes, but I guarantee you many of you have done at least one of these things in the last day or two. Don’t try to admit you are not guilty, as I have seen just about everyone breaking what I will call the Top (5) Smartphone Etiquette rules. Here is my version of the unofficial Smartphone Etiquette rules which if applied, could up the ante on our professional behavior to a whole new level of being polite and more aware and respectful of others around us.

  1. Phone in the bathroom – Talking on the toilet or anywhere inside of a public or private bathroom. Think twice before you do this, and how it could be construed as being offensive on so many levels – hygiene being one of them. I can’t tell you how many toilets I have also heard flushing during conference call meetings, and who really wants to be hearing this?
  2. Bringing your phone to your interview – whether you are the interviewer or interviewee. It seems like common sense for the interviewee not to bring their phone to the interview, and to give 100% of their attention to the interviewer, but I have also witnessed and been thoroughly disappointed by countless interviewers who have brought their phone to the interview, taken a call or two and responded to incoming texts while they were interviewing me, or someone else if it was a group interview situation. Not only is this incredible rude, it is highly disrespectful of the interviewee who deserves your full attention. Think twice about working for someone or a company who has employees who bring their phones to an interview.
  3. Taking calls or texting when you are dining with other people. Maybe they could claim they are addicted to their phone, and I have heard this is possible, but I would say most people are not addicted to their phone although they might feel like they are. The point is, when you are dining with other people, it is one of the less common times you have their full attention, so each of you should be taking full advantage of this face-to-face interaction. If you are on your phone either talking or responding to incoming messages from email or your social media feeds, you are signaling to the person or people you are dining with they are not as important as the attention you are giving to your Smartphone content. Is this really the message you want to convey to them?
  4. Your phone is not going to make you stronger when you talk on it at the gym. I am a big fan of listening to music at the gym or possibly responding to either texts or emails, but it definitely is not a place I want to be hearing other people talking on the phone. Think about this the next time you queue up a phone conversation when you are at the gym. Perhaps you didn’t notice the people glaring at you when you were doing this.
  5. Meetings – When you are scheduled to be in a meeting, the expectation is you are there to be present and to contribute your full attention during the course of the discussion. When you are constantly checking your phone for incoming emails and other alerts which come up, you are essentially indirectly telling the people you are meeting with they are not as important as your phone, or the communications which are coming in. You are also not able to devote 100% of your attention to what is being discussed, as you are in a state of distraction when you switch between your phone and the “live” or “virtual” meeting. Is this the message you are intending to send?

Yes, there are numerous other “rules” I could come up with relating to peoples use of their Smartphone in places or situations they should not, but I limited it to five to give you “food-for-thought” and good fodder for office or social conversations. The bottom line is there are a plethora of other scenarios which are likely putting you in a situation of not being socially on top of your Smartphone etiquette. Do you agree, or do you have other examples of poor Smartphone etiquette?

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

Random Acts of Kindness

Do you ever think about the concept of Karma and whether there really is such a thing? The Hindu and Buddhism religions do, and they define it like a bank account of positive credits for the good things a person does, and negative debits associated with a person’s less than desirable actions. According to this concept, a human’s future fate will be based on the balance of their Karma bank when they reach the end of their current lifetime. I think there is some merit to this concept from a fundamental perspective of trying to do the right thing, and not causing harm to others, but who is really keeping track of these actions?

In the business world, a company may be judged and perceived as being society friendly or a company which has a positive Karma bank balance if they are overtly giving back to the community. They are earning their Karma credit by making monetary donations or allowing their employees to volunteer their time on company hours to give back to society. Both the company and the employees who are involved with positive community interactions benefit tremendously, and the higher the level the engagement, the greater the positive feeling the employees have about their company as being a great company to work for. Yes, it can be expensive for a company to allow their employees to volunteer their time while they are “on-the-clock”, and not all companies can do this during the typical business day, but they do not have to, as there are other ways to give back to a community. A few examples would be to organize a drive to collect either common food items needed at a food bank, or clothing and toiletry donations for a community homeless shelter for families. Collecting pet supplies for your local animal shelter is also a good option to consider.

Going back to the concept of who is keeping track of the Karma points being earned, brings me to the point of how it really does not matter whether anyone is keeping track. You know yourself if there are days or weeks when you personally, or others around you are earning or having Karma “points” taken out of their Karma bank. On days when you are making more Karma deposits than withdrawals, I bet you feel much better and more fulfilled personally. Doing nice things for other people, especially when they least expect it is what I wish more people would consider doing. Call this “random acts of kindness”, but wouldn’t it be wonderful if every day each human committed to doing something kind or nice for another person or multiple people?

Yesterday I had an opportunity to do something unexpected for a group of strangers walking through a park. While I was flying a kite, I overheard them saying they wish they could be flying a kite like I was. Being the extrovert I am, I asked them if they would like to really fly a kite, and that I could make this possible due to the fact I had an extra kite in my car. In full disclosure each kite only cost one dollar, but does it really matter how much it cost? The point is these three people were amazed by the fact I gave them a kite they could queue up in five minutes and be flying a kite at the park like I was. The expression on their faces of amazement that I had and was going to give them a kite was such an amazing feeling for me, and I couldn’t stop smiling when I saw how happy they were flying their kite – and much better than I was. Seeing their kite flying better and higher than mine made me really happy, but I think they might have actually been happier, as it was a complete surprise to them they would be doing this on a Sunday afternoon.

The element of surprise and delight are two fairly easy things to bestow upon other people. My hope for the future is that more people do their part in trying to add Karma points to their life each day by doing nice things for other people. To add to this concept, I would especially like to see more Karma related examples in professional environments where this concept is often an underserved or underutilized one. So, what can you do for someone today or tomorrow which will cause them to smile from an act of kindness and add some Karma points to your bank?

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

Get Ahead by Making Mistakes and Asking for Help.

If there is one thing which I have witnessed for years and which has seriously driven me crazy, it is seeing people; you know who you are, working on something for hours and not asking for help to accelerate the process of accomplishing the task. Yes, I know some people only learn if they “try” to do it themselves, fill in the blank for what that might be, but let’s face it, numerous hours are wasted because people are afraid to ask for help. What they do not realize is how much more they could learn if they asked for help instead of struggling through the task they do not know how to do.

The perception of making mistakes having a negative connotation is also a subject which drives me nuts. If there is one major tip I can share with you about life and business, it is that the best way to “learn” and to advance in your career is to make mistakes. If you are not making mistakes, you are not trying hard enough, and are playing it way to safe. Stop playing the “safe game”, make mistakes, and ask for help. Yes, it’s that simple, and you will not be fired for making a mistake, or asking for help. How do I know? I know this first hand because when I have made mistakes, or asked for help, I have always benefitted tremendously from doing so. It was intimidating asking for help, and incredibly scary and humbling admitting I made a mistake, but the net result far outweighed playing the “safe game”. I have also never fired anyone for making mistakes, or asking for help. Actually, I promoted most of the people who did both of these things.

Another “secret” I am going to share with you is that your boss or colleagues really do want to help you. Most people in general have a big heart, and sincerely want to help you. Scientifically there have been studies done to prove that people derive far more satisfaction from helping someone versus not doing so. Think about the last time you helped someone. Didn’t you feel better afterwards? You can thank the natural body chemical called dopamine for this, and it does not cost you anything, but it can be a naturally addictive side effect. Arguably not a bad one considering the negative chemically addictive alternatives. Let’s not go there, as we all know the opioid epidemic is out of control and too many good people and families have been impacted by this negative addiction.

Living in the Northeast part of the United States, there are towns in our region which are especially plagued by the dark side of opioids. Fortunately, there are programs being replicated that originated out of the Gloucester, Massachusetts Police Department to help address this issue. Thank you to the Gloucester Police Department for spearheading and doing something about and addressing the opioid drug epidemic.

Sorry about digressing from the original topic of why you should make mistakes, and ask for help, but both of these instances could apply to the opioid epidemic too. However, I am sure your situation is not nearly as dire as this example, but illustrates my point of why you should consider my advice. Since we all only have 24 hours each day to make the most of our days, and if you care about making the most of your time and being productive, consider the expression I have heard numerous times of “fail fast”. It is a simple yet impactful phrase, and there is a great deal of merit behind it. When we make mistakes, we typically learn more from making them than we do by sticking to the “status quo” of our routines.

I am still considering whether it is a blessing or a curse, but unless I am trying new things, making mistakes and feeling like I am constantly challenging myself, I feel like I am wasting my time, and quickly become bored. Perhaps this has to do with the fact I am entrepreneurially wired, but I can share with you I have had a far richer professional experience as a result of being this way.

In my first blog article, I shared with you that I am dyslexic. I did not find this out officially until I was 21 years old, but I always knew I learned and thought differently than everyone around me. The good news was as a result of having a learning disability, I knew I needed to ask for help to keep up, or to better understand what I was supposed to be doing – again fill in the blanks on this one. Becoming comfortable with asking for help was an essential survival method for me in both life and business. I quickly realized I did not have to know everything, and also became aware of the fact I should rely upon others who were far better at doing certain things than I was. Appreciating the fact others had strengths I did not have was something I also learned by asking for help, usually as a result of making a mistake. If someone could not help me, they generally knew who could.

In summary, if you want to get ahead in both life and business, please start becoming comfortable with making mistakes and asking for help. It is far easier to do than you might imagine, and I promise you, this is something I wish someone had given me as advice early on or at some point in my career.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

 

 

Start Trusting Your Instincts and See What Happens

I was reading a book called Thinking Fast and Slow by Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics laureate Daniel Kahneman, and came across a reference to how our brain works from an instinct perspective. He referenced to how when we are driving on the highway we can detect if someone in the car next to us might be dangerous, and how we will instinctively maneuver away from them. This same concept can apply in many scenarios, and it happens frequently to each of us every day without thinking about it. The point is we all have a natural ability to apply our instincts to help keep us safe and to detect and make decisions based on our internal feelings “compass”.

My last blog article called “Who’s Real, and Who’s Faking it?”  talked about using your instincts to detect whether someone is authentically representing themselves and how you can utilize your internal “bullshit” meter to detect if they are “real”. People who come across as overly confident are often “bullshit” artists, but sometimes they are so smooth in the delivery of their information, you may be mesmerized by what they are telling you and accept the information and them as being legitimate. My reference to the “bullshit meter” is similar to how you can engage your ability to tap into your instincts too, but you need to practice doing so to become comfortable with this powerful tool.

Since there are limited if not zero courses to help people with developing their instincts to help them, particularly in the business world, the next best way to hone your instincts is to practice relying upon them. I can guarantee you will be intimidated by relying on your instincts 100%, but “test driving” your instincts in many different instances is really the only way to become proficient at leveraging how powerful this innate tool is. I remember the first time someone called me out for not trusting my instincts. I was surprised by how they knew I did not trust my instincts and instead made a different decision. In this particular case, I did not trust my instincts about hiring a person, and hired them even though my instincts were telling me not to do so.

Fast forward to about 2-4 weeks from the first day the person was hired on my team, and I could clearly see I made my first hiring mistake. There were others on the team who really wanted this person to join the team, but I had many reservations which were mainly driven by my instincts, and I chose to ignore them. Big mistake, as the person turned out to be a theft, have a well-hidden police record buried deep in a Google search, and caused mayhem within the organization for several months until they were arrested by the police. Can you say “drama”? It was more than I had bargained for, and it is clear now I should have listened to my instincts and not have hired this individual.

Justin Fox wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review called “Instinct Can Beat Analytical Thinking” . I love this title, but the article itself gets pretty deep into what are referred to as heuristics, and really geeks-out about this particular theory based concept on instincts. I’ll spare you the gory details, and provide you with the quick summary on what this means. Essentially the concept of heuristics is about “rules of thumb”, or gut instincts which do not rely upon math or statistics to come to an answer. The theory suggests other decision making shortcuts which leverage a person’s experience can lead to making better decisions than relying upon scientific modeling. Sorry, but this is the least “geeky” version I can come up with on a Friday afternoon.

Essentially what I am suggesting from my years of experience of making business and life decisions is to start with having your decisions based on relying upon your own gut instincts. Before you take off the proverbial “training wheels” and rely 100% on your intuition, I can recommend you make your future gut decisions with a small dose of advice sprinkled in from another person you trust and know has a solid history of making sound decisions. Let me know how well your instincts are working for you, as I always enjoy hearing from my followers.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.

 

Who’s Real, and Who’s Faking It?

Have you ever been speaking with someone who is in a perceived authority position and thought to yourself, does this person really know what they are doing or talking about? Earlier in my career I would have rarely questioned someone’s authority or professional knowledge. I also presumed those who held a higher-ranking position knew what they were talking about and or doing, and earned their way into this role. News flash! I was wrong, and boy was I naïve as I thought everyone earned their way into their position and had the battle scars to prove it. Unfortunately, my early career reasoning about authenticity was so far from the truth, and I realized through experience there are many people in the proverbial business world and other professional industries who are faking it every day.

Over the years, I have learned and honed my “bullshit” (BS) meter to properly detect who is the “real deal” and who is wildly “faking it”. How did I learn to do this? One of the ways is by asking multiple questions and not accepting all information shared by the presumed authority as being the truth or credible. By asking multi-faceted questions about the information they are sharing, you will either intrigue them by your curiosity, or annoy them because they were not expecting you to question them. If the person gets annoyed with your questioning, there is a strong chance they are “faking” or misrepresenting the information they are telling you. They may also get defensive, try to change the subject or tell you they have to do something else immediately to avoid being caught by your “BS” meter.

There are a number of other ways to detect if a person is the “real deal”, and recently a friend of mine told me about a Netflix show called “Lie to Me” which has some fascinating ways in each episode to see first-hand how you can detect if someone is a “faker”. The show is about a guy and his colleagues who have mastered the art and profession of detecting if someone is telling the truth. Several ways they do this is by reading the person’s facial expressions and body language which includes where they look (e.g., looking down or away from the person you are speaking with often indicates they are misrepresenting the truth). Excessive swallowing, clinching their hands, speaking rapidly, fidgeting nervously and potentially sweating or having a difficult time expressing themselves verbally are also signs your BS meter should be going off.

Relying upon your intuition and emotional intelligence skills should not be overlooked as additional strategies to spot “fakers”. Another simple questioning technique you can leverage is to ask the person “Why did you say that?”, or to ask them for proof about where the source of their information is from. If you detect they are continuing to spin their web of deceit during your conversation, they probably are.

Naturally there are people who are professional BS artists, and we have all encountered them. There are also people who have sociopathic tendencies and are simply perpetually always misrepresenting the truth. Realistically this is a small portion of our population, and if you come across such people, you will likely be fooled by them, as they have mastered the art of deception. However, sometimes they do get caught, but not often. More often, people who are “faking it” are doing so to preserve their professional reputation or to avoid embarrassment for not knowing what they should know.

Over the course of time in anyone’s career they will inevitably come across a person or multiple people who are “faking it”, but the next time it happens, you will now have some methods to establish whether the person is credible, or if you have come across a “faker”. I hope you are able to benefit from these simple, yet effective methods of preventing you from being misled by false information which could be harmful or put you in a compromised position professionally. Good luck with refining your BS meter, and don’t be afraid to put it to the test.

Kathleen E. Murphy is the Founder, Chief Strategist and CMO of Market Me TooMarket Me Too has expertise in bridging marketing and sales teams and providing organizations techniques to accelerate their market growth, regardless of the industry they are in, or the business stage they are presently at. Contact Kathleen at kathymurphy@me.com.