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Who's expecting you to follow principles?
Enterprise Learning Hours
- BY  RADHA VIJAYARAGHAVAN
When you are at a party, you accept certain practices.
When you attend an interview, you follow definite rules.
When you are in your office, you observe general formalities.
When you are sending an eMail, you take certain precautions.
Article Published: 'Invitation Issue' of SME Business Digest, a Digital Business Magazine - Feb-Mar2021
Who’s expecting you to follow these principles? Why should you follow such practices, rules, formalities, and precautions? What makes you accept these values? Which one is stopping you against your solicitous practice?
 
All these questions relate to a simple answer. There’s a society around us. It has people of varied nature and characters. My behavioural practices may vary from yours. Your practices may differ from the other person. That person may be different from another person and it goes on. Imagine that we all have to work together. Conflicts and concerns would crop up as we may follow individual-practices. If the system has to be right, there should be some governance with a set of common principles. They are the ‘protocols’ or the ‘cultural procedures’ in our social system.
 
Today, procedures and styles run global businesses. In other words, ‘global etiquette’ and ‘cultural manners’ set emotions and actions. A set of ‘Ethical Values’ in enterprises is the ‘Code of Behaviour’ and that takes care of organizational behaviour.
 
A teenager offering a seat to an elderly person during a local bus travel is a mark of respect in our society. Also, the younger ones touching the feet of elders to get their blessings is another cultural practice followed in India.

Listening to someone who is speaking to you is the ‘etiquette’ and how you  conduct during the conversation is ‘manners’.
 
This article will be very helpful if you are looking for employment or just taken up employment in an enterprise.
 
The dimensions of practices, communication, and presentation decide the social relationship. ‘How well you treat others’ and ‘how well others treat you’ are the two sides of a relationship-balance. They are the table stakes for enterprise relationship and the new management paradigm in operations.
Wishes and Greetings:
Greet your colleagues in the mornings and evenings or whenever you find them in lobbies. Do not wish just for a task, but be sincere. Even if you’re separated by a distance, just use sign language to greet them. When others greet you, reciprocate instantly and don’t go blind in such situations.
 
Calling by Names:
Calling people by names prevails in global corporate companies and not many regional-corporate, government, enterprise companies encourage such a practice. For that matter, even in educational institutions, they use suffixes like ‘sir’ or ‘madam’ along with the names to call people like ‘Ravi Sir’ or ‘Anusha Madam’. In small and medium companies, calling by names claims to be disrespectful.
 
In conversation with you:
Pay more attention when a person is speaking to you and acknowledge by gestures to prove that you’re listening. Make eye-to-eye contact and get the feeling that the person is important too. Listen sincerely and do not cut or reject the conversation. When you’re expressing your opinions, make the other person understand the seriousness of your expressions.
 
Do not disturb (DND):
When others are busy, give them space, and when you’re busy, tell them straight. Any hesitation would affect the timeline and completion-tasks.
 
Handling Criticisms: 
Disparagement is a major disease in any organization. Criticism normally comes out of mistakes in practices. If you are under criticism, control your anger and look for areas of improvement. Criticism is not a leader’s quality. Don’t criticize others, but appreciate the good part. Express the areas of improvement humbly.
 
Be open and transparent on issues:
Even if the issue is critical and may face repercussions, always be open and transparent in conveying the truth by justifying the situations. If something is wrong, admit it openly and seek apologies. It will provide remedial measures even in critical stages. You cannot expect others to be open and transparent and in such cases, be polite and humbly convey your points.
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Failures and disappointments:
If you are the victim in such a situation, believe that a change could bring another good change. Rely on your strengths and increase your trust in opportunities. If someone is a victim, do not rejoice the disaster. Move forward to extend your support and help to make the situation better for the person.
 
Refrain from gossips:
Gossip is always a ‘boomerang’ kind of an attack. Do not waste your time involving in gossips and refrain from it. Deep indulgence will weaken the value in communication and affect the character. You may lose people if you are a gossiper.
 
Avoid arguments:
Even though you are right, avoid arguments; instead, pick the correct points and discuss with others. Arguments are normally picked for the sake of pleasure, power, or ego by proving the points vehemently. Not all arguments win all cases. If a person is hooking you up in arguments, do not stand as a personality; make it very clear that you want discussion and not arguments.

Business Ethics:
Employers set the standards among employees and create ‘codes of conduct’ with a strong sense of ethical practices. This rulebook will be the standard guidelines for all the employees to follow uniform practices, frame the working habits, and maintain interpersonal relationships. This ethical book defines client values, confidentiality, policy violations, data protection, employability, sexual harassment, unprofessional attitudes, secrecy, safety, and security of the company, employees, customers, vendors, and contractors as well. Employees can quickly understand the quality of people, process, projects, management, and clients of the organization. It will also guide how to keep the business in your mind and sentiments in your heart; also the serious repercussions in case of deviations.
Magnitudes of Communication:
Communication is the imperative part of any business and it can represent your business formats, standards and templates. It is easy to evaluate the people, product, and profit from the theme. Naturally, the standards in communication across the organization are set up to associate verbal, non-verbal, and symbolic representations through codes of communication.
 
English is important in business:
English is just a language and many of us equate it with ‘communication’ in India. Keeping politics and philosophical-thoughts apart, English is a business language that can give you lots of strengths in business with an increased amount of confidence, courage, and knowledge. A person with English knowledge can easily get a job. Most of the organizations think that it would be easy to train a person who can speak English and it is proved as a truthful practice.
 
Basics in oral communication:
Right time, right channel, and right transmission would make the communication successful. Prefer the right medium of communication depending on the type of the matter.

For example, if it is a legal matter, better to write an email rather than speaking over a telephone. If it is a matter to fix an appointment for a party, a telephone call will do to complete the process. Prefer face-to-face communication to a great extent especially in discussing critical points.
 
When you speak to the other person choose the best ‘language protocol’ in making the person understand your point. Do not exhibit your emotions or conflicts. Control your tone and voice in a balanced way to take it as a discussion and not as an argument. Use the correct body language and signs in communication.
 
When the other person is speaking to you, make sure you observe in full. Acknowledge with attentiveness as silent observation is not etiquette. Do not express your anger in the case of conflicts and avoid negative body language. Seek clarification in the cases of qualms during a conversation.  
Basics in written communication
In a business environment, have a standard template for different functions like peers, teams, clients, leaders, escalations, vendors and others. Use formal and standard words that are usable to the levels of people. Don’t use unfamiliar words; also restrict the usage of idioms, dialects, phrases, and unknown jargons. Use the ‘first-person’ format not exceeding 15-20 words in a sentence and avoid writing big paragraphs. Correct your grammar and check your spellings before you send it across to the other person.
 
Business Meetings:
There are several types of official meetings. Face-to-Face Meeting, Telephonic- Direct call meetings, Telephonic- Direct Conference Call Meetings, Telephonic –Bridge Conference Call meetings and Video- Conference Call Meeting. It is better to understand modern gadgets in the first place.

Enter the meeting room at the right time for a call. Introduce yourself when you find some unknown people in the group. When you direct a question, specify the name of the person. It is better to avoid parallel calls or discussions during a meeting. Focus on the current discussion and do not drift away. Avoid putting meeting call on hold and making other participants wait for you. Speak slowly and clearly to express your views.

Circulate the reports to participants before the start of the meeting. If you’re sharing the screen, continue to mention the page number, column or row number for a clear understanding of others. Always end the meeting with a ‘thanking note’.

eMail Etiquette:
If email option is your professional mode of communication, stick to it and do not use any other mode for formal sharing of information. Set your templates for different people with signatures, disclaimers and so on.

When you are writing an email, fill the subject line in the first place. Decide your mail message is long or short. It’s a myth that you should send only short mails. You can write long messages too divided into different paragraphs. However, the recommended practice for sharing information is to use a text file and send it as an attachment in the case of long messages. Avoid using more abbreviations for the text, but use those that are officially acceptable.
 
When you are directly writing to a person or persons, use ‘To’ address. When you want some other people to be aware of your message, mark them in ‘CC’, as ‘carbon copy’. Similarly, BCC stands for ‘Blind Carbon Copy’, wherein you want to inform the message to the concerned people and mark the same message to others discretely or without the knowledge of the others. It could be due to privacy issue too.
 
When you want to reply a message, click ‘reply all’ so that it will be shared with all the people who are authorized to get it. Similarly, when you forward the mail to another recipient, do not forget to have all the mail IDs. Also, maintain the same subject line for replies to have the continuance of further messages related to the same subject.
 
Look for your attachments. Not all types of files can be sent through emails. For example, you cannot send .exe files. In such cases, you can use zip files and share it. However, the security settings in the other computer will decide the acceptance of your file or zip folder.

Levels of Appearance:
Appearance is purely a personal area of people. However, any working environment would expect the employees to find qualities in their appearances with neat attire, groomed hair, hairstyle, beard, clean hands, polished shoes, trimmed-nails and so on. Official dress code is distinct and it is defined in almost all business units irrespective of sizes. 
 
A relationship in an enterprise is something how you are associating with your colleagues. Etiquette is a set of protocols in customary behaviour. You’ll learn how best you can manage the codes of conduct in your workplace.
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