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Thursday, 22 October 2015

Manners and Mannerism

One should have good manners to build up positive relationship and to achieve success in life. What exactly does good manners mean? As explained earlier, there are certain set of rules, which the players are expected to follow in any game or sport,  similarly in any society, a set of manners are prescribed mostly conventionally which the people are expected to follow in  public life.

The way you work, the way you talk and the way you express your feelings in the form of gestures, the modulation in your tone, your dressing code, your body language certainly have and leaves its own impact either positive or negative on the people around you to whom you are associated with. You are at liberty to do whatever you want to do when you are alone or left alone. Nobody questions about it, because nobody knew what you were or are doing when you are alone. It is okay.

But, when you are in public, you need to interact with people who hail from different cultures, different environments etc. Hence there are standard set of rules, customs or ways which are universally accepted. If you want to be successful and if you want appreciation and gain importance from the people in the society you have to adhere honestly to this behavioral pattern; there is no pretention with regard to manners. Rest assured your individuality is not at stake.



For example, if you are attending an official function, the dress code plays very important role and your interaction with different people too. In order to have a free flow of interaction it is important to have the knowledge of current events, political, sports etc., and have latest information about the possible topics which might arise during such functions. Do not get tensed even if you do not have any knowledge about the happenings around the world, it is enough if you are able to understand the human psychology, and you can easily win over.

When you are attending a marriage function, definitely the scenario will be quite different; your dress code will change. Yet it should be dignified and should be acceptable. There, the topics will be different. You should have lot of sense of humor, while cracking the jokes; at times you should also enjoy the jokes cracked on you. It’s a give and take policy. The manners expressed reveal your inner personality, your thoughts, your ideas on various subjects; it reveals the real ‘you’ or your real self to others.

In my official career span of more than 33 years, I might have met more than one lack (0.1 million) people; most of the times, the same people in different situations and occasions with different moods. One thing I had learnt is to respect their traditions and their views.  This is possible only when you expand your consciousness and willing to assimilate different kinds of people with different cultures. You have nothing to lose, on the contrary gain more and more. I had attended marriage functions of different tribes and people in Africa and funerals as well. When you become a part of the occasion and participate whole heartedly in it, you will gain much love and respect from one and all. Travelling different parts of the globe, visiting the remote places, I had really enjoyed the various colors of the same fabric.

In Africa, when I visited an African friend’s house, I was very much impressed the way they receive the guests. First of all, the head of the family greets and welcomes the guest to step into their house and then followed by his wife who kneels down respectfully and greets the guest then their sons and daughters. Ladies kneel down respectfully and invite the guest whole heartedly. I strongly feel that these manners have some factual significance; because, the women play a very important role in extending hospitality to the visitors and kneeling down symbolizes humility, which we say as “Atithi Devo Bhava.”

Similarly, the twins are very much respected particularly in Uganda and the father enjoys the title of Salango and the mother Nalango. These parents will commend lot of respect from the society. When you learn to respect different civilizations, different cultures and customs, the rate of your acceptance by those people will be very high. With open arms they embrace you.

I have learnt a lot by travelling in the interior parts of entire East Africa mingling with African people, learning more and more about their cultural aspect and following them. I gained their confidence and friendship. I personally feel that our elders keeping in view of various customs have formulated certain rules and regulations which are beneficial to the society. However since this topic is very vast, I am leaving it at this point. Now let us discuss about mannerisms. Manners are different from mannerisms.

Mannerisms are the habitual ways of doing things, the pattern of behavior and the speech. These are also very important and we should be very cautious particularly when we are interacting in public places. Mannerisms are the habits acquired over a period of time while constantly remaining in association with some higher officials, like some keep on shifting in the chair, sometimes moving to left and to right, some standup restlessly shifting their weight sometimes on left leg and on right and some people rub their palms while talking and some people take lot of time to express their views with intermittent pauses and some people unconsciously fidget the papers, paper weights which are on the table of the officer. To whom they are talking with. All these things are nothing but mannerisms.

Some people tatter, some scratch their head all these symptoms are called nervousness. These mannerisms will definitely have a negative impact on the listener as the listener keeps watching the strange gestures the person is making; his body language conveys his mental status, which is definitely, according to the listener will be on the negative side. Hence, please make it a point to sit steadily with graceful gestures. Don’t stare, but look into the eyes and have an eye contact with the listener and express what you would like without disturbing the articles on his table. If you find anything interesting that you would like to make a note of it, seek permission from the listener or customer and do so.

I had seen practically many cases where the listeners turned very furious.  Imagine, a person sitting in the cabin was taking notes in the absence of concerned officer and suddenly the executive enters the chamber and notices that the other man was taking notes using his pen and pad. Naturally he becomes furious. So, it is always better to avoid such unpleasant occurrences.

The most important requirements are to remember the names and important events related to your clients or to your dear ones. If you want to strengthen your personal relations with the people and achieve success, always remember the names of the people with whom you interact and have some important business dealings. Remember the highly successful people in the world never ignore even a small detail of their customers. The industrialists, the popular poets, politicians, business people make it a point to remember even the smallest customer who later may prove to be a very prospective customer for them.

You can maintain a small pocket book in which you can enter the details of the person. For example, if you are visiting a shop or a clinic, start from the small man; make a note of his name and then the doctor’s or the customer’s or the person’s with whom you have business contacts. Or if you are an officer remember the names starting from the lower cadre to the middle and the higher level personnel. The names always break the barrier. It’s very useful if you are able to get the information about their date of birth, wedding anniversary etc, because people feel extremely happy since they are being given a lot of importance by you. The personal names matter a lot to the people. It not only breaks the barriers but also build up and strengthen the relationship. Let me give you an example which happened in my personal life.

This event occured when I was working with Organon, a Pharmaceutical Company which has specialized in the manufacturing of hormones and some steroids. Once I was on my way to Kothagudem located in Telangana State on an official work. Suddenly the bus broke down at a small village and I enquired with the bus crew how much time it would take to get the bus repaired to renew our journey. They told me that it would take at least an hour. I requested them to wait for me and told that I would be coming back within 30-45 minutes. Having nothing to do I had taken my bag in which I had kept all my literature and samples and enquired the local people whether there was any doctor in the vicinity? I was guided by a local villager and entered the clinic and gave my visiting card to the doctor and introduced myself. The doctor was pleasantly surprised and he could not believe that a multi-national company representative visiting a small village like his and was excited. He extended a warm reception. He told me that long time back he wrote a letter to the distributor requesting him to send a medical representative of Organon.

Then I recollected vaguely, my distributor was mentioning this. I gave him therapeutic index of our company samples and introduced the products and gave him few samples. He was one of the leading doctors of that small village and was extremely happy. From that small village which was not on my tour schedule, I got, in those days, an order worth of Rs. 1,500.00. The doctor came up to the bus, exchanged greetings with the driver and the conductor who knew them, offered me a cool drink and there after our association continued and every month my business with that doctor increased.

I think, after one year, I happened to visit this village and I requested the driver to stop for five minutes since the clinic was nearby, I rushed to the doctor, and I called out his name. The doctor was extremely happy, because I still remembered his name and I also took the opportunity to send the greeting card on his birthday. He was very happy and told me that host of people visit him promoting the products but nobody had put any extra effort to remember his name and date of birth.  The business relationship also increased month after month.

Hence, please remember the first name of your customer or an official, or a friend or an acquaintance to strengthen your relationship, take some time to post a greeting card on his birthday or wedding day. This shows that you are giving importance to other people. It is not a big deal, just you have to maintain a pocket note book and enter the details. Every month just go through the note book and accordingly send the greetings to those people. I assure you that you will be remembered throughout the life time and there is every possibility of becoming close friends. Please do not ignore even a small person. Who knows this small person may turn into a big celebrity or a big business man tomorrow.

In 1973, when I was working as medical rep I used to tour Nalgonda District of Telangana State in India to meet the doctors. During the tea break all the doctors used to assemble in their staff room and that was the time for me to meet all the doctors, at one go. All the medical reps used to ignore one surgeon who was new to that village and got transferred to Nalgonda District, I alone used to spend maximum time with that doctor explaining about my products.

My fellow reps used to tease me that I was wasting my time and energy. It so happened that within six months the doctor had picked up his practice and had become the top most doctor in that area. I made it a point to meet him at home around 2’O clock if the doctor was not available because of some emergency surgery, by that time the rest of the reps used to finish off their work and leave the place. The doctor one day told me that I was the only person who  met him regularly for the last six months and detail the products even though his practice was on the budding stage. And by that time since his practice had improved considerably he asked me ‘Sir, what products you want me to prescribe’. Then I humbly requested him to prescribe only those products which he had faith. Then the doctor had become No. 1 practitioner, and because of this No. l practitioner I had completed my target two months in advance. I built up very good rapport with his entire family members and sometimes I used to have lunch with his family. Hence, lesson no. 1 is – “Never ignore a small person.” ‘Give equal importance to everyone.”

The interactions need not and should not be superficial. some people who look something special and different from others, you can recognize their potential in different fields, get extra information from them their name, date of birth, wedding day etc., and just take some time to wish them on various occasions as I told you already. If you show some interest in them they also take equal interest in you and that is how the exchange of energies take place. I had given importance to small and big persons alike and they reciprocated in the same way by giving attention, importance and respect.  Please remember one thing, that nobody is perfect or know everything. Treat everybody as your teacher and try to listen to them like an obedient student. Right from an attendant to the higher official everybody is important to you.


 Apart from the three important features like physical appearance, the voice, manners & mannerisms there are certain other things which are also important. So, you need to list out, them and prepare their priority list. This choice is left to the readers. In life small things which we ignore suddenly gain lot of importance and pave the way to the road for success.