How to adopt good manners in times of coronavirus crisis

With the spread of the Covid-19, human relationships have taken a different turn. In each household, members of the same family are getting to know each other much better, thus unintentionally establishing rules of good behaviour, so that co-living on a long-term can be bearable. In professional circles, the relationships between employees and between them and their employers have been “lightened”, as would have said Ms. Anne Debard, founder and CEO of “Etiquette à la française” and “AD Excellence” (both enterprises are pioneers in the field of consulting, training and coaching in matters of service, etiquette, protocol and intercultural management). To understand this relational “metamorphosis” and so as to learn how to better manage our relationships with others, Ms. Debard does not fail to give us the keys to successful means of communication.

One might assume that the world has entered a transitional phase today, where our life before the Covid-19 is fully questioned and the one we will have to face after the crisis is impatiently awaited. In the current context where the whole world is living in containment, how can we understand the use of Etiquette and good manners?

Today, we are in a transitional phase, waiting what will happen next. We all had to organize our daily life differently, trying to manage alternately children, family, work and social life. I would say that both, Etiquette and good manners, are now, and more than ever, very crucial for personal and professional relationships. The “codes” have undoubtedly been lightened. One reason is that people no longer have to rub shoulders with each other. Another one, is that the collective fear caused by the Covid-19 pushed human beings to concentrate on the essential parts of life and get rid of all superfluous concerns. We can clearly notice how people are worrying about each other, having been all in the same trouble: kind gestures, mutual daily help, carrying for the most weak ones… all these “charitable acts” can only mean that good manners still exist between humans and will remain an important asset in a constantly changing world.

 

 

What do you think will be the impact of this situation on human behaviour in the future?

It is the experience of the past that can give us clues about future human behaviour. The consequences of this whole situation on humans will be felt on different levels; on one hand, some people will clearly go back to their old habits, forgetting what they have experienced during this difficult period, while others will manage to have a lighter life, based on the essentials, preparing themselves in case another wave of coronavirus would suddenly appear. On the other, many individuals will know extreme fear or phobia towards what’s happening around them, others will develop a combination of these three reactions. Meanwhile, let us stay optimistic and learn to appreciate the life we have been given.

Do you think that physical contact as a way of greeting used in many of the Mediterranean countries will disappear after the containment?

Kissing and hugging in many Mediterranean countries is a part of the various forms of greeting, emphasizing the attachment to a person, the joy of seeing him again, the will to getting to know him in an informal context, or simply expressing a friendly “thank you”. Once the containment is over, people will keep on considering social distancing measures. In my opinion, a real “comeback” of the social physical contact will only occur after people get the proof that all kinds of risks have been eliminated… except for those who have made the decision of adopting social distancing measures indefinitely…

What advice / tips related to the “Business Etiquette” can you give to professionals working from home?

The “Business Etiquette” is a crucial element that conducts social behaviour in professional environments. These codes are the expression of mutual respect. We have been lately witnessing the dissemination of plenty of online advice on how to remain professional while working from home. A small example is the importance of keeping in good shape even when working behind the screen: taking care of your physical appearance reflects a professional and serious image. In addition to that, one should also take care of the background during a video conference… Participants are not supposed to see a messy place… this could affect your personal credibility. Let us not forget that containment will take an end soon and that human interactions will resume, so we will always be sensitive to the ones who have interacted with us with good manners…

How to participate in children education during this period of containment?

This period is actually special, since we are seeing how much time parents are able to dedicate to their children. It is certainly not easy for those who have to work at the same time or for those who are sharing small areas. However, knowing that your children will appreciate your availability and your dedication is of extreme value. Use this time to build things together with them. You could, for example, redraw the interior of your house or let them play the role of the “teacher”… One could always learn something from these small creatures… You could also find ways to start learning a new language online… Most important is to keep your child busy. By talking, playing with him and showing him love and affection, you are creating a strong family bond.

“Stress makers” are becoming more and more numerous today. How can we avoid them for a better living?

There are many stress “doers” in life. They are mainly caused today by the sanitary problem due to Covid-19, but also by the constant media hype that is leaving no more room for other “good” news. Avoiding the stress in such a situation turns out to be a real challenge. So to be able to avoid these toxic vibes, I advise to use this time constructively. Why not rethink your life, revive your forgotten hobbies, recreate your personal space? Many of us are using this time to tidy up, to clean, to paint, to learn music, a new language, to practice physical exercises at home, to cook, to spend more time with friends and family… So let us take advantage of this period of containment…

 

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