Have you ever had an important meeting or event that got you so nervous that you had a nightmare about it seeing yourself showing up naked and had every one shocked and pointing at you until you realized it and felt so embarrassed that you wished you could just disappear?! Well this isn’t about that. This is actually about wanting to be there naked! No not literally. Just read on.
Going back in memory to college years you must remember that one of the important courses of management was Organizational Behavior which is supposed to teach business students about group and individual dynamics inside an organization and a huge part of that is communication.
After graduating if you were as enthusiastic as I am you probably read dozens of articles about business etiquette and all the behavioral rules that govern business relationships whether within an organization or externally with its clients suppliers partners or any other stakeholders. We study up on such models because from the beginning of our careers we aspire to reflect an image of professionalism among our peers and our business contacts. We read about interview etiquette email etiquette lunch/dinner meeting etiquette and the entire bundle of business etiquette for the smallest details that we need to tend to like in the following email cover for a job application:
"Dear Mr. (last name) I would pleased to be a part of your esteemed organization… I believe I'll be a great asset to your staff… I would be glad to show up for an interview to discuss how I can contribute to your organization's success… Looking forward to meeting you. Yours sincerely; My Name."
We repeated those words in one form or another almost robotlike because we wanted to sound as perfect as possible. Don't get me wrong I'm not saying that it's a bad thing. It's definitely a must if you're a fresh graduate looking to nail your first interview or job; it's a phase that we all must go through. But things are different now! The business world has been shifting from formal to casual in a rapid pace. All thanks to Social Media that's changing the way business is conducted by re-engineering communication. Your potential employers colleagues superiors managers clients etc. now are with you everywhere and at all times through social networks like Facebook Twitter Linkedin and many others.
We practically have our whole lives in all of its aspects published online for all our business contacts to see and it goes against the golden rule we were always urged to abide by "Never mix business with pleasure." -Pleasure here referring to social activities including online ones.- Let's say you applied to a job at a company that likes to do a little digging about its candidates. You could polish your resume as much as you want but with one hit of a button in Google search of your name potential employers can practically uncover everything you did in your life up until that moment (including your naked baby pictures that your mom published in her Facebook photo albums). Moreover they can even keep up with what you're doing in real time if you're on Twitter.
You can try to keep it all professional and well-mannered on your social networks but the formality and professionalism that you work hard to encompass during business meetings aren’t things you'd want to fake 24/7. I say "fake" because we're all human beings and we're bound to have personal things we're embarrassed of or even just not inclined to make explicit during business interactions for a number of psychological reasons (even though we all know that we all have and do such things). Keeping up with such an attitude of professionalism and formality throughout our life would just be impossible exhausting and just simply not fun!
So we tend to get loose on social networks with our family friends and the new interesting people we meet every day. And we definitely share our personal life publish details we wouldn't normally make public in a business setting and basically reveal our true selves. We practically are naked in front of our business contacts. And I don't know about you but I love it! I welcome the chance to act like a social human being who can talk about work and anything else I'm passionate about just honestly and casually. That would relieve us from the stress of having to act like cold robots all the time. I also believe that it drives us to be better humans because now if you're just a big fake who preaches ethics and morals at work that you never abide by in your personal and social life you better shape up or you're going down! However this new social-business fashion freedom also comes with its set of limitations that you should keep in mind when you're undressing in front of your business contacts.
I'll discuss these in another post titled "4 Easy Tips For The Social-Business Networkers" as to not make this one too long and scare potential interested readers who aren't so fond of theses. Now that was just my personal opinion but I'd love to know yours: Would you as an employer/employee/client rather stick to formality in business or like to do business naked?!