Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Don't be so formal.

You may have noticed that most of the time we say in formality "come'on yaar don't be so formal" but we sometimes mind if one does not say things formally or considers that person as rude if they say things directly which they actually mean to say instead of saying it in other way around with a nice wrapping of words so that the recipient don't feel bad.

There may be culture difference, since we adopted all these mannerism and formal words like sorry, thank you, excuse me from British we expect the same things from others, at least from those who are just acquaintances. 

What I mean by saying all these, about what and whom I am saying these? May be those are the questions in your mind, so, I am talking about some of my work culture experience which I gained by working with my Swedish colleagues. 

 I have observed following things which they say and I will compare these with our way of saying (with all my so called learned Indian corporate ethics of never saying no directly).

Situation 1: When you want some information from a colleague who is doing some other work.

Me: Hey!! Did you get a chance to look at that mail which I sent to you?

Colleague: I don't have time for it and I am very busy right now.

How I would have said this 

Me: Hey! Yes, I looked at it from the very top level but to answer your question I need to collect some more information. Do you mind if I come back to you on this before EOD today as I am occupied in this task?

Situation 2: When you go to a colleagues desk to ask some thing and they are working on something.

Colleague: (After they sense that you are coming towards them or you are sneaking around) Give me a minute. (They say it and continue doing their work with out looking at you).

What I would have done in this situation

Me: (After sensing that somebody is around to say something and before they say something, look at them) Hey!! (and listen to them/their question, reply it quickly if you know the answer already and get back to the screen or if you don't know the answer, say) do you mind if  I come back to your desk with the answer .

Situation 3: In a meeting, you are explaining to your boss about your plan to do a particular task.

Boss: I don't care how you do it. Do whatever you want.

How I would have replied if I were a boss

Me: Hmm!! that sounds like a plan, let me know if you  need any information or assistance from me and keep me posted.

Initially I felt rude but then I come to know that in Swedish language there is not much formality like English and may be what they are trying to say in English is completely different from what they are trying to meant in Swedish.

I guess I will come to know about this later part when I will be proficient in Swedish but the thing to note is that you can really reduce the amount of words to say if you don't care how the receptor may feel :D 

***Disclaimer:By this post, I am not implying that Swedish work culture is like what I am representing here but it is from my so far work experience while working with Swedish colleagues in an Swedish software firm. ***


  1. Loved this post of yours :) Giving us some insights of your workplace is amazing, although can't say exactly about the experience ;)
    I have something to say if you may, Formality is not by language but by gestures, by body language. If someone is friendly, he or she might say things bluntly but they will definitely have more lighter expression and warmth than your swedish counterparts depicted there. Body language speaks for itself.

    I would love to know how you react to these situations, do you get angry or do you just let it pass?

  2. I don't get angry and if I get angry then it will be my foolishness, I just let it pass and give the time to him/her to revert. As I said in my Disclaimer, its not like the same with others. I find others very helpful in every manner.

    Ab upar waali line to likhni padi kyunki ho sakta he mere daftar waale bhi is ko padhe...(Internet ka zamana he koi bhi kuch bhi padh sakta he) to faltu panga kyun lena. Ab sun asliyat, thoda gussa to aata he lekin aise me aap react karoge to apni hi image kharab karne waali baat he... main bhi phir waise hi karta hoon jo mere saath jaisa karta he. Kuch hi hein aise yahan pe.... ab software company waalon k liye customer se bada koi hota he... Customer mail pe mail kiye pada he kisi issue ko lekar aur ye janab keh rahe hein mere pass is mail k liye time nahin he... to ultimately nuksaan kiska hua... ye to tu samajh hi gya hoga.

    You know what, sab se mazedaar baat ye he ki agar aap hindi me likhoge to English translate kar k thoda bahut meaning to samajh me aa jayega but agar hindi ko english me likhoge jaise maine likha he to Google translate bhi nahin samajh payega ki kya bhasad he.. :D

    I hope you got my point.

  3. The cons of literal translation...sigh!