Well, it’s Day 2 after the Orange Crush that occurred over the landscape of Alberta. Already, there’s a ruckus brewing caused by one of Premier Elect Rachel Notley’s MLA’s, Deborah Drever. While campaigning for Calgary-Bow, it’s a pity no one from Alberta NDP advised her to take down those FB pictures. Even after being elected, they were still on her FB account and were taken down only after the barrage of criticism. And to add more fuel, there are now three separate petitions circulating demanding her resignation.

She’s young compared to other individuals who choose to run for public office but at 27 yrs old, there should be some kind of innate sense within of why people are upset with her photos. After all, she’s completing a social science degree.

The Alberta NDP needs to support these young, inexperienced MLA’s in order to transition them smoothly into their new positions. Here are my suggestions for a crash course in civility:

SOCIAL MEDIA

Everything is public.

Your persona is judged by what is posted on Twitter, FB, LI, Instagram, etc.

Create a positive Personal Brand that shows you’re ready to serve those in your constituency.

Be prepared to apologize if a line was crossed…never make excuses. Face up to the inappropriate post.

EMAIL

Email is like an electronic business letter. There is a formality that needs to be followed…”Dear _______” not “Hey _______”, use complete sentences, no text acronyms, have perfect grammar & spelling.

Use a clear subject line – one subject per email, please. If the email thread changes, then the subject line should reflect this.

Use a polite closing like “Sincerely” or “Warmly” or “Thank you”. Your email signature should include your full name, title, off ice address, phone number, fax & email. Make it easy for your constituents to contact you.

PHONE MANNERS

Use a polite greeting, “Hello, ______ speaking”.

Don’t be multi-tasking while talking on the phone. The other person can tell that you’re distracted. Give them your undivided attention.

Use a pleasant tone of voice even if you’re feeling stressed. Don’t be short with someone who phones you.

Refrain from eating while talking on the phone.

NETWORKING

How is your handshake? Think of reaching for the web of the other person’s hand. Pump the person’s hand twice. In business formal settings which is typical for government, shake hands at the beginning & end of the conversation.

Be enthusiastic…eye contact, positive body language, be informed about a number of topics to engage people in conversation. As an MLA, you will meet different types of people both in the public & private sector…business or general practitioners. You need to be comfortable and aware of their needs.

Never eat or drink too much at these events. Know your dress codes and follow them. If unsure, contact the organizer. Remember the Personal Brand that you’re developing.

Follow-up on any promises that you made at these events. People are counting on you.

GENERAL MEETING RULES

Be on time – 5-10 minutes early is just right. If the meeting is at 10:00 am and you arrive at 10:00, then you’re actually late.

Keep the cell phone on silent mode. Give your undivided attention to those in the meeting. They have priority over the smart phone.

Be prepared with your deliverables.

Read the agenda before-hand so you’re able to make intelligent suggestions/responses and those at the meeting don’t have to waste time getting you up to speed about the topics being discussed. Do your homework!! Research the topics, if necessary.

Be appropriately dressed. This is the time to retire the flip flops, jeans, t-shirts and yoga pants. You’re a professional who is being paid very well. Look like one!!

My hope is that these newly elected MLA’s may gain wisdom and become savvy despite having little or no life experience outside of university.


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