Why is it that in the professional world, the Afrikaans culture is still experiencing the difficulty that they cannot differentiate between familiarity and professionalism when it comes to addressing people in the business world?
Do you know how awkward we feel if we meet you for the first time on a business appointment and after introducing ourselves we are greeted with: ‘Goeie more Tannie, wat kan ek vir Tannie doen?’ Please! If I introduced myself as Ria Vorster I actually gave you permission to call me by my name. I also expect from you to continue to do so if we are going to have a business relationship. If I want to be called Mrs. Vorster, I will tell you so. And if I want to be a ‘Tannie’ I will tell you so too. But I am in no family business with you, so I surely wont.
We may be much older, (or sometimes only a few years) and although we have a business approach, you think that addressing us as ‘Tannies’ and ‘Ooms’ is a respectful way to do so. It is not. Being professional is to address your clients by their surnames if you haven’t got the confidence to call them by their first names after they gave it to you. THERE ARE NO TANNIES AND OOMS IN THE PROFESSIONAL WORLD.
But there are firm handshakes, eye contact and a good self esteem. These ‘Tannies’ and ‘Ooms’ can actually do harm to you and your business. Simply for the reason that you are actually belittling yourself.
You are not a child any longer – get back to business!