Eight Tips for Becoming a More Courteous Cell Phone User

Sometimes an idea comes for a post from real life experience and I sit down and crank out a list of do’s and don’ts related to the subject. This time my pet peeve is cell phones and while researching the topic of cell phone etiquette I checked out the website of one of my email stationery clients, Frameworks Training and Finishing Academy.

Syliva Mclaren-Tishler has a great website answering the question “Do you have what it takes to succeed in your profession?” which I will go back to in a future post. On her website is a great list of cell phone tips taken with permission from the book “Business Class” by Jacqueline Whitemore of the Protocol School of Palm Beach.

Here are the 8 tips for coureous cell phone use:

  1. Cute, quirky ring tones are not appropriate in every setting. Although specialized ring tones allow you to express your personality and differentiate your ringing phone from others, they can be annoying in certain settings. Set your phone to silent, vibrate or on a standard ring tone when you are in a business setting or public area where others could get annoyed.
  2. Let your voice mail take your calls. Refrain from taking calls during religious services, job interviews, golfCell phone outings, movies, funerals, classes, business meetings, public performances, and in restaurants and courtrooms. Of course, there are exceptions to every rule. If you are a physician on call, an expectant father, or a parent waiting for a child or babysitter to call, alert your clients, coworkers, or companions ahead of time and step away when the call comes in.
  3. The people you are with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive. Poor cell phone etiquette can have a negative impact on how your friends, clients, or co-workers view your relationship with them. Turn your phone off, put it on vibrate, or let your voice mail take your calls. If you are expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time. Excuse yourself, step away, and keep the call brief.
  4. If you can’t be out of touch, use the options your cell phone provides to stay connected without offending others. Many cell phones have a one -button feature that turns off the ringer to prevent disruptions. Other features, such as text messaging, wireless email, voice mail, caller ID and distinctive ringing are designed to help you receive messages or stay connected without disturbing those around you.
  5. Be courteous to those within hearing distance. Use discretion when discussing private matters or sensitive business topics in front of others. Matters such as medical exams, torrid love affairs, personal arguments, or deals gone bust should be discussed in private.
  6. Don’t be guilty of “cell yell”. It’s not necessary to speak louder than normal for callers to hear you. Conversations that are likely to be emotional should be held where they will neither embarrass nor intrude on others.
  7. Don’t be a cell phone cop. If you encounter someone talking too loudly on a cell phone, don’t take matters in your own hands. Walk away, change locations if possible, or find someone in a position of authority to address the situation. If you must confront a cell phone offender, do it discreetly and diplomatically. You might for example, say, “Excuse me, would you mind keeping your voice down? I’m having trouble hearing the speaker. Thank you.
  8. Make safety your most important call. Practice wireless responsibility while driving. Don’t make or answer calls while in heavy traffic or facing hazardous driving conditions. Use a hands-free device in order to increase your safety.

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