Obey Cell Phone Etiquette

Posted by Kristin Arnold on May 15, 2009

These days everyone has a cell phone glued to the ear.  Used appropriately, they are absolutely wonderful.  Used inappropriately, they are aggravating and downright annoying, especially in group settings.

Turn it off. “Do not use a cell phone in public places where it will disturb others (meetings, elevators, restaurants, theaters, buses, trains, planes, etc.) or where they can overhear your private information or confidential company statistics,” urges Marjorie Brody, communications expert.  If you can’t quit cold turkey, at least shift your phone to vibrate.

Silence is Golden. Everyone is human and will forget every once in awhile to turn off the cell phone.  At least know how to silence the darn thing quickly.

Expecting? If you are expecting an important phone call, sit close to an exit door.  When your cell phone stuns you, quickly exit the room to answer the phone.  Diversity coach Michael Lee takes a glass of water with him so it looks like he is getting some water versus answering his phone.  He also cautions to remember to really get the water while you are outside answering your phone!

Let Others Know. If you are expecting a vitally important phone call that you just cannot miss, let the group know your situation.  People are tremendously understanding if you give them a heads up.

Speak Quietly. Let’s just say it is impossible to excuse yourself from the group.  If you must talk in front of others, lower your voice.  Because your ear hasn’t adjusted from the group noise to the cell phone, your voice compensates by talking louder than necessary.  So make a conscious effort to talk quieter than you think you need to.  Trust me, the person on the other end will tell you if you need to speak up.

Keep It Short. This is not the time to catch up on all the gory details.  Exchange vital information and promise to call back later.  Even better, agree on the best time to connect again.

Leave a Message. If all else fails, the caller will drop into voicemail.  Record a clear outgoing message that identifies your name and when you will call back.  For example, if you never check voicemail, say so.  If you are out of the country on vacation, let them know when you will be back and able to check your messages.  If you check your cell phone frequently, let them know that and then do it!

Question:  What annoying situations have you run into lately with discourteous cell phone users?

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