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Cell Phone Etiquette

      By Mark Toft
      Staples Editor
                                                                                                                  It's happened to most of us at least once. We're in a restaurant, or even watching a movie at a theater, and someone nearby is talking, LOUDLY, on a cell phone. It's rude, of course, but it's also cloying enough to make some of us wonder if cell phones are worth the decline in civic politeness they've caused.

      It's this kind of simmering resentment that has prompted many etiquette consultants to sound the following alarm: It's time to shape up cell phone behavior before their use in public is highly restricted. In other words, cell phone users could soon be treated like smokers. While this may sound like an exaggerated warning ó after all, cell phones, unlike cigarettes, have helped to save lives by putting people in touch with medical professionals or police during an emergency ó minding our cellular manners can only have positive effects.
                                                                                                                  10 tips for courteous cell phone use
      Cindy Grosso, owner and founder of the Charleston School of Protocol and Etiquette in Charleston, South Carolina, urges cell phone users to adhere to the following practices:
      1. When speaking with someone in person, don't interrupt the conversation to answer your cell phone. A ringing phone should not take priority over a flesh-and-blood person.
      2. If you must take a call while you're talking to someone in person, excuse yourself before answering.
      3. When talking on your cell phone, don't make those around you try and tune you out. Go to a private or outside area.
      4. Put the volume level of your cell phone on low and speak softly when talking.
      5. Leave your phone off or on vibrate during meetings and meals. Carol Page of goes even further; she suggests leaving your cell phone on vibrate at all times.
      6. If you go to a meeting, and are expecting an important call, let others know that you may have to excuse yourself. If your phone does vibrate, quietly excuse yourself, and keep the phone conversation short.
      7. Sign up for voice mail and caller ID so you can afford to not take calls Ė and to not worry about calls you might miss.
      8. Make sure your phone is off during theater performances, and when in places of worship, waiting rooms, court rooms, etc.
      9. Statistics show that most cell phone use is personal. Be mindful of this when on company time. Limit your personal cell phone use at work.
      10. As a general rule, it is better not to ask to use a colleague's or an acquaintance's cell phone. However, if you must, keep the conversation to an absolute minimum.

      And four more for good measure
      When it comes to good cell phone practices, there's no such thing as too much. Carol Page of, offers these pointers:
      1. If you have a bad connection, don't yell over the static. Hang up and find a better place to make your call.
      2. Here's a rule of thumb: If you start your conversation with "guess where I am," itís a call you shouldn't be making.
      3. Don't call your friend from your cell phone at a game and then wave your hands and ask them if they can see you on TV. Carol Page says you'd be surprised how much of a problem and annoyance this is becoming.
      4. Donít talk about personal matters, especially when discussing a relationship or personal medical news. You can easily be overheard.

Source: Article published on

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