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Etiquette rules apply to cell phone owners

 By Cynthia Grosso

July is National Cell Phone Etiquette month

With the popularity of convenient, portable tools, good manners have taken a beck seat. 

Have you ever noticed, that although we have more conveniences then ever before, it seems that we have less time then ever before.  How ironic!  Time has become our most valuable asset. As we spend much of our lives racing against the clock, most of us seek ways to help manage our minutes wisely.  The cell phone has become a necessary tool to most of us in managing this effort.  It has proven itself, not only for its unprecedented convenience and time saving capabilities, but also for its safety features.

Since the “Attack on America”, people are viewing cell phones as personal security devices and the use of them is at an all time high. Although statistics show the highest use of cell phones is for personal purposes, they are still an important business tool. Cell phones, now with the capability of text messaging and photography have become, without a doubt, one of the most common and widely used inventions of the time.

However, with all that being said, cell phones can also be the rudest invention of our time as well. In our effort to get “Connected”…we sometimes disconnect from manners and respect for other people. We regularly hear ringing phones during meetings, meals and even theatre performances and worship services. We often are subjected to hearing people’s conversations and affairs, making the impolite action of ease dropping, inevitable.

With all that has been written about cell phones, it is amazing to me how there is still so much rudeness going on…..I was recently at a conference, where the speaker asked people to turn off their phones or put them on vibrate.  Two times, one woman's cell phone directly behind me rang loudly - not once, not twice….but three different times. This is the same lady that was talking so loudly to the person next to her all morning that I often could not hear the speaker. I moved myself to another seat during the first break.  This goes back to the premise of my business; her manners are not an action, but an attitude…an attitude that follows her through all aspects of her life. So the question is…how often has your cell phone rung loudly in a “quiet” zone? 

Here are 10 techno etiquette tips on the use of cell phones

  •  When you are speaking with someone personally, a ringing cell phone should not take priority.
  • If your phone rings while talking to someone in person and you must take the call, excuse yourself before answering it.
  • Do not intrude on the people around you to have to listen to your calls. Excuse yourself and go to a private or outside area.
  • If you must take a call during a meeting, let them know up front that you are expecting a call. Put your phone on vibrate and when called, excuse yourself from the room and keep the conversation short.
  • Put the volume level of your cell phone on low and speak softly when talking.
  • Get voice mail and caller ID so you do not have to worry about lost calls that you are not able to take.
  • Leave your phone off or on vibrate during meetings or meals.
  • Make sure your phone is off when in church, synagogue, theatre performances, waiting rooms, court rooms, etc.
  • Statistics show that most cell phone use is personal. Limit your personal cell phone use at work.
  • Refrain from asking to use a friend’s cell phone 

I suggest to people to keep their phone on vibrate at all times if possible.  This eliminates the intrusion of the phone ringing at unexpected or uninterruptible times.

Be mindful of answering a cell phone call while engaging in personal conversation.  This interruption can send the message that the incoming call is more important.  No one enjoys feeling less important. This is a very negative gesture in business.

Statistics show that cell phone use increases the risk of car accidents by over 30%.  If at all possible, pull over and stop the car to talk. If that is not possible, it is better to keep the conversation short because your concentration is less, your signal can fade and you are a more of a hazard to others on the road.

The etiquette of cell phones, as with a lot of the techno etiquette of today, is new. 

It is important however, that we learn to abide by the new rules, as our behavior speaks about us loudly….as loudly as the ringing of the cell phone itself. 


Source: Article published in the Business review section of the Post and Courier

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