Cell Phone Dos & Don’ts – Well, Mostly Don’ts

January 29, 2010 at 11:54 am Leave a comment

Cell phones. It would be pretty hard to find someone without one today, regardless of age, line of business or socio-economic status. However, just because a person has a cell phone, does that mean they should use it – at any time for any reason? Absolutely not. There isn’t any kind of mandatory course on cell phone etiquette before you buy and use one, but perhaps there should be. I don’t believe in limiting personal freedom, and won’t attempt to make a list of cell phone “dos”, but I sincerely believe there are a few situations where using a cell phone or the manner of the call warrant some discussion.

Number one: NEVER text while driving. A person who is texting while driving is as dangerous as a person who is driving while under the influence. (It is also illegal in some states) Is thumbing out that text really more important than your life, and the lives of others on the road? No, it isn’t. Wait until you’re parked somewhere to initiate or reply to that text. Most texters accept that the nature of text communications may entail a delayed response.

Number two: Don’t drive distracted. Even talking on the cell phone may be enough to turn you into a “distracted driver”, even with a hands-free device in your car. So consider waiting until you are parked, or look for a safe place to pull over if you simply must place or receive that call. Some businesses have policies against employees placing or receiving calls using the company phone, because if the driver should happen to get in an accident, they don’t want their business to be in any way responsible for any factors that may have contributed to that accident.

Number three: Don’t be rude. Is the person making that incoming call really more important than the person you are having a face-to-face conversation with? Is that the message you want to send? With very few exceptions (medical emergency), you should never interrupt the conversation you are having with the live person in front of you to take a call on your cell phone. This is especially rude if you are mid-transaction with a store clerk. Not only have you indicated to that clerk that they are not as important as the person on the phone, but you have derailed or at least slowed down the checkout process, affecting everyone in the queue behind you. Simply follow the “Golden Rule” here: How would you feel if you were the one suddenly put on “ignore”?

Number four: Keep it to yourself. As important as that conversation is with your significant other, your kids, co-worker, boss, whomever – believe me, no one else wants to hear it. And believe it or not, no one is impressed that you actually have a cell phone, or a hands-free device. Strolling down the supermarket isle loudly carrying on a one sided conversation with your hands-free device, does not make you look cool, it makes you look like you’re talking to yourself.

Number five: Turn down/off your ringer. Again, no one is impressed with your super cool ringtone and they don’t want to hear it, especially in a theater, in church, or any place else where a ringing phone is a distraction. Even a phone set to vibrate rather than ring can be annoying and obnoxious, if that buzzing sound is just as loud as a ring. If you’re in a place where quite is in order, just turn it off.

Entry filed under: Human Resources (HR). Tags: .

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