Tag Archives: cell phone month

Ignoring Cell Phone Etiquette Can Cost You Business

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Mobility conceptDid you know that July is National Cell Phone Month? It was founded as a means to market cell phone etiquette, not as a way to promote the sale of mobile phones.  Selling those little hand-held communication devices does not seem to be a problem.  They are more common than the house fly and spreading like the plague.  It’s the proper and polite way to use them that is the issue. In fact, whenever I write the words “cell phone etiquette”, it occurs to me that the term is something of an oxymoron. Cell phones and good manners do not seem to go hand in hand.

When the portable handset was invented by Martin Cooper of Motorola in 1973, neither he nor his rival, Joel Engel, head of research at Bell Labs could have imagined that today, 37 years later, mobile phones would dominate the world. It is estimated that 4,239,956 people around the globe are having a cell phone conversation at any given second. Most people today do not seem to go anywhere without carrying their phones. Nowhere are they more important than in the shrinking global business world where more and more people are ‘on message’ 24-7.

Cell phones are a blessing to business people on the move, but when they are not used appropriately, they can be annoying and disruptive. Good etiquette is important in terms of what you should and shouldn’t do when using cell phones in the workplace. Rude or improper use of a cell phone can cost you considerably in the business world.

Cell phones have become a serious issue in business meetings. Consider these rules of cell phone etiquette during meetings:

1.   If you are in a meeting, make sure your phone is turned off or put on silent ringer. Putting it on vibrate can be just as annoying or offensive to those around you as hearing your phone ring.

2.   Don’t answer your phone, make calls, text or respond to texts during a meeting.

3.   Ask yourself if you really need to take your phone into the meeting. I know for many of you that is an unconscionable thought. It’s much like asking yourself if you need to wear your clothes to the meeting.

4.   Don’t put your phone on the table during a meeting. It sends a message that you are not fully present or engaged.  Doing so could cost you the client or the business.

5.   Use the voice mail feature on your phone just as you do your out of office reply for your e-mail. Let people know that you are in a meeting and unable to take their call; but don’t forget to let them know when they can expect to hear back from you.

6.   If you have to take a call during a meeting, be courteous and explain to the other attendees that you need to be available for a call and ask their permission to leave your phone on.

7.   When the all important call comes, excuse yourself from the meeting to answer it and converse.

8.   Watch the clock while you are on the call and away from the meeting. It would be rude to stay out of the room for a lengthy period of time.

9.   The business lunch or dinner is the same as the business meeting so all of the above rules of cell phone etiquette apply.

Your cell phone should be used to connect with clients, not disconnect.

Here’s to cell phone courtesy!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.

Cell Phone Manners

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Last week I accompanied a friend to a doctor’s office. The waiting room was packed. People were sitting on the floor, leaning against the wall and slumped over furniture. A few of the lucky ones had chairs. Everyone looked miserable. For the most part the only sounds were moaning, sniffling and coughing. I must admit that I was questioning my decision to drive my ailing friend to her appointment. I dug into my handbag for a vitamin or anything that might boost my immune system instantly.

Suddenly the near quiet room was shattered by a male voice, yelling, “Hey Bubba, whatcha doing?” It only took a second for most of us to realize that we were in the company of one more rude cell phone user. What followed was an explanation of where the caller was, his reason for being there (the last thing anyone wanted to know), when he thought he would be leaving and which bar he and Bubba should meet in when he was finished.

Clearly, this inconsiderate being had no idea that this month, July, is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. No doubt, he has never heard of courtesy, let alone cell phone courtesy.

Have you noticed that he is not in a class by himself? As the number of cell phone users rises, the horror stories about them increase. We all have not just one unbelievably rude cell phone incident to relate, we have dozens.

Don’t you wish that along with those bizarre directions on how to set up and use your phone-the ones written by the people who designed the phones and therefore already know how to use them-there were also instructions for cell phone conduct? Rules like:

1. Keep it private. No one else wants or needs to hear your phone conversation. If you feel compelled to make or receive a call on your cell phone, find a private spot away from other people.

2. Ask permission first. When you think that you may be receiving an important call, let others know and ask their permission to leave your phone on and to take the call.

3. Excuse yourself. When the all-important call comes, excuse yourself and find that secluded spot.

4. Turn your cell phone off. Whether you are attending personal or professional functions, just turn off the phone. You can check your messages later. Few of us are so indispensable that we cannot be out of contact for a few minutes or hours.

5. Use the silent ringer or vibrate function appropriately. When you are in the presence of others, it is just as inconsiderate to check the incoming call as it is to answer it. If your phone vibrates, excuse yourself to check the call, or better yet, check it later. How discounting is it to have someone with whom you are speaking suddenly say, “Do you mind if I check my phone and see who this is?” You almost hold your breath waiting to see who will win the attention of your companion, you or the caller?

6. Keep your voice down. You don’t need to be like Bubba’s friend in the waiting room and yell. The phone may look tiny, but it picks up sound perfectly well.

7. Remember the phone booth. It was not constructed for the sole purpose of allowing Superman to change his clothes. Its’ original function was to afford people private access to a public phone. Seems like a whacky concept today.

8. People are the problem, not the phones. Pass it on.

Wishing you cell phone civility this month and throughout the year!

professional speaker

Photo from Savannah magazine

Hire Lydia to work with your staff to improve customer service and employee relations through the use of those priceless and often over-looked soft skills called manners. Lydia is the “unstuffy” business etiquette expert who helps individuals and organizations add the polish that builds profits. We’re talking about your bottom line here.

Since 1996, countless people have benefited from her wisdom through keynotes, seminars and conference breakout sessions.  Her Southern charm and sense of humor have made her a sought-after speaker and consultant.

Based in Savannah, Georgia, Lydia is available for national, regional and local speaking and training engagements. She has suitcase; will travel.

Contact her via email at lydia@lydiaramsey.com or call 912-604-0080. Sign up for her free monthly newsletter and visit her website, lydiaramsey.com.