Tag Archives: cell phones

What are Those Rules of Cell Phone Courtesy Again?

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July is national cell phone courtesy month, founded in 2002. Over the past 11 years, much has been written and much has been said about cell phone courtesy. You would think by now people would understand the polite and courteous ways to use their cell phones. But we know they don’t. There are still thousands of cell phone abusers out there. Of course, the creation of the smart phone has done nothing to make the situation better; it has only made it worse.

I believe this is the perfect time to do a review of cell phone courtesy, redundant as it may seem to those of you who not only know the rules, but who also follow them.

  1. Turn off your cell phone and put it out of sight when you are in the company of others. Putting it on the table in front of you tells others that you are not fully present.
  2. If a call comes in when you have it on vibrate, resist the urge to check to see who is calling when you are with other people. It is discounting to those around you.
  3. If you chose to talk on your phone in public, lower your voice. The microphone on your phone is highly sensitive. There is no need for cell yell. Strangers don’t want to be privy to your conversation.
  4. If you want to be considered a professional, use a business-like ring tone. Cute little rings will not impress your clients or prospects.
  5. Texting in front of others in a meeting is just as rude as talking on your phone. It may be silent, but everyone knows what you are doing.
  6. Never take a call in a meeting. If you are expecting an important call, let others know. Keep the phone on vibrate so it is not an interruption. Then leave the room to take the call.

If you have any pet peeves about cell phones or smart phones, I would love to know them. Email them to me at lydia@mannersthatsell.com or post your comments in the box below the blog.

When you exercise cell phone courtesy, you set the tone for others.

Cell phone courtesy should be part of your business etiquette and professional package.

Here’s to talking and texting with courtesy and good manners!

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.

Interview Etiquette for the New Graduate

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It’s May—typically graduation month. Are you one of those who will be donning a cap and gown and walking across the stage to receive your hard-earned diploma or do you know someone who is?  Given that the next step after graduating is finding a job, I have some business interview etiquette tips for the new grad facing those challenging job interviews.

Current job seekers have lots of competition. There are literally hundreds of people vying for the same position. While most people think that their education, their skills and expertise will land them the job, studies show that is not necessarily so.  Those factors are important, but another that is often overlooked is proper interview etiquette.

The idea might seem outdated, but adhering to certain standards still plays a significant role in business.  Over and over we hear that what sets most interviewees apart from their competition are their personal skills.  A knowledge of interview etiquette and good manners are the keys to standing out from the crowd.

People do business with people they like and interviewers hire candidates they like, If you or that new graduate you know want to be the candidate of choice, I have some suggestions.

Start by arriving on time. That means showing up 5 to 10 minutes prior to your appointment. If you arrive earlier than that, wait out of sight. Arriving too early can be an intrusion.  To make sure you are on time, find the location ahead of time. Make sure you know where you are going, how to get there and how long it will take.  The interviewer does not want to hear you apologize because you got stuck in traffic or worse yet, got lost.

Leave your cell phone in the car. I realize that for some people the thought of being separated from their cell phone for even a minute is terrifying.  Trust me, you can do it. It is the only way to insure that your phone will not ring during the interview.  I know. You think you will simply turn it off, but how many times has a phone rung when it was supposed to be turned off or on silent ringer?  We all know the horror stories and the interview is no time to be the main character in yet another cell phone tale.

Practice your business handshake.  That would be the good firm one that impresses the interviewer.  If you aren’t sure that yours is impressive, try it out on family and friends. Keep in mind that when you shake hands, you want to make contact web-to-web with the other person’s hand, step in, smile, make eye contact, call the person by name, give two quick pumps, let go and step back.

Dress professionally and appropriately.  A simple rule to follow is to dress up a notch or two from what you normally wear, assuming that your usual attire is not blue jeans and a tee shirt.  Take the time to research the dress code for the organization where you have the interview and again, dress up one notch.  Pay attention to your grooming, and always, always, always make sure your shoes are in mint condition.

Say “thank you” three times.  Thank the interviewer in person at the conclusion of your meeting; follow up by email; and then send a handwritten note. Interviewers get hundreds of email on a daily basis, but they rarely receive a personal note.  You will definitely stand out from the crowd when you take the time to write your thank you.

Following the basic rules of business etiquette can make the difference in whether you get the job or not. Keep in mind that good manners are noticed more by their absence.

My book, Manners That Sell – Adding the Polish That Builds Profits, covers all you need to know about business etiquette.  It’s the perfect gift for anyone setting out on the job search trail. Perhaps you would like to give one to yourself.

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.

The Etiquette of Cell Phones and Symphonies

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It happened again.  A cell phone rang in the midst of a concert, and this time it made all the national media, including several international publications. It seems that while the New York Philharmonic Orchestra was playing Mahler’s Ninth Symphony, a cell phone began to ring.  The proud new owner of an iPhone had set his ring tone to play “Mirimba,” not exactly a good fit for Mahler’s Symphony. The ringing continued so long that the conductor, Alan Gilbert, stopped the orchestra until the disruption ceased.

When will people  learn about the etiquette of cell phones?  This particular person claimed that his was a brand new iPhone and that although he thought he had turned it off, an alarm he had set earlier went off anyway. There is much debate about this part of the story.  Many iPhone users claiming that this could not have happened if in fact he had truly  turned off the phone. Not being a iPhone user (sorry Apple) or skilled in the complexity of cell phones, I will leave this issue alone.  My expertise is in business etiquette and my focus here is cell phone etiquette.

Here are my thoughts on how this situation could have been avoided:

  1. Leave the cell phone at home or in the car, but don’t take it to the concert. If you have to have it with you, and I will concede that are a number of justifiable reasons for doing so these days, make sure you follow rule #2.
  2. Put your phone in silent mode, on vibrate or turn it off. You can check for messages or send them during the intermission.  There probably is no one on the planet who has had a cell phone for any length of time who has not experienced that embarrassing moment when the phone that was supposed to be turned off rang.  Mine once rang on an airplane during landing of all times. I never for a moment  considered that it was my phone, and like everyone else was looking around to see who the culprit was.
  3. If your phone rings in the midst of a public event, turn it off immediately.  If you can’t or don’t know how, find the nearest exit and head  for it as fast as you can. Don’t try this on an airplane.
  4. Never let your phone continue to ring and try to pretend that it is not yours.
  5. Absolutely never answer the phone during an event and engage in conversation.  That actually happened  during one of my business etiquette presentations. One of the participants who, for obvious reasons sat in the back of the room, had his phone on. This was no accident. When a call came in, he not only answered it, but he also remained seated and launched into a lengthy conversation. I stopped talking. Fifty participants in a presentation, which included the topic of  cell phone etiquette, turned to stare or glare at  the offender. I walked back to where he was seated and stood in front of him until he got up and left the room.

Some people can’t be helped, but others can.  The people in my etiquette session understood how inappropriate this behavior was.  The crowd attending the concert got it as well. We stop the presentation or the concert and we wait, hoping that these thoughtless people will get the message. And people like me who make a living teaching, preaching and coaching on manners in the workplace do have followers and believers in the importance of being courteous and respectful of other people.

Cell phones are as much a part of our daily lives as eating, sleeping and breathing. Let’s use them appropriately.

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.

Turn Off That Cell Phone! Business Etiquette Matters

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You just can’t get away from them.  Everywhere you go cell phones are ringing, vibrating and lighting up. Almost everyone has one in hand, on the meeting room table, and always at the ready. They are hurting business, reputations and relationships.  One of those businesses might be yours.

Recently I was part of a team interviewing a prospective new employee. Naturally the department head began the questioning. Once he had concluded with what he deemed to be his part in the process, he turned the interview over to the rest of us. At that point he reached for his cell phone and began to check messages. As if that wasn’t egregious enough, he then proceeded to text replies.  If an elephant had walked in the room and taken a seat at that moment, it would not have been more noticeable.

Imagine how the prospective employee felt.  Obviously, neither she nor the position she was seeking were of much importance.  She was offered the job, but turned it down.  Are you surprised?

People need to feel important and the way to do that is to give them your undivided attention.

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.

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.