July is National Cell Phone Month
Cell Phone Etiquette Guidelines
At the start of just about every business etiquette seminar I present, I always ask participants, “When it comes to rude behaviors seen in public, which one annoys you the most?” Nearly all say, “The misuse of cell phones.” If participants in my seminars are saying this, then what could the rest of the country be saying?
Making cell phone users more respectful of their surroundings is the motto of July National Cell Phone Month. Let’s not let our use of cell phones offend others or take precedence in areas of our lives where it serves no purpose. In fact, courteous cell phone practices are easily accomplished when we commit to these cell phone civilities:
Switch the Sound In business, switch your cell phone ring tone to vibrate or silent. When can you leave the jingle on? When you are at home, but only so long as your ring doesn’t wake a sleeping baby or your spouse. As always, let common sense be your guide.
Mind the Meeting Room In most cases, bosses and meeting leaders would prefer that cell phones be switched to silent mode or vibrate to avoid having a loud, ringing device disrupt a meeting, not to mention sending the violator into panic or denial mode. Nobody wins in the “It’s not me!” – “John, it’s you!” game. If you are expecting a call that can’t end up in voicemail, let your colleagues, boss, etc… know ahead of time the importance of taking an incoming call. When it does arrive, quietly grab the phone and disappear without slamming the door behind you.
Mind the Kiddies Parents, advocate in your house that “National Cell Phone Month” is an everyday celebration. Feel free to set boundaries as to when and where cell phones can be used. After all, you pay the bills; therefore, you get to set the rules, right?
Quit Playing Around Honestly, there’s nothing more annoying than seeing colleagues or guests super-glued to their phones when clearly your company is not boring. If you find yourself addicted to the little gadget, follow First Lady Nancy Reagan’s motto and “Just Say No.” This is an especially important exercise when entertaining guests and clients, attending meetings and workshops, waiting at the altar to get married, etc…
Remember, we own our cell phones – they don’t own us! I challenge all of us to stick to the cell phone etiquette tips offered above, not just in the month of July but year round!