Cellular telephones, or "cellphones", are an important part of modern society. When "Miss Manners" wrote about good manners and etiquette, mobile phones did not exist nearly to the extent they do in our society today. In an effort to assist cellphone users, we have written up some guidelines to help people use their mobile phones appropriately while navigating in polite society.
If you are going to "screen" your incoming calls (i.e. using the Caller ID feature to see who is calling before deciding to answer the call or not), do not be blatantly obvious about it. Colleagues and friends could easily be offended, and if done in their presence, they may make the assumption that you also screen and avoid their calls or assign their calls a lower priority when they are trying to reach you and you are with someone else.
Faking dropped calls
Everyone knows that cellular coverage can be spotty at times, but do not make the mistake of intentionally fabricating a "poor coverage" situation simply so you can disconnect from a caller. While it may be humorous at times, eventually callers will catch on to the ploy and be angry about their dismissal.
Keep it clean
When you are on a cellphone, you often don't have the benefit of privacy, so keep the topics you discuss G-rated -- you never know who may be listening to your side of the conversation.
Keep the volume down
Be respectful to those around you. Your phone conversation is not any more important than the live conversations occurring around you. This is especially important to remember since most people tend to unknowingly talk a bit louder when using their cellphones. So keep your vocal volume down, or excuse yourself and find a private place to talk.
Ringtones should be business-appropriate. While you might find a raunchy or vulgar ringtone humorous, those around you may not... and especially in a "business" situation. Ringtones featuring loud music or unusual "noises" are also seldom appropriate for professional business situations, so select your ringtones accordingly.
Not everyone has texting capabilities enabled on their cellphones, and some may have to pay extra to receive text messages. Be sure to ask friends and colleagues for permission or approval before you send text messages to them.
Give your full attention to the person you are speaking to. It is incredibly rude to split your attention between a person you are with, and another person on the phone. Pick one or the other, and then give them 100% of your attention.
Because of the likely possibility of dropped calls when using cellphones, be sure to inform the person you are calling that you are using a cellphone, so if by some chance the call does get dropped, they will understand that it was an unintentional disconnection.
One fifth of the homes in the United States no longer have "landline" telephone service. Those residents rely solely on their cellphones for communication. Adopt "common sense" cellphone etiquette while using mobile devices to communicate.
Sharon Housley manages marketing for FeedForAll, software for creating, editing, publishing RSS feeds, and podcasts. In addition Sharon manages marketing for NotePage, Inc., a wireless text messaging software company.© 2010 Sharon Housley
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