Cell phone etiquette: are you courteous?

Americans spend about 90 minutes per day on their phone. Eh, an hour and a half? Not too bad, right?

But that adds up to 23 days a year. We’re spending nearly 4 years of our lives staring at our phone screens.

Is this research from Mobile Statistics as alarming to you as it is to us? Chances are, as businesspeople, you spend a good amount of time using mobile devices, particularly if you telecommute. You’ve got to do what you’ve got to do to get work done, even if that means working from the coffee shop or squeezing in calls from the airport or diner.

Coincidentally, July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. For all the time we spend on our cell phones while out and about, both in business settings and not, perhaps it’s time for a little refresher in in courtesy.

Jacqueline Whitmore, author and international etiquette expert, founded National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in 2002, and has offered plenty of courtesy tips in the time since.

How courteous are you?

  • Be all there. When you’re in a meeting, performance, courtroom or other busy area, let calls go to voicemail to avoid a disruption. In some instances, it’s best to put your phone on silent mode.
  • Keep it private. Be aware of your surroundings and avoid discussing private or confidential information in public. You never know who may be in hearing range.
  • Avoid “cell yell.” Remember to use your regular conversational tone when speaking on your wireless phone. People tend to speak more loudly than normal and often don’t recognize how distracting they can be to others.
  • Send a text message when you want to send a quick message.       But remember not to text while having a conversation with another person. It’s important to give others, especially clients and customers, your full, undivided attention.
  • Excuse yourself. If you’re expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; the people you’re with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.

What are your cell phone pet peeves? Let us know in the comments!

About Krista Ledbetter

Krista Ledbetter comes from a newspaper reporting background. Several years, tweets, and a career shift later, she keeps busy as a brand journalist for TDS Telecom. You're most likely to find her running or on the couch--hers or otherwise. She enjoys both in equal measure.

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