When Alexander Graham Bell developed the telephone in 1876, it consisted mainly of a cone and a needle vibrating in water. Today our telephones are veritable computers that we can carry around in our pockets. Just as the form and capabilities of our phones have evolved, so too has phone etiquette.
In honor of Cell Phone Courtesy Month, be conscientious and follow these tips:
- Avoid inconveniencing others. Speak at a normal volume so that your conversation stays private. If you are approaching a cashier, receptionist or other person from whom you require a service, do not keep him or her waiting while you talk. Hang up or put down the phone during your interaction. Lastly, don’t talk or text during movies and other events. Turn your phone to silent or power off; even the vibrate mode can distract other audience members.
- Drive without distractions. Driving while using a cell phone—whether to talk or text—is extremely dangerous. Even if you use a hands-free headset, you’re paying attention to a conversation that should be paid to your speed, the cars around you and any other environmental factors on the road. Pull over if you absolutely must take a phone call or send a text. And remember, many states have laws against driving while texting or using handheld cell phones.
- Adhere to posted rules. Many places of business have rules about cell phone usage, including hospitals, doctors’ offices and airlines. If you see a “No cell phones” sign or hear someone asking that phones be silenced, turn yours off. Otherwise, you might find yourself in a predicament like Alec Baldwin—forced to deboard a flight because he wouldn’t stop playing Words With Friends.
- Don’t forget about face-to-face interaction. If you arrange to meet with a co-worker or a friend for a chat, meal or any kind of one-on-one time, don’t spend much time on the phone. A text to tell someone that you’re busy and will get back to them is fine, but you’ve committed your time to the person you’re with, so give him or her your full attention.
What are your cell phone pet peeves?
[Image Source: Jenny Downing]