July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month
In honor of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, Jacqueline Whitmore, one of the nation's foremost experts on etiquette and protocol, offers these steps for wireless phone users who want to avoid offending others:
- 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, turning your phone off may be the best solution.
- 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.
- Keep your cool. Don't display anger during a public call. Conversations that are likely to be emotional should be held where they will not embarrass or intrude on others.
- Learn to vibe. Use your wireless phone's silent or vibration settings in public places such as business meetings, religious services, schools, restaurants, theaters or sporting events so that you do not disrupt your surroundings.
- 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.
- Follow the rules. Some places, such as hospitals or airplanes, restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones, so adhere to posted signs and instructions. Some jurisdictions may also restrict mobile phone use in public places.
- Excuse yourself. If you are 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 are with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.
- Send a message. Use Text Messaging to send and receive messages without saying a single word.
- Watch and listen discreetly. New multimedia applications such as streaming video and music are great ways to stay informed and access the latest entertainment. However, adjust the volume based on your surroundings in much the same way that you would adjust your ringer volume. Earphones are a great way to avoid distracting others in public areas.
- Alert silently. When using your phone's walkie-talkie feature, send the person you're trying to reach a Call Alert before starting to speak. If you're around other people, turn off your phone's external speaker and use the vibration setting to minimize any disturbance and to respect your contact's privacy.
- Be a good Samaritan. Use your cell phone to help others. According to CTIA, The Wireless Association, more than 224,000 calls a day are made to 911 and other emergency numbers by mobile phone users who report crimes and potentially life-threatening emergencies.
- Focus on driving. Practice wireless responsibility while driving. Don't make or answer calls while in heavy traffic or in hazardous driving conditions. Place calls when your vehicle is not moving, and use a hands-free device to help focus attention on safety. Always make safety your most important call.
- Spread the word. Discuss cell phone manners with friends and family members. Tell them that you are practicing new wireless phone etiquette rules and offer to share them (www.sprint.com/etiquette).
Tell me more about National Cellphone Courtesy Month.
July is National Cellphone Courtesy Month - an event Jacqueline Whitmore founded with the intent to encourage the increasingly unmindful corps of cell phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings by using some simple cell phone etiquette principles.
Listen to Sprint's wireless etiquette podcast.
In recognition of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July, Sprint has released a wireless etiquette podcast at http://podcast.sprint.com featuring Jacqueline Whitmore, founder and director of The Protocol School of Palm Beach and the originator of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. Cell phone users are encouraged to tune in and brush up on their manners.
Take the etiquette quiz.
Answers: 1) c. 2) a. 3) a. 4) b. 5) c.
- When talking on a wireless phone in public, you:
- Talk loudly. Cell phone connections are not that good.
- Get caught up in the conversation and do not realize how loud you are talking.
- Talk in a normal tone. Cell phone technology is so good that a whisper could be heard on the other end.
- When entering a movie theater, you:
- Turn your phone off or place it on silent so you will not disrupt others in the audience.
- Put your phone on vibrate.
- Keep your phone on its normal ringer, so you do no miss any calls.
- You are in a meeting and your phone rings, you:
- Don't worry about it ringing; you have already set your phone on silent.
- Take the call. It is more important than the meeting you are in.
- Remove yourself from the meeting to take the call. You have already alerted your colleagues that you are expecting a call.
- You are out to dinner with friends at a restaurant and your phone rings, you:
- Apologize and let the call go to voicemail. Then turn off the ringer.
- Step outside to take the call. You had already told your friends that you are expecting a call.
- Take the call at the table.
- You are in the grocery store and you're co-worker alerts you on your Walkie-talkie, you:
- Let her know that you will contact her in 10 minutes when you're in the car.
- Continue the conversation on speaker phone as you shop.
- You turn off the speaker-phone to continue the conversation.