Bad cell phone etiquette, or for my fellow Australians, bad mobile phone etiquette, is something that everybody seems to have been irritated by at one time or another.
Maybe you’ve been in a movie theatre where somebody had neglected to turn off their cell phone irrespective of those mannerly reminders on the theatre screen. Or maybe you’ve been in a conversation with a friend who has that outstanding ability to focus 100% on talking to you, and text at the same time.
Bad cell phone etiquette is rampant in many of today’s social and business settings. As an etiquette expert, I want to encourage you to use good cell phone etiquette. And on your journey to good cell phone etiquette, I want to share with you the following 5 cell phone faux pas that you should avoid if you want to set a good example and make a positive impression.
Don’t Talk on Your Phone When You’re Ordering Your Morning Coffee
Ask any barista, and this is probably one of their highest rating pet-peeves. So much that it’s not uncommon for signs to appear on the counter stating something like, “If you’re too busy to place your order, then I’m too busy to serve you”. Your local barista isn’t somebody you should disrespect. Apart from making your morning coffee, they can be a good source for referrals and connections for your business.
Don’t Answer Your Phone in the Movie Theatre
If you’ve forgotten to turn your mobile phone off, and it rings during the movie, don’t answer it in the theatre while you’re scurrying to move outside. Not only would you have already annoyed your fellow theatre goers with the phone ringing, but if you pick up the phone and start talking inside the theatre, you’re only going to irritate them more. Instead, immediately stop your phone from ringing, and then step outside to call that person back.
Don’t Cell Yell
You don’t have to yell into your phone so the person on the other end of the line can hear you. I guarantee you, they will hear you just fine if you speak at a normal conversational tone. If you do have a tendency to cell yell that you can’t seem to break, simply cup your hand over your mouth when you’re talking into the phone. This is something I picked up in Japan and it’s become so second nature, I automatically use it every time I’m speaking on my phone in a public place.
Don’t Choose an Offensive Ring
Although it’s tempting to personalise your ring with the latest hit phrase from your favourite movie, ask yourself: “Will this make me look professional if my boss hears it?” Your professional image is not only about the clothes you wear, your body language, or what you say in business meetings, it also extends to your phone, and the ring you’ve chosen for it. Consider your phone to be a part of your professional outfit, just like your bag or belt.
Don’t Commit Phubbing
“Phubbing” is “the act of snubbing someone in a social setting by looking at your phone instead of paying attention”. The term was created as part of a campaign by the Macquarie Dictionary in Australia to encourage positive mobile phone use. Phubbing is probably one of the biggest cell phone etiquette mistakes because it’s often made when you’re around people you care about. By committing phubbing, you’re essentially snubbing, or ignoring your friends and family because there’s somebody else more important you need to connect with.
Here’s How You Can Deal With Phubbing
If you’re a victim of phubbing, I want to share with you a solution that I hope will help you deal with this situation.
Positive reinforcement often promotes positive behaviour (or good cell phone etiquette). So instead of reprimanding the other person, you can compliment them on their good cell phone usage before they’ve even proven this to you. For example, if you’re at lunch with a friend, at the beginning of the lunch reach into your bag for your cell phone and turn it off. Say to your friend “You’re always very courteous with your cell phone when we have lunch, so I’m just going to turn mine off so I can focus 100% on you”. This type of statement avoids reprimanding the other person and sets the expectation of cell phone usage during your lunch. That person will hopefully want to be consistent with the image you’ve created of them (somebody with good cell phone etiquette) and will hopefully practice good cell phone etiquette during that lunch and in the future.
Now it’s over to you: What is your biggest pet peeve when it comes to cell phone etiquette? Leave your comments in the section below.