June 28th, 2007

July is National Cellphone Courtesy Month

by Jacqueline Whitmore

I am accustomed to getting calls from CEOs who want to polish their social and business skills while learning how to outclass the competition. In July, I am dedicated to tackling a more monumental threat to civility. I am dispensing advice on how to talk on a wireless phone without annoying others.

July is National Cellphone Courtesy Month – an event I founded in 2002 with the intent to encourage the increasingly unmindful corps of cellphone users to be more respectful of their surroundings by using some simple cellphone etiquette principles.

Wireless phones and other electronic devices have become so important to keeping people in touch with information they want and need. It’s important to educate people about the proper way to use these devices so that they’re still in touch but not annoying those around them. Since founding National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, I have partnered with Sprint to help educate the public about the importance of wireless phone etiquette.

Wireless phone users can take these seven steps to avoid offending others:

1. 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.

2. 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.

3. 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.

4. 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.

5. 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.

6. 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.

7. Send a message. Use Text Messaging to send and receive messages without saying a single word.

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