Cell Phone Etiquette
By Lydia Ramsey

Last week I accompanied a friend to
a doctor's office. The waiting room
was packed. People were sitting on
the floor, leaning against the wall and
slumped over furniture. A few of the
lucky ones had chairs. Everyone
looked miserable.

For the most part the only sounds were moaning, sniffling and coughing. I must
admit that I was questioning my decision to drive my ailing friend to her
appointment. I dug into my handbag for a vitamin or anything that might
boost my immune system instantly.

Suddenly the near quiet room was shattered by a male voice, yelling, "Hey Bubba,
whatcha doing?" It only took a second for most of us to realize that we were in the
company of one more rude cell phone user. What followed was an explanation of
where the caller was, his reason for being there (the last thing anyone wanted to
know), when he thought he would be leaving and which bar he and Bubba should
meet in when he was finished.

Clearly, this inconsiderate being has never heard of courtesy, let alone cell phone
courtesy. Have you noticed that he is not in a class by himself? As the number of cell
phone users rises, the horror stories about them increase. We all have not just one
unbelievably rude cell phone incident to relate, we have dozens.

Don't you wish that along with those bizarre directions on how to set up and use
your phone-the ones written by the people who designed the phones and therefore
already know how to use them-there were also instructions for cell phone conduct?
Rules like:

1. Keep it private. No one else wants or needs to hear your phone conversation. If
you feel compelled to make or receive a call on your cell phone, find a private spot
away from other people.

2. Ask permission first. When you think that you may be receiving an important call,
let others know and ask their permission to leave your phone on and to take the call.

3. Excuse yourself. When the all-important call comes, excuse yourself and find that
secluded spot.

4. Turn your cell phone off. Whether you are attending personal or professional
functions, just turn off the phone. You can check your messages later. Few of us are
so indispensable that we cannot be out of contact for a few minutes or hours.

5. Use the silent ringer or vibrate function appropriately. When you are in the
presence of others, it is just as inconsiderate to check the incoming call as it is to
answer it. If your phone vibrates, excuse yourself to check the call, or better yet,
check it later. How discounting is it to have someone with whom you are speaking
suddenly say, "Do you mind if I check my phone and see who this is?" You almost
hold your breath waiting to see who will win the attention of your companion, you
or the caller?

6. Keep your voice down. You don't need to be like Bubba's friend in the waiting
room and yell. The phone may look tiny, but it picks up sound perfectly well.

7. Remember the phone booth. It was not constructed for the sole purpose of
allowing Superman to change his clothes. Its' original function was to afford people
private access to a public phone. Seems like a whacky concept today.

8. People are the problem, not the phones. Pass it on.

About the Author Lydia Ramsey is a business etiquette expert, professional speaker, corporate
PROFITS.  She has been quoted or featured in The New York Times, Investors' Business
Daily, Entrepreneur, Inc., Real Simple and Woman's Day. For more information about her
programs, products and services, e-mail her at
lydia@mannersthatsell.com or visit her web site
Manners That Sell.
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