Last Updated: Mar 19, 2012
Cell phones are a nearly ndspensable busness tool. But are you offendng your customers and those around you wth bad habts? Here are fve cell phone etquette rules you’ll want to follow.

People talking on cell phonesThere are 6 bllon cell phone subscrbers scattered around the world. Yet, judgng by what we see and hear n both busness and socal settngs, only a small percentage of those subscrbers use ther phones wthout offendng other people. Stated more postvely, you wll become a caller respeed for your uncommon courtesy by followng, at a mnmum, fve rather smple steps.

Lmt your ng audence to one person

How many tmes have you entered a shuttle bus after your flght arrved, and as a member of a captve audence heard a fellow passenger call her home offce as f no one else had boarded the bus? You heard, “H, Margaret, just landed. No, the meetng wth that CEO ddn’t go well. Her reputaton was rght on target. She was rude, barely even ed to my presentaton, kept lookng at her watch. f we’re countng on her as the deal closer, thnk we’re sunk. And now let me tell you why that hotel was a lousy choce. . . .”

Already, people around you are rollng ther eyes, as you are rollng yours. All of you recognze that ths conversaton does not belong n publc. The caller has allowed you to to confdental nformaton that you aren’t nterested n at all. Equally as bad, she has shattered the reasonably serene rde to the termnal you had antcpated.

To make sure you avod becomng the offendng caller, realze that there are only two people who could possbly want to hear you talk on your cell phone. One s the person you called. The other could be the person who called you. No else w n on the conversaton, perod. Anyone who desres an audence should go gve a speech, not make phone calls.

Respe the other person’s convenence, not yours

Chances are very good you have experenced ths next ncdent as well. You answer the phone, and one of your frends opens the conversaton wth, “H, ’m drvng from Atlanta to Nashvlle, so ’ve got plenty of tme to chat. ’ve been watng for an opportunty lke ths, when ’d enjoy an unnterrupted hour. So now we can catch up on what’s been happenng wth each other wthout watchng the tme.”

Defntely, your caller has assumed that because the tme s convenent for hm, you can hang on lesurely. However, you’re scheduled to e-mal your budget revson n ten mnutes, just before dreng your staff meetng.

Uncommon courtesy wll set you apart from the tme-consumng, ego focused caller. Ether before your call or when you a call, you’ll ask whether the recpent can spare a few mnutes. f they can’t, the two of you wll sele a dfferent day and hour.

Remember t’s a phone, not a megaphone

Many telephone courtesy consult warn aganst “cell yell.” Mstakenly, some callers thnk that because the phone has a small moutece, the volume provded wll not be suffcent. So they become sound blasters, about as annoyng as a demolton crew usng dynamte.

Unless you are n a settng where the nose becomes excessve, as when the cleanng crew turns on a vacuum cleaner, you wll be audbly adequate when you use the same decbel level you use for cht chat at lunch.

Menton the caller’s name when you answer

Typcally, we answer calls wth our own name. That s what the caller expeed us to say, because they daled the number to reach us. What they don’t expe to hear s ther name. You wll surprse and please them when you answer, “Marvn, h, ’m glad you called.” To make that easy, assumng you have a cell phone wth ths feature, add the names and numbers of key people nto your “Contas” and “Favortes” categores. Once you do that, the caller’s name wll show automatcally as your phone s rngng.

The sayng s old, but stll vald: Every’s favorte sound s the sound of hs or her name. So get off to a warm by sayng your caller’s name, wth genune enthusasm.

Tell only part of your story on your voce message

When you aren’t able to receve a call someone placed to your number, they wll hear your voce message. Assure that they hear only a small part of what you provde professonally. Why? Because f you tell them all they need to know, why wll they need to talk drely? And f you’re that long wnded on a recordng, callers wll wonder how excessvely wordy you wll be n an ntal meetng.

Yes, common cell phone prace goes lke ths, ad nauseum: “Hello, thanks for callng. Certanly you’ve come to the rght place to get competent fnancal management. Our frm helps you wth lfe nsurance, mutual funds, retrement s, care nsurance, homeowners nsurance, long term care, and unemployment nsurance.”

Ths show busness adage works best: “Leave them wantng more.” A more courteous revson of the just-mentoned voce message could go lke ths: “Hello, thanks for callng. When return your call, ’ll be glad to answer your questons about whch fnancal servces we provde. We’ll be n touch soon, for sure.”

So to become a cell phone user wth uncommon courtesy, talk to only one person at a tme, at that person’s convenence, wth the volume you use for other conversatons, mentonng the caller’s name when you answer, and tellng only a small part of your servces when callers reach your voce mal message.

Bll Lampton, Ph.D., Communcaton Consultant, Speech Coach, and Keynote Speaker, “Helpng Corporatons and Leaders Communcate Persuasvely.” Call Dr. Lampton: 678-316-4300 or vst hs webste:


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