I’m sure many people of younger generations have never used a landline rotary dial or push-button phone. But just about everyone of every age has a cell phone these days. We take them everywhere, and, we think we know how to use them. But do we?
At the New York Philharmonic pre-pandemic, a disembodied voice reminds people to silence their phones during the performance. The Conductor Bramwell Tovey literally stopped the orchestra when a phone went off in the concert hall. To the audience, he said: “We’ll all just wait until you finish your phone call.” We all laughed but really, bad phone etiquette isn’t funny at all. Social media doesn’t trump social etiquette. Here are some of the worst (but most prevalent) cell phone blunders and how to fix them.
The Most Obvious – R>E>S>P>E>C>T!
Obviously, if you are at a performance you know to put your phone on airplane mode or turn it off. Don’t think that putting your phone on vibrate is good enough. Everyone can hear it. If you’re with other people and on your phone or texting at the same time, there is no eye contact. Also, it shows the people you are with that they are not as important to you as whatever you’re doing on your phone.
The second worst offender is talking into your phone in a public place. You can’t help but speak louder than your normal voice on a cell phone. You may think you’re talking softly, but you probably aren’t. I’ve been subjected to conversations (full of expletives) in subway cars, on airplanes (some people just won’t turn off that phone until the last minute) and even in medical offices. No one really wants to know your business or that your colonoscopy went well (with all the details). If you must talk on the phone, go somewhere outside and do it in private
Quick Check Your Autocorrect:
There are loads of examples of people who thought they were typing one thing but auto suggestion made it another. My friend was looking up a tzatziki recipe and Siri turned it into “Mike Sexy.” That’s what we all call it now. This is a funny example, but it wouldn’t be funny if you sent something professional and spell check made it ridiculous or offensive. Also, be sure your grammar and spelling are correct. Think they won’t notice? You’re wrong! Be sure to check before you hit send.
Long Winded? Nooo!
This one goes for all phone users. “Don’t leave long, complicated voice messages where you speak so fast that it sends the other person scrambling for a pen to write it all down. The best thing to do is to just say, “Hi, I need to talk to you about so-and-so. Please call me back.’ Then leave your number and hang up. If you are leaving a message, keep it short and make it clear. When leaving a phone number, name, or affiliation, repeat them twice. I can’t tell you how many times someone called me with information so fast and garbled I couldn’t discern who was calling or what they wanted.
Ringtone and Voicemail:
If you have a voicemail message, make it to the point. No one really wants to hear 20 seconds of “blow the man down” because you love the sea before they can leave a message Just tell your callers what they should do to call you back. Additionally, your ringtone should be ahem…” appropriate” for every occasion. In other words, if yours is offensive you’ll definitely turn heads, but may turn people off as well. If you want to be taken seriously, don’t use an obnoxious ringtone.
How to Really Anger Someone on Hold:
Grrrr! And it happens more than you’d think possible. When you say you are putting someone on hold for just a moment, it should be for just a moment. Everyone’s time is valuable. If you can’t talk to someone right then, tell them you will call them back and give them an exact time or ask if they can hold for more than a few minutes. It’s just common courtesy. No one wants to hang around waiting on the phone while you are obviously answering another call or doing something else.
They Can Hear You in the Toilet. Enough Said!