Cell Phones have become one of the 21st century’s greatest innovative sandboxes. We have gone from flip phones with physical buttons to completely touch screen devices. 72% of people in the US alone have a smart phone that they call their own. With any new device or technology, over time certain aspects are loved and certain are loved to be hated. For instance, people love the ability to surf the web from their pocket, but aren’t too fond of having their batteries explode (Galaxy Note 7) in their pockets. Aside from features and specs, new technologies change our behavior as well. We learn to shape our lives around the devices we use, and that has an impact on the way we use them. Cell phones have been around for a while, and we have learned to use them in any setting. However, there are good and bad aspects to using them. Let’s take a look at some simple do’s and don’ts of cell phone etiquette. (All of these are based off personal experience and common communication theories.)
First, the do’s:
- Answer your phone with a common greeting, like “Hello, this is ______.” This makes the person on the other end feel welcomed and confirms they called the right number. It also helps the conversation get off on the right foot.
- Use Voicemail. When you are with others, or in a meeting, or in any situation that is less-than-ideal for answering the phone, let the call go to voicemail. The people around you will thank you for it.
- Do consider Politeness Theory when talking on the phone. Although cell phones allow you to hold a conversation across any distance without being in the presence of the other person, take in mind that the other person may not take the meaning of the message the way you’re sending. Just like in texting, some parts of the effectiveness of the message get lost because of the medium. Remember the different methods of saving face like off the record, positive politeness, etc.
Now the DON’Ts:
- DON’T use your phone when at the table around a meal. This has become a big issue among people these days. A dinner table can be an incredible, communal place where people come around to laugh and tell stories. This can be ruined by one or more of the members around the table being engrossed in their cell phone.
- DON’T yell or use profane language when on the phone in public. This, from personal experience, has become a big DON’T in regard to cell phone usage. It can be a quick negative when seeing someone in public conversing loudly or cussing out the other party. Take notice of your surroundings when answering the phone.
These are just suggestions and things to keep in mind in regard to cell phone etiquette.
– Nathan Byers