Cell Phone Etiquette

This very curious email came to me through a contact at MyCFONetwork, asking for my thoughts …

In the past two days, I have been privy to listen to someone pitching a new business idea to a colleague and also someone chatting to their commercial insurance broker. 

And this

People that conduct business conversations on their cell phones while visiting the restroom … proper business etiquette? 

The age of “always connected” has made us lose all common sense, hasn’t it?  Things that we would otherwise have only talked about in the privacy of our homes or offices are now talked about and typed about very publicly. However, “business” still carries a modicum of confidentiality and as a finance or other executive, business etiquette should apply.

— Talking about a business deal at lunch with a colleague is typically done in hushed tones with heads leaning forward to create an environment of confidentiality. Deals done on cell phones are usually discussed at double volume for the entire restaurant to hear. Regardless of what public place you find yourself, my suggestion … let the call go through to voice mail and return it in a private setting. Or, if you think the call is that important, step outside or find an isolated, quiet place to converse. Have you considered what confidential information you might be revealing by talking so publicly?

— In the restroom. Seriously? I shouldn’t even have to comment but since I was asked, I will. Do you really need to have a business conversation while doing your personal business? How do you think it is perceived on the other end to hear the toilet flushing (or worse) or the water running or the hand dryer blowing? Do you want that image attached to your brand. My suggestion, let the call go through to voice mail and call them back from a quiet, private environment.

— And finally, please don’t ever call in sick, ask for a raise, or resign through texting.

What crazy things have you heard people discussing on their cell phones, where were they, and what were you're thoughts when you heard it?

Share and enjoy

8 thoughts on “Cell Phone Etiquette”

  1. Cindy –
    People tend to forget the telephone is for the owner’s convenience, not the callers. Just because it rings, does not mean we have to answer it. The level of rudeness rationalized by a ringing cell astounds me. (Seriously, the Internet is not big enough to hold my opinions on this topic. 🙂 )
    And don’t even get me started on call waiting …
    Spot on post Cindy. Spot on!!!

  2. Cindy,
    This topic becomes more critical with each passing day, it seems.
    I couldn’t agree more with this statement: “The age of ‘always connected’ has made us lose all common sense …” True! In the grocery story, distracted cell phone conversers amble along, clogging shopping arteries and sharing personal and professional secrets, as if their imaginary walls have created real sound boundaries between themselves and the shoppers just feet (or even inches away).
    Great post. What’s common sense to some is often a great ‘wake-up call’ to others (pun intended!).

  3. Thanks for chiming in, Dawn and Jacqui.
    There seems to be a direct correlation between technology and the world according to “me.” As Jacqui says, the walls are imaginary! We can hear you!
    Dawn, sounds like the beginnings of your own blogs post are percolating!

  4. Cindy,
    Professionals and Executives need to be aware of their surroundings at all times. What they say, Where they say it, How they say it, To Who they say it to ALL have an impact.
    Perception is Reality. This applies in all forms of communication, including cell phone use.
    Thanks for the topic.
    Samuel Dergel

  5. Thanks, Cindy, the reminder to turn off your cell phone in church is part of our normal PowerPoint every Sunday. I almost never get calls on Sunday morning but I have taken to leaving my ever present cell phone home on Sundays. I have also started customizing my messages so that people understand that while I do care about them, they do need to know that I can’t be ever present. Jacqui, I have been guilty of the grocery store convo but I’ll work on that!

  6. Thanks Julie! It always cracks me up when I see people in church with that beetle (bluetooth) in their ear. I’m sure some of them are on call, but others … heaven forbid they would miss a call rather than a part of the sermon! Just sayin’

  7. Hi Cindy,
    Thank you so much for writing this post!! Your post and guidelines are a wonderful reminder of appropriate cell phone use (and can serve as a quick reference guide, as well!). Practicing consideration for others, civility, and being thoughtful about our behavior would go a long way toward helping with the issues you’ve addressed so well here.
    Thanks again for writing!
    P.S. I once had to email my employer, rather than calling, to let them know I was sick and could not come in. One of the symptoms I had was laryngitis 🙂 I thought you’d get a kick out of that.

  8. Thanks Shahrzad! Being thoughtful … thinking about others rather than all wrapped up in “me” … WOULD indeed go a long way towards making us a more considerate society.
    Somehow, I think emailing that you were sick with laryngitis was an okay thing!


Leave a Comment