Phone Etiquette: The Old Rules Still Apply

Posted by Greg Smith on August 22, 2013

Ah, the telephone. Has there ever been another device that has brought so much joy and yet so much anger to so many people? When I was younger, talking on the phone was a key part of being a teenager. No text, no email, no Internet. You actually had to hold a conversation with someone. And if you couldn’t do it in person, the phone (or a letter) was the only other form of communication.

Businesswoman Sending Text Message

Today, our phones have evolved beyond most people’s wildest dreams. Land lines are disappearing at a rapid rate as more and more people come to rely solely on their cell phone. And cell phones seem to be evolving even faster into what are now commonly referred to as smart phones.

What has not changed is the way we should be mindful about our phone etiquette. Technology is not an excuse to cast manners aside. Regardless of whether you are using a land line or a cell phone, many of the same rules apply. This infographic provides a good summary of the basic do’s and don’ts of cell phone etiquette. But here are a few more tips that apply to any phone usage:

  • Turn off any distracting background noise
  • Use a clear, pleasant voice
  • Try to avoid loud and eccentric conversations
  • Maintain a distance from others when talking
  • Never take a call when it is inappropriate to do so
  • Never talk in theaters, libraries, museums, restaurants, churches, etc.
  • Don’t use your phone during a personal meeting or date

Phones are an important part of culture and quite frankly, we just can’t live without them. But there is no reason we can’t continue to act – and talk – in a civilized manner. Remember that being mobile also means being around others.

Do you have a personal pet peeve (or two) when it comes to phone etiquette? We would love to hear it. Let us know in the comments below or tweet it using the hashtag #mcgblog.