If you want to be successful, you need to be perceived by others as someone who is deserving of opportunity, and able to handle responsibility. It doesn’t hurt if they think you are polite, and possess some common sense as well. And you may be doing something to sabotage all that, simply because of your cell phone.
It doesn’t matter if these are people that you work for, or potential partners who may be interested in doing business with you in the future. People want to do business with people they like and trust.
Call phones are a great invention. Good to have around for security, effectiveness and productivity. If you use them with some common sense. Which most people don’t.
And when you don’t, you lose respect of people who could promote you, offer you a great opportunity, or become your partner in a future venture. Yet most people don’t even think about the ramifications. They get a cell phone, and are instantly glued to it, 24 hours a day, for the rest of their life. Leave that for the herd. You’re better than that.
There are some places that cell phones should not be taken under any circumstances. You must realize that you do not impress anyone with the fact that you have a cell phone. And you are most certainly not impressing anyone of substance by interrupting your conversation with them to take a call on your cell phone. Come on people, even the bag boys at the supermarket have cell phones. It hasn’t been a status symbol for years.
In fact, you can make the argument that the real successful people are the ones who don’t need to carry a cell phone. They are a lot like keys. When you’re a dishwasher, becoming restaurant manager, getting the key to the front door is cool to you. But the people who really are successful – the area supervisor of ten locations, vice presidents, CEO, etc – don’t need to carry keys for any locations. (Do you think Bill Gates needs a key for Microsoft headquarters, or Richard Branson needs one to get in at Virgin?) So let’s look at some cell phone etiquette and how the lack of it could be holding you back.
Let’s start with the places you should NEVER even have a cell phone on your person. Weddings, Bar Mitzvahs, birthday parties, and other social events to honor someone. Having a phone at these events marks you as boorish.
Likewise, when you attend church/temple/synagogue, the ballet, Opera, concerts, plays, and seminars. Having a phone at any of these marks you as a brain dead moron, totally lacking in any manners or social graces.
Leave your phone at home, or locked up in your car at these events. If you can afford a cell phone, you can afford a voicemail service or answering machine. If you have such an important business deal working that you must be able to be reached during the Symphony concert, give the tickets away to someone with the class to appreciate them, and stay at the office waiting for your call.
Now at the places it is appropriate to have a phone with you, there still are manners to follow. If you’re talking on your phone while you shop, walk along the street and sitting in another public places, remember people are listening to your conversation. So it is really bad manners to be gossiping, talking about others, or discussing sensitive business issues. Use some discretion.
I’m not sure where people got the idea that it is okay to talk on your phone while you are checking out at a cash register, being seated by a hostess, or checking in at an airline ticket counter. It’s not.
I was in line at the drug store. The lady in front of me takes out her phone right before she gets up to the front and dials someone. “Hi, it’s me. I’m in line at Walgreen’s. What are you doing?” A totally meaningless conversation, which she is having as she got rung up. She never said a word to the cashier, just threw her money down on the counter when it was time, gathered her change, purchases and left. This is just totally tacky. Same thing in restaurants…
If you are the kind of person who takes your phone to a restaurant, at the very least, it should always be set to vibrate. If you see a call you must take, you should excuse yourself from the table and take the call outside. For my money, this is still rude as hell. Can’t you possibly shut the phone off for an hour, and check the messages after lunch?
It’s funny how defensive people get about their phones. I think it’s part of their inability to critical think. Once the found out they could be connected 24/7, it never occurred to them that this might not be a good thing. Then they talk about what would happen if some emergency came up. Didn’t we get by fine without them for 5,000 years?
I constantly have people tell me, “I can’t believe you don’t have a cell phone.” They are always surprised when I tell them I have one that works everywhere in the world. They want to know why I’m not carrying it. Because my mama raised me right.
So what does your cell phone etiquette say about you?