Cell Phone Etiquette

Kathy Condon
 


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CELL PHONE ETIQUETTE

Okay, I’ll admit I have been pushed over the edge. This morning, while reading the newspaper, I learned that a major airline is going to allow the use of the cell phone while taxiing to the gate! Can you imagine what that is going to be like?

For two years I have thinking about doing a seminar on cell phone etiquette. Back then; I was sitting in a restaurant waiting for my luncheon companion to arrive. There were two men in the booth next me having a quiet lunch when one of their cell phones went off.

Not only were they oblivious to the fact that I was sitting behind them, they continued to talk on the phone for a half hour. Guess what? They we negotiating a major contract.

It was impossible not to hear them, the terms of the agreement, and what they would give if the going got tough. Hmmmm. Just imagine had I been one of their competitors. How could they have possibly known I wasn’t? For that matter, how did they know the person at booth on their other side wasn’t a competitor or relative of their competitor?

Yes, I have cell phone. Now I cannot imagine working without one. Yet, not even my daughters have my cell phone number. They know I check my home answering often and they know I will get back to them.

My friends, at first, made it a game to see who could be the first one to get the number. One of them did get it by checking their “who just called" notation. They recently laughed and said, “A lot of good it does me, and you never answer it anyway. " That’s right I don’t.

When I am out and about, I’m out and about. I do not have to be in constant contact with my phone. One woman recently said to me “Kathy, I have to available for my clients. " Of course, you do, yet that does not mean that they have to have immediate access to you. When that is necessary, I stay close to my office. I learned long ago clients are flexible and realize I have a life too. In fact, that is probably one of the things that surprised me the most about being self-employed. I thought I had to be available when the clients wanted to make an appointment. Instead they are wonderful about accommodating my schedule.

Now let’s talk about how you finally arranged a luncheon meeting with someone that you find interesting, perhaps a business associate or just a friend you want to get caught up with. You are starting the conversation and their cell phone goes off. They dig the phone out and say, “Just let me see who this is. " They look at it and say “I going to let that one go. " Ten minutes later the phone rings and it is a call they decide they need to take. Five minutes goes by (How significant do you feel, being the one sitting there?) and they hang up and say, “I am sorry, that was so and so. " As if I give a rip…. Then they say, “Here, let me turn off this phone. " Ahh, peace at last.

What people don’t seem to realize that in most case, the people all around you can hear exactly what you are saying. Recently at an airport two colleagues were talking about another colleague in unflattering terms. What difference does that make? What would you say if I told you they used names and one on the cell phone near me was wearing a shirt proudly displaying his company’s logo?

Then there is “Let me take a moment before we begin to make this phone call. "

Keep in mind we had a total of half hour to get our business conducted. They call home, the child begs for something, the adult gets uptight and an argument pursues. You are sitting there “a prisoner" to the conversation. You colleague is upset when you begin the conversation, takes a while to get on track and you have to build up positive rapport again before you can be heard.

Finally, you are at the stop sign. The person turns “Right" in front of you and you can tell his/her mind is not on driving…. The cell phone is up to his/her ear. More than once I held my breath as the car barely brushed by me. They were not concentrating on swinging out farther to make the turn.

I have made a rule for myself to not talk on a cell phone while driving. Not too long ago I was running late and I thought I’d listen to my messages on my home answering machine while driving. Then, I thought to myself, no I have my rule. So I pulled into one of our Waterfront parks. Stopped the car and looked at the river as I listened to calls. After I was through, I no longer felt rushed and that unexpected stop…served me so well.

Finally, if you look around, you will see the people with “Real Power" in our community rarely pull out their cell phones in public. They have found ways to be in touch without having the cell phone being an interruption in their business days. They use them, yet they use them discreetly.

I guess in retrospect that is what I want to convey to those reading this article. I totally believe in cell phone, delighted I have one—yet, when you use them think about the people with you and around you. People are craving to feel significant. When answering the cell phone in their presence, you have decided the person on the other end of the phone is more important than the person sitting in front of you.

Kathy Condon, GCDF, is a Vancouver, Washington based Career Facilitator, International Speaker and Trainer and private coach. She recently developed a new Talk/Seminar on Age/Gender as they relate to the Corporate world. She can be reached at (360) 695-4313, http://www.kathycondon.info kathycondon.info

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