We’ve all seen it… The guy on public transportation yelling into his phone on what would otherwise be a quiet ride, the dinner date who checks his or her phone when you’re trying to tell a story, the person next to you on the treadmill at the gym talking on his or her phone. It’s hard to deny that many folks are attached to their phones, but it’s important to be mindful of how your smartphone usage is affecting those around you.
July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, an event founded by author and etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore in 2002 with the intent of making cell phone users more respectful of their surroundings. Whitmore offers this advice in honor of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month:
– Be all there: When you’re in a meeting, performance, courtroom or other busy area, let calls go to voicemail to avoid a disruption. In some instances, turning your phone off may be the best solution.
– Keep it private: Be aware of your surroundings and avoid discussing private or confidential information in public. You never know who may be in hearing range.
– Keep your cool: Don’t display anger during a public call. Conversations that are likely to be emotional should be held where they will not embarrass or intrude on others.
– Learn to vibe: Always use your wireless phone’s silent or vibration settings in public places such as business meetings, religious services, schools, restaurants, theaters or sporting events so that you do not disrupt your surroundings.
– Avoid “cell yell:” Remember to use your regular conversational tone when speaking on your wireless phone. People tend to speak more loudly than normal and often don’t recognize how distracting they can be to others.
– Follow the rules: Some places, such as hospitals or airplanes, restrict or prohibit the use of mobile phones, so adhere to posted signs and instructions. Some jurisdictions may also restrict mobile phone use in public places.
– Excuse yourself. If you are expecting a call that can’t be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; the people you are with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.
– Focus on driving: Always practice wireless responsibility while driving. Firstly, be aware of and obey the state laws. Don’t make or answer calls while in heavy traffic or in hazardous driving conditions. Place calls when your vehicle is not moving, and use a hands-free device to help focus attention on safety. Always make safety your most important call. And always check the laws of your particular state.