July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month

Joni Blecher
Editor Director - LetsTalk.com from San Francisco, CA
Published: July 13, 2009

So have you been politely talking on your cell phone this month?  (We hope you are a courteous talker everyday, but with it being National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, our friend Joni Blecher of Lets Talk highlights some proper etiquette cell phone tips below.  

We've all encountered some people with absolutely no cell phone etiquette. In fact, LetsTalk.com has been doing surveys on the topic since 2000. According to Karen Leland's Huffington Post article, Jacqueline Whitmore, author of "Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work" and President of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Inc., officially founded National Cell Phone Courtesy Month in 2002. Since then, cell phones have become even more a part of everyday life. People seem to be getting better about their cell phone usage or at least views have changed a bit about what is acceptable according to these cumulative results.

At any rate, now seems like a good time to remind people of some simple etiquette rules to keep in mind when using a cell phone. Remember, you may not be aware of your surroundings when you take a call, but depending on your behavior other people will be aware of you.

When in doubt, mute:  Many establishments ask customers to refrain from using cell phones, but no one wants to actually miss a call. Most cell phones have a vibrate feature, set it to that if you're afraid of missing a call and then take or return the call in an appropriate setting.

Choose Ringtones You Won't Regret: Personalized ringtones have become a certifiable hit. Your kids may love your Fred Flinstone ?YabbaDabbaDoo!? ringtone, but it might not be a hit in the board room.

Talk, Don't Yell: For some unknown reason, most of us speak louder when we dial. Stop the urge to act like a primitive Neanderthal and scream into your cell phone.

When in Earshot Keep it Short: People around you don't really want to be privy to your personal conversations.

Don't Text and Drive: Talking on a cell phone while driving isn't just dangerous, it's actually illegal in many states.

Excuse Yourself Before Taking the Call: The call may be important to you, but realize you're also important to the person in front or next to you.

Say Please Before They Say Cheese: The proliferation of camera phones means that almost everyone is walking around with a camera in their pocket. People are increasingly more sensitive to this fact, so use the photo feature with discretion.

If it's An Emergency, Take The Call: Occasionally, an emergency is going to arise at an inopportune cell phone time. No matter where you are, if you believe it may be an emergency, do take the call. What do you think?

Any etiquette tips you'd like to add? Leave us a comment.