In July 2002, National Cell Phone Courtesy Month was founded by international etiquette expert Jacqueline Whitmore to “encourage the increasingly unmindful corps of cell phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings.” In the intervening 17 years smartphones have become an integral and ubiquitous part of daily life and sometimes we loose sight of the importance of person-to-person contact. July is the perfect time to spend a little less time on the phone and a little more time in the present moment. Below are 7 cell phone etiquette tips to keep in mind all year long:
- Hidden Cell Phone: Whether you are attending an important business meeting, out on a date or even in a casual setting with friends, keep your phone out of site. Placing it on the table or desk sends a message that your present company is not your number-one priority.
- Silent Smartphone: It is polite to turn off your phone before meetings, meals and meaningful moments.
Some Exceptions: Doctors, nurses, first responders, those expecting emergency calls or have children with a caregiver.
- Excuse Me: If you must accept a call, excuse yourself as quietly with an apology, such as: “Please excuse me, I hope to return in a moment.”
- Ten-Foot Rule: When making or taking a call, move at least 10 feet away from others. Step outside and away from windows when responding to a call while in a house of worship, medical office, library, theatre or hospital. Refrain from extended conversations in enclosed public places such as on planes, trains or other public transportation.
- Consider Content Very Carefully: when texting or posting to social media, enough said!
- Don’t Drive & Talk: Remember, Rhode Island now has a hands-free (while driving) cell phone law.
- The Cellular Crutch: Try not to use your phone when you are not sure what else to do in an uncomfortable situation—for example you are alone and do not know anyone at an event. Constantly refering to your phone will keep you from making new acquaintances and connecting with the people around you.
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