Is this little habit driving your friends and colleagues mad?
IT’S SO EASY TO SEE when other people aren’t minding their mobile manners. It’s just maddening to watch them rabbit on about apparent trivia to a voiceless other instead of killing the call. The very least they could do is look embarassed…
But are you doing any better? Maybe what you deem to be ok is also driving others mad, getting in the way of your friendships or even reducing your professional standing. Here are five hot tips for using your cell at work, home and play, as provided by South Africa’s Afroprotocol: African Institute of Protocol. (Good luck and sympathies: we at Thislife have now realised we’d better work on our own phone manners…)

1. KEEP YOUR PHONE OFF THAT TABLE Whether you’re in a meeting, boardroom or at a business lunch, putting your phone on the table or boardroom desk sends a clear message that the people in front of you aren’t your first priority. If you’re expecting an important call, make the host of the meeting aware of it beforehand.

2. CHECK THAT RINGTONE! Using your favourite song as your ringtone isn’t professional. Opt for a standard ringtone or put your phone on vibrate at work.

3. DROPPED CALL NO-NOS Never tell the person you’re speaking to that a dropped call was caused by their phone, especially if it’s a client! It seems petty and doesn’t make them feel good.

4. TEXTING Don’t engage with clients via text or Whatsapp. Stick to professional means of communication: email or a phone call.

5. KEEP IT DOWN Wanna be nice to work with? Well, if you’re in an open/shared workspace, you’d better be conscious of others. This includes not leaving your cell phone on your desk to ring ad infinitum if you’re not around. Keep the volume down when speaking to prevent bothering your colleagues.

People take precedence over phone calls. Sorry.

1. MEALTIMES We know, we know. You’re desperate to share or find about about something  and it’s only your family for supper. But it’s just bad manners to have your phone visible at the table and think about it, these are actually the people that mean the most to you!

2. A PHYSICAL PRESENCE WINS A key rule of cellular etiquette is that people take precedence over cellphones. No matter who’s on the other side of that phone, how about respecting the people you’re actually with by giving them your full attention?

3. EXCUSE YOURSELF If you really, really need to answer that phone, say sorry and ask permission first! Because family can be more forgiving, we tend to forgo a lot of the common courtesies with them.

4. CLEAN UP YOUR ACT! Avoid inappropriate conversations in front of children. Sometimes we get caught up in the moment and lose track of what we’re saying, but remember, children are like sponges and pick up on every little detail.

5. IN THE CAR It’s illegal, it’s dangerous and it disconnects you from the driving! If you’re a passenger, try to keep the driver company instead of fiddling on your phone.

The more awkward you’re feeling, the more you should put down that device!

1. SHY? At parties, restaurants, social events, etc, cellphones have become a refuge for people who are feeling awkward. But don’t get lost in your cell, push yourself to connect with others and meet new people instead.

2. DON’T GOOGLE Yes we know, when you’re in a group it’s so tempting to look something up to share with your mates but this is a sure fire way of pouring cold water on the conversation’s fire and energy.

3. HOT DATE? Avoid your phone completely! Using your phone when with a potential significant other sends a clear message that you don’t value them or their company. Keen for repeat romance? Steer clear of that cell.

4. HOLD THOSE PICS! If you’re going to be posting photos while you’re out and about, make sure that everyone in the pic is happy about this. Maybe they didn’t invite everyone to that birthday party you’re splashing across the net, or they won’t be particularly thrilled by the whole world seeing up their nostrils, even if it’s the best shot of YOU ever taken…

5. IN THE CAR See our Family Rules, point 5. Cos we probably need to say it again…


TOO EASY The greatest benefit of cellphones can sometimes be the root of the problem. Spontaneity being one of them. Remember the moment you tweet, text or post something in the heat of the moment, it’s out there for the world to see. Whether it’s a business, social or family matter, take time to consider very carefully the content you’re posting or communicating with your cellphone. It may come back to bite you later on. Et tu, Donald.

MANNERS MAKETH THE MAN Practically all of us suffer from hurry syndrome, so cellphone communication in most instances has become very informal. It seems blindingly obvious but it’s really easy to forget in this hectic life. Check back in your messages: did you actually greet the person and most importantly, say goodbye? Please, thank you and you’re welcome are also rather lovely to receive.

KEEP YOUR FOCUS Being in constant communication is stimulating and fun at times but can also distract you and drastically diminish your productivity. Make a conscious effort to focus on projects without the distraction of constantly picking up your phone for emails, texts or to surf the web.

GOOD LUCK and remember Thislife Online is suffering through this with you!

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