The subject of bad cell phone manners has a lot of people pissed off. By most recent Blog “When Using a Smart Phone Isn’t Very Smart” generated a lot of response including many emails sent to me direct, complaining about this topic. Emotions ranged from moderate irritation to outright anger at this blatant disregard for common courtesy. So how should we handle these situations when we encounter them? I am interested to hear from you about this very disrespectful mannerism.
So I asked myself , “Am I also an offender of this offensive behavior”? And my answer (and I admit this very embarrassingly) is yes – sometimes – meaning that if I am expecting a call I will answer the phone and then respectfully tell the caller that I am in a meeting and I will call them back. Is this acceptable? It seems not. That is what voicemail is for, but why do I feed compelled to be so available? I am seriously going to evaluate how I handle these situations and change my actions moving forward. It is so easy to criticize others even when you are also at fault.
So this brings me back to my original question, how do we handle these situations proactively? Like when someone answers their cell phone while you are in the middle of an important conversation… when people in your immediate proximity talk about inappropriate stuff… when someone stops to read a text during a meeting…. when someone’s loud annoying ringtone goes off in the middle of a presentation… and the list goes on. This subject has been addressed again and again with list after list of cell phone etiquette tips being presented….How to be polite when using your PDA. How to have good cell phone manners. Google “cell phone etiquette” and there are several pages of articles. Even The Huffington Post recently provided 15 rules to follow http://ow.ly/3OjeT and back in 2008 another list was generated http://ow.ly/3Ojq3, but if you Google something about “how to handle rude cell phone behavior” there is a lack of information on the topic. Most of us do nothing because we just don’t know what to do or say or perhaps we don’t know how to stop our own inadequate conduct. It seems these tips and recommendations are not helping although we are still pissed off about this epidemic of rudeness.
My point of view is to not address rudeness with rudeness. Start by making a reasonable request and ask them to not answer their phone, text, email while you are presenting/talking because it is distracting to you and those around you. Be firm, but polite. If they fail to comply you can evaluate your best response based on your situation. In my classroom, I ask students to leave. When I am with a client I let it go, when I am with a colleague, depending on the situation, I may leave so I can attend to my own business needs.
What suggestions do you have??? Knowing this is a problem has already been addressed, now let’s figure out what to do about it. This is your chance to speak out and I will share the results….