A friend of mine just quoted to me, he lost his Mobile phone for a while and till he got it back he felt as if he lost a vital body part! Well, it's true with many of us, Mobile phones whether we like it or not has become a part of our body. If it's missing we feel isolated, If it's not ringing for a long time, we will check your phone, “something wrong?” No doubt, Mobile phone revolution is probably the most important tech development of the past two decades.
By the way, I started my Sales career in Mobile phone Industry during late 90's and it was really tough selling a Mobile phone connection those days since it was a concept selling. I still remember the then C.E.O of Escotel Mobile Communications Ltd., Mr.Manoj Kohli's words, " A day will come where our people will not be able to live their lives without Mobile phones ". Time proved it - we are addicted to Mobile phones and today with the advent of mobile phones and international connectivity, the world is indeed shrinking rather making “geography a history "!
It's true that mobile communication provides many benefits, including convenience, flexibility and personal security, but sometimes it can be intrusive to others. One of the biggest social issues with Mobile phones is privacy. The fact is, we have become so accustomed to using our phones for everyday tasks - talking to friends, running our business, keeping up to date with news, events etc. But we don't realize that Mobile phones are at times a distraction for us and others. I fear, an epidemic of inconsiderate Mobile phone use has given the device a bad reputation.
At times, Mobile phones turn people into rude non-connective human beings. Text messaging, E-mail, Internet - Mobile phone capabilities are amazing; however, many people have forgotten their manners when they use Mobile phones. Look around - A Rude Mobile phone user is everywhere - driving in cars, walking on the street, in Cafes and Restaurants and even at the adjacent cubicle at workplace.
We live in a time where, many of us need to answer calls when they come in, no matter where or when because people expect us to answer their calls. We even need to make calls no matter where or when because people are expecting us to be able to carry on our business no matter where we are. The fact is some people use their Mobile phones politely and effectively. But some need a helping hand. Often without realizing it, some phone owners alienate and irritate those around them by the way they use their Mobile phones.
Mobile phone rings in Cinema Theatres, Restaurants and other public places are really annoying the people around. On the other hand, unsolicited calls from Telemarketing Executives have become a nuisance for every single Mobile phone user.
I guess it's time for us to use Mobile phones with a certain degree of etiquette especially in places where we might appear impolite if we use or even when our Mobile phone rings. The underlying principle of any good manners is the thoughtful consideration of the interests and feelings of others. Given with the fact that, Mobile phone has become the most important business communication tool, we need to understand, if we don't set proper etiquette, it can lead to misunderstandings, bad impressions, anger and sometimes embarrassment.
In this article let me try to explore the Mobile phone etiquette, discovering that it is as often our unconscious actions that are bad manners, as our more obvious errors.
1. Know the basics: Be prepared when we answer the call or make a call - before we even touch the phone. Speak clearly that the other person can hear your voice properly. Always stick to the subject than wasting time beating around the bush. Most importantly, know how to use the equipment properly. Saying, “Sorry, I haven't a clue how to use this phone " or cutting someone off mid-sentence are signs of incompetence.
2. Have presence of mind: Be always alert. Let's don't stay on the phone and ignore someone waiting to talk to us. Take a call only if it won't interrupt. Generally, don't accept calls during lunch, dinner, a movie or when we are in an important meeting. Excuse ourselves if we must take a call. Remember to carry on one conversation at a time. Let's don't attempt to talk on the phone and with another person simultaneously.
3. Have control when we talk in public places: Let's keep our volume under control. If we are a loud talker, then we will need to learn how to speak quietly on the phone. Remember, the whole world isn't interested in our phone conversation, so the less of it they can hear, the better! Never speak on your phone in a public place while on speakerphone.Turn off our Mobile phone before entering Movie Theaters, Worship places, Restaurants, Public Transportation or any other place where it may be irritating and disruptive to others. If we don't wish to turn it off it's better to set your phone's ringer to vibration or silent mode.
4. Respect others time & privacy: Let's not make or take calls while we are out to dinner with others. It is so rude to be on the phone when we are at dinner with others. Think about how we would feel if someone invited us over to their house for dinner and then they proceed to talk on the phone throughout the whole dinner. It is also important that we don't continuously check your phone while out with others. Checking our Mobile phone repeatedly while we are out with others will leave them feeling like we have something better to do. Another important thing, some people don't like to be photographed. When using a camera phone it’s important to respect the rights of others and not to intrude on their privacy.
5. Ringtone - Make it pleasant: We know unattended Mobile phones and left to ring out with annoying jingles, both cause major distractions, especially in public places and offices. I read recently that, irritating Mobile phone rings have been voted the top ten workplace annoyances! It is better to set the ringtone at a low level with a tune that is soft, gentle or put it into vibration / silent mode in any situation like a Worship place, a Hospital or a School or a Meeting where a ringing sound would prove disturbing to other people.
6. One thing at a time - No Multi-Tasking: Among us, some people are better at juggling many tasks at the same time than others, but there are some things in life that deserve our full attention. The busy person multi-tasking at a desk can be a wonderful model of efficiency, handling - phone, keyboard, coffee cup and remote control all at the same time, but at other times, multi-tasking can be hazardous, rude and inefficient. Talking over a phone and doing several things together will invite error in all the things we do and it's better to avoid it.
7. Switch off Mobile phone where it is prohibited to use: It goes without saying inside Aircraft it is mandatory to switch off our Mobile phones. We will almost certainly be reminded by the cabin crew; we must switch off our mobile phone since Aircraft contain electronic devices, some of which may be sensitive to interference. People are asked to switch off mobiles in some areas of Hospitals, as a precaution to avoid interference with sensitive equipment. There could be several other places where the Mobile phones are prohibited to use, watch the board, follow the law!
8. Avoid Mobile phone while driving: It's said that Mobile phones can kill. No, I am not talking about frying our brain by constantly using it. I am talking about using our phones while driving. It can be a killer. People using Mobile phones while driving are much less attentive to the road and road conditions rather we can say they have one ear and eye on their conversation and one on the road! Remember, it can kill them & us!
9. Time - No Mobile phone before it's time: The question is, do we really want to be accessible for anyone and everyone on a twenty-four/seven basis? The fact is, the more available we make ourselves; the more available everybody will anticipate us to be. By making we available day in and day out, we create our own nightmare! It's better to fix the time when to turn the phone on or off. The Mobile phone will continue chasing us on all the time in all places regardless of the situation. Remember, we need some private time with our family without the disturbance of calls.
Hope you feel that the above thoughtful use of our Mobile phone – or in other words the correct Mobile phone etiquette – is important both in considering others and helping to keep us and those around us happy and safe. I also feel it's time for the Mobile Service Operators to provide a leaflet on Mobile phone etiquette along with the regular Mobile phone user/service manual.
No doubt, worldwide the Mobile phone users are growing fast and today the Mobile phone is not just a communication gadget, but a Music System, a Digital Camera, a Mini Computer with Internet connectivity, and it's even a Television. All these features eliminate the need for carrying different gadgets and no wonder it has become an external human body part for many of us!
When the whole world is getting connected and more and more people are getting hooked to Mobile phones, don't you think it is important for us to realize that being unmannered isn't part of modernism? Let's abide by the certain degree of etiquette, which will be really useful to us and our society. We can't let the Mobile phone etiquette to be a forgotten concept anymore and we need to help every Mobile phone users to use it politely and effectively.
By: Shamim Rafeek