Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Mobile Phone Etiquette

The buzz of mobile chatter is everywhere. Cell phones are our constant companions. We eat, sleep, work and pray with our cell phones by our side. As we grow up developing the correct habits and manners for school, work, family etc, now it is also necessary that we learn the right etiquette of mobile phone use.

Here are some essentials

Switch it Off

Imagine being enraptured in the 3D world of Avatar when suddenly you hear “jhalak dikhlaja” playing next to you. Really spoils the mood doesn’t it? Putting your phone on silent or switching it off inside a movie theatre is a complete must.

The same goes for other places like seminar rooms, hospitals, auditoriums, places of worship etc. These are common places where you will be asked to switch off your phone or keep it on silent mode.

In Airplanes, it is extremely vital that you switch off when you are being asked to. It’s not just common courtesy, but your cell phone’s radar can interfere with the pilot’s work.

So if you see a notice saying “Please Switch of your Cell Phones” or if you are asked to do, make sure you comply.

The Proximity Rule

When in public, maintain your distance while you are on a call. Courtesy dictates that you keep at least 10 feet away from the nearest person. This way you prevent others from eavesdropping. Also, it often makes the other person uncomfortable if they are able to listen in to your conversation.

With the same rule in mind, try to avoid making calls in elevators, vehicles, conferences, theatres and other areas where you are in a confined space.

Being on the phone constantly while on a public transport is just not cool. Switch on the radio and listen to some music instead. Taking calls in the middle of dinner, especially when you are out with friends or family, can be considered as an insult by those around you.

Talking and Driving

It is against the law to talk on the phone while driving. Whether the traffic police notices it or not, you should be aware that it is dangerous for you as the driver. Talking on your mobile or texting while driving creates distraction leading to accidents or delays. It can be really frustrating for other drivers on the road if you delay them because you are on the phone.

If you have to take the call, pull over first. Research even shows that taking calls while driving can affect your relationships. It makes sense. Road rage is continuously on the rise. If your wife calls when you’ve just been cut off by a rash driver, you will most likely scream at her for no reason.

So be courteous to the person calling. For once, just don’t take the call and explain later. Another option is to put your phone on voice mail or call divert while driving.

Control the Volume

Don’t shout, especially when in a public place. It distracts others and reflects negatively on you. Your mobile has a very sensitive microphone which will catch your voice even if you whisper. If the connection is bad, screaming into the phone won’t help anyway. So if the person on the other end can’t hear you, send an SMS.

Keep your tone Civil

Yelling at or arguing with someone on the phone is considered very impolite. Maintain a public voice if you can’t avoid others hearing you. Reserve your private conversations for a private setting.

Ringtones and Music

Ringtones are often a source of irritation for those in a public place, especially on public transport. The people around you are already loaded with their daily burdens and disappointments. Don’t add to their troubles by making them hear songs they don’t want to. As I am sure you will expect from them as well.

If you are in a public place, put your phone on vibration. It will also be more convenient for you as public places tend to be very noisy.

And Never play music on loudspeaker when in public. You have earphones, use them!

When in Company

Firstly, it’s always best practice to not take a call when you are socially or otherwise engaged. But if you have to take a call while in the company of others, be sensitive to their comfort. Let them know that the call is important and you will make it brief.

Make sure that you do keep the call brief. And follow that proximity rule again. Step away while you talk. Keep your volume down as you talk and let the caller know that you will get back to them as soon as possible.

Mobile phone etiquette are all about showing concern for those around you. It’s a give and take. By following these basic tips and showing consideration for others, you spread the habit along with you. And if you expect others to show you the same consideration for you, then take the first step yourself.

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