By Ned McRae

A study by Oberlo reveals that the number of global mobile phone users has already reached 6.6 million this year. With this increase in the use of mobile phones, it is imperative that everyone follows basic mobile phone etiquette, especially in public spaces. SpinTel is one with the rest of the world in observing proper decorum when taking calls, replying to messages, and using the phone for other purposes.

Why was mobile phone etiquette institutionalised?

The failure of some people to observe social norms and simple mobile phone etiquette is one of the main reasons behind the institution of the National Cell Phone Courtesy Month. This event started in 2002 when a manners expert felt the need to remind people of basic phone etiquette. Together with Sprint, Jacqueline Whitmore successfully institutionalized July as the phone courtesy observance month.

In keeping up with this celebration, we’ve rounded up some basic mobile phone etiquette you should observe. You may already know some of this, but here’s a sweet reminder just in case.

Silence is Golden

Good mobile phone etiquette suggests switching your phone to silent mode during a meeting, watching a movie in a theatre, at work, or in a restaurant. When on vibrate mode, do not put your phone on the table or other hard surfaces to prevent distracting others when calls or messages come in. Avoid checking notifications constantly and focus on the people you are with.

Be Discreet When On a Call

If you need to call someone or receive an important call, always excuse yourself and step outside the room. In addition, move away from the entrances or windows where others can see you pacing to and fro and making gestures. These actions can cause anxiety in some people and might annoy others.

Using a headset when talking on the phone is the best way to avoid being rude. It is disrespectful to talk on the phone in public because you are taking up others’ time and making them wait for you. If you are trying to have a conversation with someone, likely, they would rather be doing something else than waiting for your phone call to end

Proper mobile phone etiquette means respecting other people’s space. By using a headset when talking on the phone while out and about, people will not know what you are up to and will not feel obligated to listen in as they pass by you; plus, it also keeps your hands free so that they can be used for other things (like eating food).

Keep Your Call Confidential

There are times when the network connection weakens and the line gets choppy, making it hard for both ends to hear what the other is saying. In this case, people often raise their voices even in public places.

To maintain proper decorum in these instances, it’s best to use earphones. This is especially true if you’re taking a confidential call that tends to be emotional or a business call meant just for you. Raising your voice in public can make people around you feel uncomfortable, distracted, or annoyed. This is undoubtedly not one for your “cell phone etiquette books.” In such a situation, you can ask the person on the other line to hold till you find a spot with a better signal or simply call back later once you reach home.

Don't Make Calls When You're Driving

There are several things you should not be doing while driving, and talking on the phone is one of them. In fact, using the phone for any reason while driving is against the law. It can be dangerous if you're not focused on the road ahead of you at all times. In case of an urgent call or text, park your car in a safe spot and then use your mobile phone.

Don’t Be Obsessed With Your Phone But Don't Just Leave It

When your phone is not in your hand, it’s best to keep it somewhere safe and near you. Here are some important phone etiquettes you must observe regarding leaving your phones:

  • Don't leave your phone unattended in a public place if it’s ringing or buzzing with notifications. You can consider putting it on silent or if you need to take a call on the street, consider moving into an alleyway or stairwell where there are fewer people around.

  • Don't leave your phone in your car—even if it's locked inside. This leaves the possibility of thieves smashing through windows to steal it.

Don't Expect Quick Responses from Everyone

People have lives to live and things to attend to. Even if you think someone should respond to you immediately, they may not be able to. They may also want a break from their phone. This can include family time, sleep, work obligations, or personal time.

Sending them a message saying, “Did you get my email yet?” or “Why hasn’t anyone responded to me?” will make them feel bad for not being able to respond immediately. Not expecting everyone to reply quickly is also a good mobile phone etiquette one must observe.

Turn Off Your Phone When Required

Turning your phone off means you can't be interrupted and distracted. It also means you can focus on the task, whether a movie or lecture in class or just enjoying time with friends and family outside of mobile range. This is a critical mobile phone etiquette everyone must observe.

While some people may think this is rude, it's highly considerate to those around them—especially if they're doing something important or trying to concentrate on something else entirely, like reading a book or getting work done on their own device.

Why is observing mobile phone etiquette important?

Following mobile phone etiquette is crucial to making other people feel respected and valued when you’re with them. Also, it’s best to be present for your loved ones, friends, and workmates. This ensures stronger relationships and sustains your professionalism with people around you.

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