In two recent nationwide surveys conducted by NFI
Research, proper cell phone usage stuck out as a thorn in the side of
senior executives and managers. They were not talking just about loud
cell phone usage on the road, but the increasing usage of cell phones
in the normal course of the workday.
Three-fifths of survey respondents said that conducting business
would be improved if more people used cell phones appropriately. In a
separate survey, loud cell phone usage was cited as the top annoyance
after office politics.
Perhaps it is time for the adoption of better cell phone manners in business, with more focus on cell phone etiquette.
“Cell phone interruptions in meetings:Turn them off,” said one survey
respondent. Said another: “The biggest issue is allowing cell phones to
ring (and answering them) during meetings.”
Except under extraordinary circumstances, there is no reason to
either answer a cell phone during a meeting or, worse, take the call
and have a conversation while the meeting is still going on.
And what about the rudenik who not only takes the call but then – to
avoid interrupting the meeting – walks out of the room talking on the
phone, then returns after the call thereby interrupting the meeting not
once, but twice.
If someone leaves a cell phone on during a meeting, it begs the
question: Is this meeting really necessary for that person to attend if
a cell phone call from anyone could be allowed to interrupt it?
Much of the insensitivity around cell phone
use started on the road, as businesspeople – seemingly oblivious to
those around them – shouted into their cell phones as if they were
talking to a person through cans connected by string.
“The use of cell phones in public places, especially on airplanes once
you board, has gotten out of hand,” said one respondent. “It seems like
a lot of folks want to do it just to impress others on how important
they are. Look for air rage if the government allows people to talk on
cell phones throughout a flight. Also, folks seem to like to talk in
restaurants while eating with others, which is extremely rude. I
recently saw a manager go to tables and ask people to go outside if
they were going to use their cell phones. Most of these calls are not
emergencies, and it is very discourteous to others to behave in this
Said another: “Cell phones can be so helpful and so harmful, interrupting business but also interrupting personal life.”
It is time for those being interrupted by annoying, discourteous
or even rude or obnoxious cell phone usage in their normal business to
make it clear that they do not appreciate it by either stating it, or
walking away leaving the offender alone with the cell phone.