There are plenty of posts and blogs with thoughts on phone etiquette. One of the best I’ve seen is this one on wikihow. More and more, phone etiquette seems to apply to cell phones, and less to tethered phones like land lines, magicJack and alternative VOIP solutions. Yes, it could be your business or home phone, but there are still rules in play for proper manners on the phone.

One of the most important rules is not to multitask. Don’t watch a video while you’re talking with your mother. Don’t iron a shirt or replace light bulbs perched on a rickety chair while arguing over the phone with your spouse. Sure, you can boil an egg or make breakfast if you’ve got the muscle memory, but anything that needs immediate attention should mean you put down the phone, if only for the moment you’re doing something safely. Don’t do housework while talking with your family members. Sit down, or stand, whatever. Just be still and give the other person your undivided attention.

One of the rudest things you can do is chat, text or message another person while you’re talking with someone on the phone. The only reasonable time for using chat or messaging while talking with someone on the phone is during webinar conferences where you are the facilitator or you have a question for the presenter. Anything else is just rude.

Check out Nick Rodrigues’ art piece from 10 years ago on this subject. Photo credit: Nick Rodrigues.

portable cell phone booth

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