Telephone Manners

Technology is changing the rules of telephone etiquette so rapidly that many people don’t know what’s right or wrong anymore. In the past telephone rules were to answer the phone politely and take a message. 
Today, technology not only has multiplied your communication options but
has also made the number of opportunities for making an etiquette faux pas greater.

Let’s review the basics of phone etiquette:

A basic “Hello” remains the standard for answering your phone today. Never pick up the phone and ask “Who’s this?” If the person does not state who they are you may ask in a polite way “May I ask who is calling?”

If the call is for someone else, let them know that you will get the person. Then immediately go find them and let them know the phone is for them. 
Do not shout into the phone “Jessica it’s for YOU!!” If you must call
out to the person please be sure to cover the mouthpiece first. If the person is unavailable, offer to take a message, and be sure to write it down. 
No one likes to find out later that someone called three days ago.

If you have caller ID you will know who is calling you in advance. Do not answer the phone by saying “Hi Nancy!” This will throw the caller off guard and in the future when you don’t answer the phone when they call they may wonder if you are screening their calls and intentionally avoiding them.

When placing a call let the phone ring 6 to 8 times give a person a chance to get to the phone.

When the phone is answered identify yourself, state your name. If you are calling for someone else keep your conversation brief with the person who has answered the phone.

Ask the person if it is a good time to call, if they are in the middle of something you can always call back.

In general it is a good idea to place your calls between 9:00 am and 9:00 pm unless you are certain a person doesn’t mind being called earlier or later.

Do not busy yourself with other things while making a phone call, keyboarding, washing dishes, eating making noise. This suggests that your attention is elsewhere.

Do not, I repeat do not; take the opportunity to use the restroom while on the phone. If you must, let the person know that you have an emergency that you must take care of and that you will call them right back.

When speaking, think of the way you sound. Make sure you enunciate you words clearly and precisely.
It is embarrassing to be asked to repeat what you are saying. Your voice
reflects your courtesy, since that person on the other end of the line cannot
see your facial expressions your "tone of voice" will need to express this. If you smile when you talk it will come across on the other end of the line.


It is usually the rule that the person who made the call is the person that ends the call, so if you find that the conversation is getting a bit winded it is perfectly ok to repeat what you called for and close the conversation.



Cell Phones the good and the bad


Cell phones are an obvious boon to communication. For better or worse they are part of the modern world. In many cases, this modern innovation is definitely for the better.  They give us increased productivity and convenience and if you are in an emergency situation on the road, a cell phone can be a life saver.

Four cell phone bad habits:

  1. Leaving the ringer on in quiet places. Turn off the phone before entering a concert hall, library, museum, waiting room, and place of worship, theater or other public venue. If there is one way to upset people in masse this is it. You can put you phone on vibrate if you are expecting a very important call.
  2. Ignoring people that you are with. When with others they should be your main focus. Nothing says to those you are with “I really don’t care about you” then answering or talking on the phone while with them.
  3. Having a phone conversation while dining, shopping, standing in line, sitting on a bus.  Basically while out and about in public.  If you must have a conversation, excuse yourself, find a quiet corner and have your conversation away from others.  No one wants to hear about your personal business.
  4. Making calls just to fill the time. You are bored and feel like talking while outand about. Please refrain from calling everyone in your address book. Unless itis essential to speak to someone please refrain. Keep calls as short as possible; the longer the call, the greater the irritation to those who have no choice but to listen.


Text messaging


Text messaging is becoming the norm for everyday communication, it is expected that texting will outpace phone calls within the next few years. Remember to do the following:

  1. Use common courtesy, a greeting to start the message and a courtesy to end it.
  2. Be aware of peoples schedules do not expect them to text you right back.
  3. Keep your message short.
  4. If you receive a text message by mistake, ignore it.
  5. If you are texting someone that does not have you in their address book start by identifying yourself and the company you represent.
  6. Always acknowledge text messages, either by texting back or with a phone call. People should not be left to wonder if you received their message. The common rule is that all communication should be responded to within 24 hours.

“If wisdom’s ways you wisely seek,
 Five things observe with care: 
 Of whom you speak 

to whom you speak,
 And how

 and when

and where.”

–from Little
House on the Prairie

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"Manners are a sensitive awareness of others.  if you have that awareness, you have good manners, no matter what fork you use."

-Emily Post

American author on etiquette

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