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#667: Cell Phone Manners

Posted By Mark Haas CMC FIMC, Tuesday, October 04, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, October 04, 2011
The great thing about texting is that I can stay in touch with people even when I am in a meeting without interrupting anything. Isn't this better than taking a cell call?

The message you send (and I mean the one to your client, colleague or others with whom you are meeting, and not the text message) is that they are easily demoted to lower importance by anyone else who happens to want your attention. Most people feel the same way about being bumped by a text message as being told by someone with caller notification who says, when beeped in the middle of a call, "oh, just let me see who this is." The message is that whatever we are talking about is so unimportant that, even though I don't know who is on the line, I'd rather be talking to them.

The same applies to texting, even though it is less obvious. If you know you are likely to be interrupted with an emergency message (e.g., waiting for word from the hospital) then announce this in advance to the person or group you are meeting with, just as you would with an expected incoming phone call. If you must make or receive a text, excuse yourself from the room while you do it. Just because it does not involve conversation does not mean that it does not interrupt or annoy others.

Tip: The good thing about cell phones is that you can turn them off when you are in a meeting or talking with someone else. Giving them your undivided attention is just a matter of basic respect.

© 2011 Institute of Management Consultants USA

Tags:  client relations  goodwill  meetings  reputation  technology 

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