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The Visionaries Issue

This Web Exclusive was featured in Volume 4, Issue 1 of techlife magazine.

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Tips on proper smartphone and cellphone etiquette

You know that person. Or maybe you are that person. His phone is always on. He feels the need to answer every call. She checks her mobile device every time it beeps or vibrates, no matter where she is or who she’s with.

“Everyone loves to play with their phones, but the bottom line is, you have to use good sense and manners,” says corporate trainer Paula Goebel.

Improve your smartphone and cellphone etiquette with this advice from Goebel:

1. Your phone doesn’t always have to be on. You can return a call later. And there are some places your phone should never be on: at church, at a funeral home, during a wedding, in a hospital, on a plane.

2. If you’re expecting an important call, put your phone on vibrate so you don’t disrupt the function or group you’re with. When that call comes, excuse yourself and keep it short. When you take a call and talk for a long time, “You give the impression that the (people you are with) aren’t valuable.”

3. You don’t have to take every call. “That’s a real issue. People can’t resist the temptation to take every single call,” Goebel says.

4. Never text or email during meetings. “That is the absolute in rude behaviour,” Goebel says. “What you’re really saying with your actions is that you don’t care about this meeting one bit.” If you’re the chair of a meeting, ask people to turn their phones off or put them on vibrate.

5. When in public, speak quietly, particularly in restaurants.

6. Use an appropriate ring tone. Make sure your ring tone matches the professional image you want to convey.

About our expert

Paula Goebel, founder of Goebel Communications Group, is a professional speaker and corporate trainer specializing in business communications and leadership. She graduated with a Marketing Management diploma from NAIT in 1985 and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Alberta in 1987. She has worked in human resources and taught at NAIT and, currently, Grant MacEwan University.