I was presenting a customer service program last week when a participant asked how to handle customers who continued to talk on their cell phones while she tried to help them.
“Isn’t that rude?” she asked.
She was obviously a nicer person than I am, since she had to ask.
Of course it’s rude, disrespectful, arrogant, and unprofessional to carry on a cell phone conversation when a “live” person is in front of you waiting to communicate with you.
Hopefully, you’re not guilty of any of these cell phone communication infractions. However, if you are, it’s time to end your dependence on your cell phone and put it away — or someone may decide to take it away from you.
1. Talking on the phone while checking out at a store.
If your conversation is so important, complete it before you get in line at the checkout. Not only is it rude and disrespectful to the clerk trying to assist you, but you delay the checkout process and hold up the rest of us in line behind you.
2. Checking your phone, taking calls, or texting during a meeting.
When you decide to attend a meeting, you’re making a commitment to being a participant, not a passenger. You can’t participate when you’re engaging in a “conversation” unrelated to the meeting’s topic and with parties who are not even at the meeting. If your calls or texts are that important, don’t come to the meeting, or in emergency or other special circumstances, such as a hospitalized relative, at least step out of the room.
3. Talking on your phone while at your table in a restaurant.
Those of us trying to enjoy a rare, quiet dinner out don’t want to hear you loudly arguing with your sister, boyfriend, or mother-in-law. It’s about as enjoyable as listening to a screaming kid in a restaurant. As with the meeting situation above, if you must take a call, get up and take it outside the restaurant— and if you come across any screaming children on your way out, take them with you.
4. Continuing to talk on your cell phone when your:
walks into the room for the appointment that YOU scheduled. For anyone who has seen their appointment time come and go, maybe it’s because these folks fell behind schedule waiting on cell-phone dependent patients who just had to finish those “important” calls.
5. Forgetting, (or refusing), to silence your phone in all of the above situations.
Unless you’re an emergency responder, are on an organ transplant list, or have some other “life in the balance” situation going on in your life, you can and should shut your phone off for the length of a meeting, appointment, or one-on-one time with a colleague or loved one while enjoying a meal. Whoever is calling can wait.
Finally, here’s a bonus sign your phone should be confiscated — talking on your phone in an elevator, restroom, or other space where those around you can’t escape your conversation.
In the case of the elevator, wait until you get out. How tall is that building that you can’t wait 30 seconds until you reach your floor? And “stall calls”… really? I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a public restroom and listened to someone having an extensive conversation while in the middle of “using the facilities.” Not only weird, but I’m thinking pretty unsanitary.
What other signs would you add to this list?
All of the above are “spot-on”! These situations involve others around you that may not be
“in your party”. I sometimes find myself waiting for my friend to put down his cell phone before I try to start up a conversation. Even then, eye contact is not guaranteed for the entire conversation.
Bev, you’re right. Not only is eye contact not guaranteed, but you can be pretty sure the listening/attention isn’t going to be there either.
I’m glad you mentioned the last one about calls in the elevator or bathroom. But to this you should add people talking on the phone when riding the train or bus. Just as above, it seems impossible for you to escape these conversations, and they are usually extremely uncomfortable. Especially when they are yelling or screaming at the person on the other end. AWKWARD!
Great point Cassie! People on cell phones should remember that they don’t have a sound-proof bubble around them and that maybe the rest of us don’t want to be a part of their arguments, romance, or anything else!