Phone etiquette you need to know

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Phone Etiquette You Need to Know

Phone Etiquette You Need to Know

There’s a lot more to proper phone etiquette beyond not screening calls
Phone etiquette you need to know

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There are a lot of questions about modern etiquette, and many of them are about an advancement that most of us are on all day, every day. Yes, we’re talking about cell phones. Whether you use your phone to entertain yourself on your daily commute, keep in touch with loved ones or just to read the news, there are rules of phone etiquette you need to know.

Wait for a few rings, then answer

Wait for a few rings, then answer

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If you’ve ever answered a call on the first ring to a startled second party, it’s probably just because you’ve caught them off guard. While you don’t want it to seem like you’re screening your calls, wait a few seconds and then answer the phone. It’s one of the easiest ways to be more polite.

Answer the phone with a proper greeting

Answer the phone with a proper greeting

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The first rule of phone etiquette is that you shouldn’t just casually say “This is Mary,” “What’s up?” or “Talk to me” when you pick up. One of the old rules of etiquette we need to bring back is starting a phone call with a simple “Hello.”

Smile when you speak

Smile when you speak

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One of the habits of positive people is that they smile when they speak on the phone. While it may feel silly when no one can see you, smiling affects the inflection of your voice, making your sound waves sound more pleasant with a warm, friendly tone.

Ask for a name when speaking

Ask for a name when speaking

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When speaking with a stranger on the phone, always tell them your name and ask for theirs. It helps to personalize the conversation and shows you’re interested in speaking with them. This is a simple way to be kinder and engage with another person.

Speak softly

Speak softly

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Your phone is right next to your mouth, there’s no need to yell into the receiver. Remembering to speak softly is particularly important in the workplace. Speaking loudly on the phone disrupts those around you and is one of the biggest office etiquette mistakes you can make, even if your office is your living room.

Watch what you say

Watch what you say

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You never know just who may be in the same room as you, so be sure to avoid cursing or talking about overly personal things when speaking on the phone. Also, watching your language means making sure you’re not being rude in other ways, like gossiping about others. Gossiping is actually one of the many bad habits of toxic people.

Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

Say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’

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One of the first manners kids should learn is how and when to say “please” and “thank you.” Remember those Kindergarten lessons next time you’re on the phone with a customer service representative or calling a client. Kind phrases like these go a long way in making someone feel like they’re being heard.

Avoid cell phone use during meetings at work

Avoid cell phone use during meetings at work

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You may think you’ve found a great way to boost productivity at work by multitasking during meetings by sending emails and answering instant messages on your phone, but it’s important to pay attention during these gatherings, and it's especially important to pay attention during virtual meetings. If you get an urgent alert at work, just quietly leave the meeting and address it.

Never drive and use your phone

Never drive and use your phone

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One of the essential rules of the road is to avoid cell phone use while driving, especially texting. Not only is this behavior discourteous, it’s also dangerous. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, distracted driving — which includes texting and talking on your phone — led to 2,841 deaths in 2018.

RSVP via phone in a timely manner

RSVP via phone in a timely manner

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While invitations have final dates to RSVP by, it’s proper etiquette to send your response a few days after receiving an invite in the mail. Getting your “attending” box checked off helps a party host organize the event by numbers and sets you up to be a great guest.

If someone hasn’t RSVP’d, call them

If someone hasn’t RSVP’d, call them

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If you’re hosting an event, be it a wedding or a birthday party, and someone hasn’t sent in their RSVP, it’s proper etiquette to pick up the phone and give them a ring to ask whether or not they’re coming.

Don’t record wedding ceremonies

Don’t record wedding ceremonies

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One of the top rules of modern wedding etiquette is to keep your phone turned off and in your bag or your pocket during the ceremony. The couple has paid a lot to hire a photographer or videographer, and your iPhone in the air is getting in the way of those perfect and expensive shots. Just live in the moment.

Don’t post pics of the bride or groom before the wedding

Don’t post pics of the bride or groom before the wedding

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Another important rule for wedding guests as well as bridesmaids and groomsmen is to keep pictures of the couple off social media before the wedding. Sure, snap that picture of the group getting manicures or putting on bow ties before the ceremony, but keep it private until the couple has said “I do.”

Don’t be on your phone in the company of others

Don’t be on your phone in the company of others

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One of the worst etiquette mistakes you can make is constantly texting or scrolling through Twitter or Instagram when you’re hanging out with family or friends, even at home. You wouldn’t just drift away from an in-person conversation to talk to someone else without notice or start watching the news on TV, would you?

Keep your phone off the table

Keep your phone off the table

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One of the most important rules of dining etiquette is to keep your phone (and other belongings) off the table. A meal with others isn’t just about nourishment, it’s also a social engagement. Be in the moment and pay attention to the people you are with.

If you’re texting someone for the first time, introduce yourself

If you’re texting someone for the first time, introduce yourself

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Remember the rules of small talk. You wouldn’t call someone or speak to them in real life without introducing yourself, so do the same thing the first time you shoot someone a text. Even if the other person knows you have their number, just quickly say “Hey, it’s Matthew from work!” and then proceed with your message.

Remember texting is a conversation

Remember texting is a conversation

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It's easy to forget that when you're sending someone a text, you're actually engaging with another human being. While you should keep your messages brief, send appropriate responses in a timely fashion. If you’d respond to a sentence or question in real life, answer the text.

Don’t get impatient

Don’t get impatient

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If you’re in a texting conversation with someone and they don’t instantly reply, don’t bombard their phone with follow-up messages and phone calls. That’s a potentially toxic habit that is ruining your relationships. They could have just stepped away from their cell phone, picked up another call or be otherwise occupied. Remember: patience is a virtue.

Avoid discussing important things via text

Avoid discussing important things via text

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Though texting is a conversation, an SMS is not the time to break up with someone, reveal a serious medical condition or share any other important, sensitive information. That’s when you actually need to pick up the phone and talk to someone.

Don’t get too personal

Don’t get too personal

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Don’t send sensitive or highly personal information or photos via text. Some things are best kept private or shared with people in real life. Remembering not to overshare is also one of the important rules of internet etiquette.

Don’t spend too much time on your phone

Don’t spend too much time on your phone

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It’s hard not to be glued to your phone between social media, texting others and reading the news. But a 2017 study said the correlation between smartphone addiction and depression is "alarming." It’s good for you and those around you to take a break from the screens, as there are plenty of other ways your cell phone is affecting your health.

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