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The Essential Phone List -- Mobile Phone Tips and Etiquette

Mobile Phone Tips and Etiquette

Safely, safely
  Never, never, NEVER use a mobile phone while driving a motorised 2-wheeler or riding a bicycle. Do not even look to see who is calling when the phone rings. Stop on the side of the road first.
  In a 4-wheeler, use the phone only if it has a hands-free headset. Even then, if the traffic is tricky or the conversation becomes complex or emotional, stop the vehicle first.
  Tell callers you’re driving while on the phone: Always let the person you’re speaking to know that you are driving. This lets them know that you may not always respond immediately and reminds you that driving safely is your first priority. “Hello, I’m in the car at the moment…”
  Several studies have shown that the risk of accidents increases dramatically when drivers use mobile phones in traffic, even if they use a hands-free headset. Mobile phones and driving ... it's simply a bad call.
Softly, softly
  Talk softly. A mobile phone has a sensitive microphone capable of picking up a soft voice. The goal is to communicate effectively without anybody else noticing or caring.
  Set the ring tone to a soft level with a gentle tune that is not annoying to others. Set the ringer to vibrate mode in any situation (such as a meeting) where a ringing or musical sound would prove disturbing to other people.

Respect the personal space of other people and try to speak in places 3 to 6 metres away from the closest person. If there is no private, separate space available, wait to speak on the phone until a good space is available.

  Be courteous. Take the permission of the people you are with to make or take a call. During a meeting or meal, leave the room, and apologize on your return. Be aware that, depending on where you are and even who you’re with, some people may view your conversation as an intrusion.

Know when to turn the phone off. There are many situations where it would be rude if a phone rang, interrupting the transaction at hand. There may be exceptions to this, but – admit it – the vast majority of your callers do not require immediate access. Let incoming calls roll over to Voice Mail if you have the facility.

  If possible, use text messaging (SMS) to communicate when any noise will be a distraction to others around you. Before doing so, ensure that you will not be neglecting your participation in any activity around you.

Before using a mobile phone in a public location to discuss private business or issues, make sure that there will be enough distance to keep the contents private. Some stories, some issues and some conflicts should be saved for times and locations that will allow for confidentiality.

For general phone etiquette, click here.

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association has additional safety tips for using mobile phones while on the road. Click here.

This page last updated: November 21, 2011.