smartphone etiquette at meal
Posted: 05/16/2019 in: Consumer, Tip of the Week

When it comes to smartphone etiquette, we are probably all guilty at one time or another. There are certain social “rules”, if you will, that we should not break in order to be respectful of others and present in our lives.

There are certain times of day, situations, and actions that drive those appropriate rules that comprise smartphone etiquette. That said, there is no official manual or handbook to inform users about these. It is all based on common sense and judgment based on our societal norms and silent guidelines for appropriate behavior.

We want to help, so we put together some of the bad habits of the worst offenders and want to talk through why they are on this list.

Without further ado, see below for smartphone etiquette tips. These are the top 4 bad habits that smartphone and tablet users should pay attention to and try to avoid!

Using Your Device During Mealtime

Mealtimes are social in nature for the majority of us and in just about every culture around the globe. The expectation is that you are present and engaged with others sharing this time with you. This is pretty difficult to accomplish if you’re buried in your phone or tablet! Even if you’re just glancing down to check notifications or answer messages, it could be construed as rude or inappropriate.

Solution: Put down your phone.

Turn off your device, or at least put it on Do Not Disturb. If you can’t bring yourself to do that, at least keep it off the table!
Some restaurants are actually rewarding folks who don’t bring phones to meals with discounts, or separating the people on phones into “cell phone sections”. Seems extreme, but it really does upset people to be in a social eating setting and have people around them disengaged and consumed by their devices.

Next time you’re at a table with a group of people with phones, play the “phone tower” game: Stack your phones on top of each other in the middle of the table. The first person to grab their phone in the middle of the meal has to foot the bill!

Talking Too Loudly For Your Environment

Sure, it is fine to use your phone in a noisier place, or one where others are using theirs without a care. It is not OK, however, to be talking at the highest volume in the room and disrupting others who must then try to talk over you or attempt to tune you out as they try to focus.

We understand that things like poor connection can cause you to feel like you have to talk louder to be heard. Some people actually talk louder on the phone just out of habit for some reason.

Solution: Step outside or adjust your volume.

Being aware of your surroundings and adjusting your noise level to suit your environment is so important. If you need to be on the phone, and it is requiring you to talk at higher-than-the-room-noise levels, just step out of the room or find a way to remove yourself so that you’re not disturbing others.

Chatting While At The Checkout Counter

Sure, it is fine to be shopping around while you’re talking on your phone simultaneously. It is rude, though, to keep that conversation going as you’re standing right in front of a person, in person, trying to go about a transaction to pay for something you’re purchasing. Even if the interaction with the cashier is just the exchange of money for the product, you’re still telling that person that you don’t respect their time and presence by essentially ignoring them and prioritizing your call. It gets awkward for them, also, when they have to interrupt your side conversation on your phone in order to ask a question or give you information about the purchase.

Solution: Pause and call them back.

Tell the person on the line that you have to call them right back, and hang up. If you’re in a situation where you have to stay on the phone, at least apologize to the cashier for the situation and pay attention to them. That way, they can do their job and you can show them respect at the same time while keeping the phone call going as needed.

Super Long Voicemails

While it is helpful to have all the details on a story or a plan, it doesn’t mean that voicemail is the best venue for presenting those. When voicemails extend beyond the 1 minute mark, it can be pretty overwhelming. This is especially true when the message goes into details to the extent of needing to write things down to remember them. If you don’t have a pen, you have to start the message over to catch the info!

Solution: Cut the voicemail down.

If you have a lot to say, it would probably be best to just ask the person to give you a call back, along with a quick message saying what you’re calling about so they know what to expect when they do get a hold of you.

These may all seem like obvious, common sense suggestions, but we see this smartphone etiquette broken time and time again! When it comes to prevention of these types of little annoyances or disruptions, it’s helpful to share the knowledge so that everyone can benefit. It might be awkward to suggest these to any offenders you know, but if you bring the tips to light in a subtle way everyone will benefit greatly in the long run!

For more tips on how to foster better technology habits, in your business workplace especially, get in touch with us.
We can help set those expectations and get your staff trained to make good technology decisions at the right times and for the right reasons!

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