The world has evolved at a rapid pace in various technological fields over the last decade, but none so much as the use of cell phones and smartphones. While the ability to communicate with any person around the globe in mere seconds from a single device that rests in the palm of your hand is an awesome convenience, it might also be encouraging you to act in an unprofessional manner when you are around others. The use of cellular devices is so common nowadays that it’s very possible our subconscious directs our behavior about when, where and how to use it. We are all guilty of falling prey to the spell it casts over us each and every day…even to the point of becoming completely anti-social with your co-workers, bosses, employees and even friends and family members.
As a business professional, it’s important that we are aware of the way (or perceived way) we utilize our cell phone. Some people must have it with them at all times, while others may choose to leave it on the charger for an extended period of time. Some think they must respond to text messages immediately, while others may go for days without responding at all. Regardless if you fall into one of the extremes or somewhere in between…you could be damaging your professional image. So, here are just a few reminders and challenges (to some of you) that will help to maintain your professional behavior in the presence of your cell phone:
- Stay Away from Others – No one wants to hear your conversation about how Aunt Louise forgot to feed the dog last night. So, keep a distance from other people if you must talk on your cell phone while in a public area…or even in your office cubicle.
- Keep Your Voice Level Low – As we learned in elementary school, remember to use your inside voice while talking on your cell phone. Keeping your distance from other people won’t help if you can still be heard 50 yards away.
- Never Use the Speaker – One thing that’s worse than having to listen to you talk on the phone…is having to listen to the other person talk back. So, don’t activate your speaker while around other people. It is truly an annoyance to everyone…including the person you’re talking with on the other end.
- Be Respectful of the Environment – No matter how important you are…or think you are, there are certain places you should never use your cell phone — but we all see it happening every day – and even I am guilty of it in some cases. So just to be clear – here’s a brief list of places that should be considered ‘off limits’ for talking on your cell phone: restaurants, elevators, bathrooms, taxis, museums, weddings, funerals, movie theaters, airplanes, places of worship and…of course, during the weekly staff meetings at work.
This week, be more mindful of your surroundings and more respectful of others by practicing some of these cellphone techniques. Doing so will show others that you are a true professional in and out of the office!!