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Be Smart When Using Your Smartphone in the Workplace: 6 tips

By Rachel Wagner
From The Savvy Professional, April 2010

Most people donít intend to be rude on their cell phone, BlackBerry or iPhone. Itís just that they arenít intentional about using these indispensable devices in a respectful, inoffensive way. And very few companies have policies on smartphone use in the workplace, which leaves it up to employees to feel their way across uncertain terrain.

But, smartphones and manners are compatible. Here are six easily doable tips to help raise the bar on workplace smartphone etiquette.

Give 100% focus to the person in front of you. Donít interrupt a face-to-face conversation with someoneóin the hallway or in the employee lunchroom---by taking a call or texting. The question to ask yourself is this, ďWhat impression am I making when my attention is diverted to my phone?Ē

At a business lunch, a mobile device shouldnít be part of the table setting. Keep it stashed in a jacket pocket, handbag or briefcase.

In meetings, avoid ďreading under the table.Ē Most people know to turn their phone to silent in a meeting. However, itís not the occasional phone ringing thatís so annoying. Itís the people who scroll through their emails, check their Facebook page, text, tweet, or play with their new iPhone app---in their lap. People notice this more than you think. Itís not only distracting and discourteous to the speaker, but also to those around you.

Also, paying attention to your messages instead of the meeting sends a signal that the people in the room are not important to you. And thatís a dangerous message if those people are clients, or have power over your job or career path. You want to appear engaged and a team player. If you are expecting an urgent call, mention it before the meeting begins and then excuse yourself and step away when you take the call. In longer meetings, wait until a break to check emails and phone messages.

Have a professional ring tone. Whether itís your personal cell phone or one issued by your company, a professional ring tone is important to convey a professional image of you.

In a cubicle, turn your mobile device to silent when youíre away from your desk. Let voice mail take the call if you step away for a cup of coffee or a meeting.

Take personal calls in a private place. Hearing someone talk loudly on a cell phone in a public place is a pet peeve of many. Itís best to go to an empty conference room or other private location to make a personal call. And avoid talking in public on your cell phone about confidential company or client information. You never know who is within listening range.

If you make it your personal challenge to use these etiquette tips, then collectively your workplace will enjoy greater smartphone etiquette. And thatís something that everyone will appreciate.

Rachel Wagner is a certified corporate etiquette and international protocol consultant and founder of the business etiquette firm, Rachel Wagner Etiquette and Protocol. She trains leadership teams on the topics of business and dining etiquette to polish their professional presence and the image of their company. Rachel is active with the American Society for Training and Development and the National Speaker’s Association. She is author of a popular e-zine, The Savvy Professional, and is frequently quoted in the media. She can be reached by phone at 918.970.4400 or by email at Rachel@EtiquetteTrainer.com. Website: www.EtiquetteTrainer.com.







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