TFE welcomes guest author Linda Talley, professional speaker and executive coach from Houston, TX…
Miss Manners has again been asked to comment on etiquette in the workplace, particularly cell phone “do’s” and “don’ts.” No one is probably surprised by the rude and irreverent behavior of people using phones in stores, the post office, driving, theaters but one would think that when it came to money, ie, business, most people would smarten up. Not true! So to give us all a reminder on the appropriate use of cell phones in business.
Q: I was in a meeting with an international business representative and she was text messaging as other people were talking. Is this acceptable? I confronted her after the meeting and she said at their home office, they do it all the time: “What’s the big deal?”
Miss Manners (MM): Regardless of her comment, it is a big deal!. Some companies may allow it during meetings and I know that Generation X and Y love to do it during meetings because they love to be multi-phasic, however, the bottom line is that it’s rude. If a company/manager/boss lets their people text message during their own meetings, I wonder if they realize they are training those staff members how to act when out with a client. Not very brilliant! If you have a “team” concept at your business and one person is text messaging while the others discuss, present, then keep this in mind: You don’t have a team, you have committee.
Q: My company provided me with a blackberry. Do I need to keep it on all the time and do I need to communicate continuously with it?
MM: Absolutely not! Remember it does have an OFF switch and there are very few, if any, things that cannot wait. Just because your company gives you a blackberry/hackberry, raspberry/strawberry does not mean that you are connected through some ubiquitous umbilical cord. No one should have that control over you. And, BTW, slavery was abolished in 1864 in the US.
Q: Many members of our sales team take cell phone calls during our weekly sales meeting. I think it’s annoying. What do you think?
MM: Never! Never take a cell phone call during a meeting. If you say you must, leave the room. People around you should have the option of not listening. If they don’t, you shouldn’t be talking. And, someone needs to have a talk with the boss/manager who allows this to happen during a meeting. Miss Manners would be quite happy to do this!
Q: The woman sitting next to my cubicle has the worst cell phone ring. It irritates me each time it rings. Should I say something?
MM: Yes, you should say something! How about: “You might have important calls to take while we work, however, they are disrupting to my work. Would you please put your phone on vibrate?” If that doesn’t work, take it to the boss with the solution!
Q: My sales rep uses his phone to check on inventory for me. I appreciate him doing that but while he’s on the phone, he talks so loudly, it disrupts everyone else and he sounds like he has a hearing problem, which I know he doesn’t. Should I ask him to step outside?
MM: It’s your business and if he’s disrupting, perhaps he could step outside. Or you could offer him an office with a door that closes. Or you could strike up a conversation about how sensitive the new phone microphones are. Maybe he just doesn’t know. Probably he’s acting out of habit. Say something so there won’t be any unspoken messages going on between the two of you. It will cause resentment on both sides.
About Linda Talley
Linda Talley, a change and growth expert and business coach, is the recognized authority on how to use words and language to create the results you want in your business and personal life. Author of The Daily Win, Business Finesse: Dealing With Sticky Situations in the Workplace for Managers and Business Finesse: How to Say the Right Thing at the Right Time, Linda is a creative thinker in the areas of customer service, culture change, team relationships and communication.
Contact: Linda Talley
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