NEW YORK – July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month, which may amuse some considering the constant barrage of obnoxious rings, beeping games and shout fests-cum-conversations that have become daily annoyances.
In an attempt to restore some peace to restaurants, airports and other hotbeds of bad cell phone behavior, etiquette expert and the theme month's founder, Jacqueline Whitmore (search), has written up a list of tips to stay connected and polite.
1. Let your voicemail take your calls when you're in meetings, courtrooms, restaurants or other busy areas. If you must speak to the caller, excuse yourself and find a secluded area.
2. Speak in your regular conversational tone and don't display anger during a public call. Speaking loudly or showing emotion may distract those around you.
3. Use your vibrate function or turn off your phone in public places such as movie theaters, religious services, restaurants, etc.
4. If you are expecting a call that can't be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; the people you are with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.
5. Avoid interrupting meetings, social gatherings or personal conversations by answering your wireless phone or checking your voicemail. Discreetly excuse yourself if you must take the call.
6. Use discretion when discussing private matters or certain business topics in front of others. You never know who is within hearing range.
7. When walking and talking on your wireless phone, be aware of your surroundings and remember to respect the rights of others.
8. Practice wireless responsibility while you are driving. Place calls when your vehicle is not moving. Don't make or answer calls while in heavy traffic or in hazardous driving conditions. Use a hands-free device in order to help focus attention on safety. And always make safety your most important call.