Mobile phones have changed the way we communicate; they have also spawned new forms of bad behaviour. Gaik Lim, a Singapore-based social etiquette consultant-trainer who gives seminars on mobile phone decorum, has some tips on phone manners:
WHEN DEALING WITH MISSED CALLS, the onus is on the recipient to return the call. “call should be returned as soon as possible, and no later than the following day. Anything later than that and the call should be accompanied by an apology and a reason for the delay.”
TEXT MESSAGES SHOULD BE KEPT BRIEF AND TO THE POINT. If they go beyond four or five lines, call or e-mail instead. “The use of short forms should also be confined to family and friends, never within a business context.”
SPEAK AT THE VOLUME you would use when talking to someone next to you. If you encounter bad reception may be better. And if that doesn’t work, tell the caller to call you back or offer to return the call at a later time.
WHEN A CONVERSATION IS CUT OFF due to a bad connection, the person who initiated the conversation should call back. “it may be inconvenient for the recipient to return the call, especially if it’s an unlisted number, or an overseas call.”
SENSITIVE AND CONFIDENTIAL SUBJECT MATTER should never be discussed trough SMS. Its is, however , acceptable to SMS in order to arrange for an appropriate time to talk over the phone or to meet.
WHEN RUNNING LATE FOR AN APPOINTMENT or meeting, texting to inform that you’ll be delayed is acceptable. Messages should apologetic and sincere. “A message like ‘sorry. Will be about 30 minutes late due to flght delay’ is considered polite and thoughtful.”
TAKING CALLS DURING MEETING is only acceptable if you have informed the chairperson that you are expecting an urgent call, apologise to those present and offer a quick explanation as to why you have to take that call. Then leave the room to continue your phone conversation.
[Reader digest aug 07]