Cell Phone Etiquette

At this point, everyone between the ages of eight and eighty seems to have a cell phone. The upside is, this has brought the technology to a point of ubiquity. The downside is, it has also brought people’s bad habits to ubiquity. Take three of my favorite axioms to heart:

Lesson #4—Your Technology is not an Accessory
Most men have learned by now that strapping technology to the belt, like some sort of proxy for childhood gun-slinging fantasies, is not okay. But lately, you ladies are the surprise—tucking phones into cleavage or clipping them to the straps of dresses (like old time “ladies of the night”). I realize your clothes are not always equipped with adequate pockets, but aren’t you spending thousands of dollars on oversized pocketbooks? There’s no space in there for a cell phone? I’m not sure if this is purely utilitarian or if you’re trying to bring attention to your, um, assets, but either way, bad move. Networking (and success) relies on discretion. If your manners are showy (read: tacky) people will infer the same about your prudence.

Lesson #102—Put That Technology Down
Never mind the danger to your sorry nubs or the wrinkles setting into your eyes, your addiction to constant scrolling and tick-ticking on the keyboard is a nuisance to everyone around you. Have you looked around a restaurant lately? Numerous guests ignore fellow diners while clicking through Twitter feeds and whatnot. No doubt the perpetrator thinks s/he is looking mighty important, like their instant attention is needed, but in fact the inverse is true: If you’re so important, no one would have such complete access to you. Even if you’re not suffering technology fatigue, be conscientious—those around you might be trying to relax—take it outside if you must.

Lesson #306—Wait to Talk
It is a known fact that cell phone connections are spotty at best. Why then, do so many people insist on cramming a million words into one sentence, talking as fast as they can, spewing as much as possible per second and still saying so little? Counterintuitive is an understatement. Be patient, take your turn and keep it short. If you’re not showing an interest to listen, it reads as not having an interest.

Cell phones are undoubtedly one of our biggest modes of networking, use them well. Remember: The most important thing is your first impression, the second is your second, and your third, and…

To contact Lempa, email nabob@nulllipulse.com from the comfort of your office.

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Pat Lempa is not a favor fountain, but is available at nabob@lipulse.com