Manners aren't outdated or old-fashioned. Having good manners allows people to see you in a positive light, which is desirable for all of us. Whether at work or in our personal lives, understanding a few social rules will help us to get ahead. We've all been in situations where someone's behavior is rude or inconsiderate, and telephone use seems to be an area where many people forget their otherwise good manners. Here are a few guidelines regarding telephone etiquette:
- Almost every phone is equipped with voicemail service, which is quite handy for keeping track of messages in today's busy world. Your voicemail greeting is a quick introduction and should reflect well on you. When recording your greeting, be sure to identify yourself by name, phone number, or both. Use a pleasant, friendly voice and record the message in a quiet environment so that it will be easily understood. Keep the greeting concise; no lengthy messages recorded by your children, please! Callers should not be forced to wait through several minutes of your children singing their favorite song in order to leave you a message.
- If you are unavailable when your phone rings, do not allow your children to answer it until they are old enough to be polite and take a clear, complete message.
- When you have voice messages waiting, try to get back to the callers in a reasonable amount of time. Although you certainly have to prioritize your calls, every message deserves a timely response.
- If you are looking for information for a caller, try not to keep them on hold any longer than is necessary. It is preferable to tell the caller that you will get back to them and then try to return the call quickly. Everyone's time is valuable and no one enjoys waiting on hold.
- When you are on a call and another call comes in, allow the second call to go to voicemail. If you switch over from the first call, you are in a sense telling that person that the other caller is more important and valued than he is.
- Caller ID services are widely available and can be very helpful in determining whether to pick up a call or allow it to go to voicemail. When you see a familiar number, be sure that you have sufficient time to dedicate to the caller before you choose to answer. If you are short on time, do not pick up but be sure to return the call as soon as time permits.
- When using a cellular phone in a public place, keep your voice low so that you will not disrupt other people. Loud conversations can be disruptive to others and are considered inconsiderate. Additionally, cellular phones are no longer considered a status symbol--most kids now have them--so remember that no one is impressed by your phone. Do your best to keep your telephone conversation between you and your caller.
- When socializing and your cellular phone rings, allow it to go to voicemail. A conversation with a live and present companion should always take priority over an incoming call.