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Hold the Phone! Or at Least Follow These Business Etiquette Tips

Your mobile phone is always at your side, and at your colleagues' sides. With increasing dependence on mobile phones and expectations of instant replies, how do you use your mobile phone in business to enhance, rather than detract from, your communications and professional image?

Here are a few tips for making sure your mobile phone works for – and not against – you in business communication.

Cell Phone Calls

  • Mind your ringtone. It's standard to silence your phone for business meetings, but if you forget, everyone present can hear your ring. Even in informal business situations, your favorite hip-hop tune doesn't go down well. Keep ring tones professional, not cute, cheesy, annoying or overly personal.

  • After silencing the ringtone, set your phone out of site when in a meeting or face-to-face conversation. Put it in your purse, briefcase, suit pocket or under a stack of papers. This lets the person or group you're conversing with know that they matter more than any possible interruption from the phone.

  • Keep important calls from ringing at the wrong time by briefly setting up calls in advance. Today, it is not uncommon to schedule calls with a quick text or email message. If you do schedule, be available. And that means completely available, not obviously multitasking during a scheduled conversation.

  • If you get a call while talking with colleagues or clients that you feel you must take, keep the call brief. That's especially important if the call is personal.

  • Cell phones have excellent microphones. Even if you're in a noisy environment, there is no need to speak loudly for the caller. So lower your voice when talking on your phone in public and try to get at least 10 feet away from the person or group you are meeting with.

  • When you leave a voice mail, keep it brief, no more than about 45 seconds.

  • Check your voice mail! With caller ID, many people simply hit "call back" when all the information they needed was in the voice mail. You waste the time of the original caller, who did everything possible to reach you, when you call back and make him or her repeat the information.

Text and Email Messages

  • It's OK to use text or email to ask about setting up a call.

  • Always get back to someone who sends you a text (or leaves a voice message) within 24 hours.

  • Typos really are not acceptable with new iPhones and other smartphones and devices with spell-check features. Re-read your message before hitting "send." If a typo or other error gets through, apologize for the mistakes in texts or emails, especially if they cause confusion for the recipient.

Bonus tip: Just because you can take a selfie with your phone to serve as your official photo on social media or your business cards doesn't mean you should. Enlist a professional photographer if you can, or at least have a friend take your photo.

If you want to improve your business communications or help improve the skills or people in your organization, ask us how Business Writing That Counts! can help. Just give us a call: 425-485-3221.

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