Telephones have been around for more than 100 years. And now cell phones have become common place, even among some elementary-age children. More and more companies are finding the need to review Office Etiquette guidelines with their employees, taking into consideration how dependent we have become on devices such as cell phones and Smartphones. Keep these 10 tips in mind the next time you find yourself on the phone:
- Speaker phones were never designed to use in a cubicle or open floor office setting. They have the incredible ability to pick up the littlest of noises and are best if used in a closed door meeting or conference room. If you work in a non-private office, be sensitive to those around you by using a hand- or head set.
- Speaker phones work great in conference rooms or offices with doors. Just be sure to shut the door before getting started with your conversation.
- In the event of coughing, dogs barking, sneezing or other bodily sounds, know where your mute button is. Others will thank you. And never take your cell phone into a bathroom stall thinking that multi-tasking is a good idea. In this situation, it's never a good idea!
- If your employer does not require you to use your cell phone, then completely silence it or shut it off during business hours. Turning it to Vibrate will still interrupt others should you be in a meeting or have it sitting on your desk.
- When attending a meeting, never place your cell phone in the space (desk or table) between you and others. Doing so can act as a visual barrier and may appear as an interruption waiting to occur.
- Avoid setting your cell phone on any surface where food will be served. Instead, tuck your phone in a pocket, handbag, or briefcase. Worst case scenario would be to place it in your lap during a meal. Just be prepared if you've got it set to Vibrate.
- If it's necessary to speak on your cell phone in a public setting, look for a place where you can talk without disrupting others with your conversation or exposing others to your business.
- Watch your voice volume when talking on a cell, especially in a public place.
- When speaking with a customer, always ask permission before placing them on hold. This gives them a choice and allows them to feel in control. Likewise, when returning to the phone after having placed someone on hold, always thank them for holding. Examples:
- "Mr. Smith, may I place you on hold while I check on your order?"
- "Thank you for holding, Mr. Smith. Here's what I discovered."
- At the end of a conversation with a customer or client, allow them to be the first to hang up and disconnect the call. Remember your high school days where you'd talk late into the night with your sweetheart? Neither one of you wanted to be the first to hang up. Likewise, your client should never hear a dial tone before you do.
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