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 seminar 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. “calls 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 the reason for the delay. Text message 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 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, don’t raise your voice in order to be heard, simply move to another spot where the reception may be better. And if that doesn’t work, tel the caller to call you back or offer a return the call at a later time.
When a conversation is cut off due to a 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 through SMS. It is, however, acceptable to SMS in order to arrange for an appropriate 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 be apologetic and sincere. “A message like ‘Sorry. Will be about 30 minutes late due to flight delay’ is consired polite and thoughtful. ” Taking calls during meeting is only accepted if you have informed the chairperson that you are expecting an urgent call. If you get an unexpected but urgent call, apologize to those present and offer a quick explanation as to why you have to take the call. Then leave the room to continue your phone conversation.