9 Things People With Good Phone Skills Never Do

By Mikey Rox on 10 October 2014 1 comment

You may be the king or queen of good manners, but what about your phone etiquette? The person you're speaking with may not bring annoying behavior to your attention, so it's important that you know the difference between proper and poor phone skills. (See also: 12 Things People With Good Communication Skills Never Do)

Here's a list of nine things people with good phone skills never do.

1. They Don't Interrupt

You wouldn't dare interrupt a person when speaking face-to-face, so why would you interrupt a person on the other end of a phone conversation? Conversations with relatives and close acquaintances tend to be more casual, but this isn't license to jump in. It doesn't matter if you're busy, overly excited, or simply want the conversation to move faster, interrupting is rude and appears as if you don't respect or appreciate the other person's viewpoint or feelings.

2. They Don't Immediately Jump Into Conversations

If you're the caller and the other person says, "hello," don't jump straight into the conversation without identifying yourself. Never assume the person on the other end recognizes your voice. And even if they do, it doesn't take much effort to say a brief greeting and ask about their day.

3. They Don't Blindside With the Speakerphone

Phones have a speaker option for a reason. If you're driving, it's easier to carry a phone conversation when the person's on speaker, and speakerphone comes in handy when your hands are tied up at other times. However, if you're going to use speaker, notify the person on the other end of the call — especially when others are in earshot of the conversation. If not, the person you're speaking with might say something he doesn't want others to hear.

4. They Don't Multitask While on the Phone

Whether it's a restaurant or a bank, never conduct business while talking on the telephone. This is rude to the person on the line, and to the person trying to provide services. Both need your undivided attention, and when you attempt to speak to two people at the same time, your listeners will have a difficult time following the conversation. They won't know whether a comment is meant for them or the other person.

This rule of thumb also applies to phone conversations at home. Sometimes, you might have to pause a phone conversation to speak with your kids or spouse, but don't make this a habit. The person on the other end doesn't want to hear you fussing or conversing with your kids between every other word.

5. They Don't Continue Calls After Meeting Someone

When you're meeting up with someone, you may talk on your phone to occupy time until your friend arrives. However, when they do arrive, it's common courtesy to end the phone conversation. There's nothing more annoying than meeting up with someone for lunch, and then having to sit quietly 10 or 15 minutes as the other person rudely talks on the phone.

6. They Don't Leave Friends Hanging

It isn't only rude to continue a conversation after meeting up with someone; it's also rude to accept a call and engage in a long conversation when you're already with someone. There are times when you may need to take an important phone call. In this case, apologize in advance and step aside to take the call — but keep it brief and return as soon as possible. Don't step away for several minutes and leave your friend hanging. If you believe a phone conversation will take longer than a couple of minutes, return the call later.

7. They Don't Forget the Phone Volume

Your speakerphone might be off, but if the phone's volume is turned up, people nearby might be able to hear the person on the other end of the phone. On several occasions I've sat besides someone on their cell phone and heard everything the other person said. To keep your private conversations private, turn down the speaker volume before starting your conversation.

8. They Don't Talk at Inappropriate Times

Cell phones let us communicate with people anytime, anyplace, but there are times when using a phone is inappropriate. People with good phone skills never yank out their phones at the movies, church, or any other place that requires silence. If there's an emergency and you have to take a phone call, step into the lobby or outside.

9. They Don't Talk on the Phone While Eating

We all multitask; and sometimes, we have to take care of business during a lunch or dinner break. This is understandable, but the people you speak with on the phone don't want to hear you munching away. Besides, cell phones don't always offer the clearest sound. Between background noise, your mouth too close to the microphone, and poor reception, a mouthful of food can make it hard for others to understand what you're saying.

What other rules of phone etiquette should people follow? Hang up and please share in comments!

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Guest's picture
Miss Manners

For the love of all that is still good, please SAY GOOD-BYE! I *hate* that this small, 2-syllable nicety is heading into antiquity.