Cell Phone Etiquette

The rules of Etiquette have been around for centuries. Cell phones have only been around since 1983. Cell Phones have been one of society’s greatest achievements in revolutionising the way we communicate with each other.

However as convenient as they may be, they are still new to society and proper etiquette hasn’t yet been established to the rules governing cell phones. We have therefore compiled a list based off our studies conducted on the social and professional pitfalls people find most annoying.



  1. In a meeting/boardroom/luncheon – Placing your phone on the table or boardroom desk sends a clear message that the people in front of you are not your number-one priority. If you are expecting an important call, make the host of the meeting aware of it before hand.
  2. Appropriate ringtones – Using your favourite song as your ringtone is not professional, rather opt for a standard ringtone or keep your phone on vibrate.
  3. Blaming others for a dropped call – Calls drop from time to time for various reasons. The important thing to remember is never to tell the other person(Especially if it is a client) that their is a problem with their phone – it just seems petty, and doesn’t make them feel good either.
  4. Communicating with clients via text/whatsapp – You should never engage with your clients via text or whatsapp. Stick to professional means of communication – email/phone call.
  5. Keep the noise to a minimum – If you’re in an open or shared work space, be conscious of others. In other words don’t leave your cell phone at your desk unattended to ring endlessly if you’re not around. Keep the volume down when speaking so as not to bother your neighbours.



  1. At the dinner table – It’s just bad manners in any setting to have your phone visible at the dinner table. Especially when you’re with the people that mean the most to you.
  2. Cellphone taking precedence over people – One of the most important rules of cellphone etiquette is that people take precedence over cell phones. No matter who is on the side of that phone we show respect to those we are currently facing by giving them our full attention.
  3. Excusing yourself – Because family can be more forgiving, we tend to forget a lot of the common courtesies with them. For example answering the phone in their presence without apologising and asking permission first. Remember these are the people that we treasure most in the world, we need to act like it.
  4. Avoid inappropriate conversations in front of children – We sometimes lose track of what we say when we are on the phone and get caught up in the moment. Be wary when doing this in front of children. Children are like sponges and pick up on every little detail that we say in conversation.



  1. At bars/clubs/restaurants or social events – Cell phones have become a lifeline to retreat to when you are not sure what to do in new or uncomfortable situation. If you’re at a party or any social gather for that matter and don’t know anyone, don’t get lost in your cell phone. Take time to engage and connect with others. Practice improving your face-to-face interactions by meeting new people instead.
  2. Driving and texting – It’s illegal, it’s dangerous and it disconnects you from what you’re currently doing – Driving! If you’re a passenger try to keep the driver company instead of fiddling on your phone.
  3. Avoid looking things up during a conversation – When conversing with others about interesting topics it can become tempting to want to look something up to tell the group. However this is a sure fire way of neutralizing the momentum and energy of the conversation.
  4. Avoid your phone completely on a date – Being on your phone while with a potential significant other sends a clear message that you don’t value them or their company. If you want to ensure their will be another date, make sure you avoid your phone on this one.
  5. Ask permission before posting photos of others – If you’re going to be posting photos while you’re out and about. Make sure that everyone in the photo is happy with how the photo looks before posting it online for the world to see.


TOP 4 – You should never do!

  1. Ease of communication – The greatest benefit of cellphones can sometimes be the root of the problem. Spontaneity being one of them. Remember the moment you tweet, text or post something in the heat of the moment, it’s out there for the world to see. What seemed like a good idea today, might not be tomorrow.
  2. Confidentiality – Whether it’s business/social/family take the time to carefully consider what content you are posting or communicating with your cellphone. It may come back to bite you later on.
  3. Don’t forget the Basics – We all suffer from hurry syndrome, as a result cellphone communication in most instances has become very informal. One thing we should never forget is to greet the person and most importantly, say goodbye. In addition to that also remember to say please, thank you, and you’re welcome.
  4. Keep focused – Being in constant communication can become quite distracting at times. This dramatically impacts our productivity everyday. Make a conscious effort to focus on projects, without the distraction of constantly checking your phone for email, texts, or surfing the web.


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