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Eight tips for courteous cell phone use

Published October 03. 2016 01:22PM

Are you guilty of incessant texting, emailing, calling and being connected 24/7?

Sharon Schweitzer, an international etiquette expert, author and founder of Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide, offers these tips for more courteous cellphone use.

1. Whether attending an important business meeting, out on a date or even in a casual setting with friends, keep your phone out of sight. Placing your phone on the table or desk sends a clear message that the people you are with are not your number-one priority.

2.It's mannerly to turn off your cellphone before meetings, meals and meaningful moments. If you can't, turn it to silent or vibrate.

3. There are exceptions to every rule, and it's permissible to take out your smartphone in several situations:

• Doctors, nurses, first responders, and health providers;

• Those expecting emergency calls;

• Those who have a child with a baby sitter or a person with a caregiver.

• Those momentarily sharing photos with others;

• Those researching an important request, such as directions.

4. If accepting an emergency call, excuse yourself quietly and calmly from the gathering with an apology.

5. With smartphones, spontaneity can be contagious. Use common sense and don't post inappropriate pictures or writing while consuming adult beverages. Avoid profanity.

6. When making or taking a call, move 10 feet away from the building including windows. No one wants to see pacing or gesturing during your conversation. Step outside when responding to a call while in a house of worship, medical office, library, theater or hospital. Refrain from confidential conversations on public transportation.

7. Many localities now ban smartphone use while driving. If you must use the phone, drive to a safe area away from traffic.

8. Don't use your phone when you are not sure what else to do in uncomfortable situations. If you walk into a new office or even a wedding reception and don't know anyone, take time to engage with people face-to-face. Deferring back to your phone as a crutch will keep you from connecting with the people around you.

For more about Protocol & Etiquette Worldwide visit

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