21st Century Telephone Etiquette

Here is the issue, most people are completely rude when they use their phones. And not just in one area is this the case. Let me clarify what I mean.

Ask yourself this question: how many times do you make a telephone call and not identify yourself when the person you are calling answers their phone? And yet, you ask THEM who answered. The proper etiquette in this is for you to call and when someone answers say, “Hi, this is Joe Phisbick (probably a better idea is to say your name), is Fred (the person you are calling – say their name) in? I want to talk to him about yadda yadda (yep, you get the drift – this is where you say what you want to talk about).”

Imagine the shoe being on the other foot and having people call you. Isn’t that a desirable courtesy to have? How would it be if telemarketers would follow this “rule” and identify themselves and who they want to talk to instead of the idiotic game we seem to play with people when they call.

Next is when you return a missed call, many of us do this regularly when we see a number on our phone that we don’t recognize and we just call to see who it is/was. In this case, IDENTIFY YOURSELF WHEN YOU CALL. Don’t just call the number back and say “you called me” … they, like most of us, call a number of people all the time and may not exactly remember you (is there something about egocentricity here?). Tell them who you are and say you had received their phone call and were returning it. AND do it at a time when you have time to spend on the phone or set up a proper appointment to have the conversation OR JUST TELL THEM YOU DON’T WANT TO HEAR WHAT THEY HAVE TO SAY.

Finally, a moment to mention the most insidiously rude thing that has been presented to society in the last fifty years, yes, I mean the evil “call waiting” thing. So you think this is a good thing to say to someone you are on the phone with, “wait, there is someone much more important calling me and I have to talk to them now”??? I just don’t get this one. Yes, my mobile phone has call waiting and I don’t know how to turn it off. I do not interrupt any call to answer the phone. If my business partner and I are on the phone or, bless her heart, my wife and I are on the phone and a customer or client calls (and I recognize the number), then I can honestly say this call coming in is from a customer (or client) and then say I will call them back after (to partner or wife).

The “golden rule” applies to phone calls as much as it does to everything else in life – treat others as you want to be treated. I just don’t get this telephone rudeness and it is not something that can be explained to me. Be better to the people you communicate with.