7 Phone Etiquette Rules You Should Know

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What are the rules around how we approach people using our phones? Do we just assume that they are always ready for us? Well, most definitely not. We must understand that someone giving you their time of day through the phone is a privilege, and not something that you deserve.

Whether it be through phone calls or regular text messages, there are rules surrounding how, why, and when to do it. As the world expands to make communication seamless and at the tap of a button, phone etiquette runs the risk of slipping. Here are 8 phone etiquette rules that you should employ in everyday life.

1. Don’t bombard someone with phone calls

You try to call someone and they don’t pick up. What do you do next? Well, assume that they are unavailable to talk and will get back to you when they can. If you must, leave a message to ask them to call you back. It is not good practice to bombard someone with phone calls, because again, phone call anxiety is a real problem. Unless it is an emergency, leave only one missed call and wait for the person to call back.

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2. Listen actively

It’s easy to get distracted when you are talking to someone over the phone, but you should pay active attention. Don’t scroll through your social media platforms when someone calls you. Learn to put everything aside and just listen. They might not be able to see you, but the person you’re speaking to will know if your attention isn’t fully on them.

3. If it’s a formal call, schedule it beforehand

Depending on your relationship with the other person and the nature of the call, it is always good to ask them if you can call them beforehand. This gives them time to mentally prepare themselves for the call. That way, it is easy to meet the objectives of the call and finish up faster. You are less likely to deflect from the conversation if you have set objectives.

4. Only use the speakerphone

Please don’t put somebody on speakerphone when you are in the middle of a crowd and everyone can hear you unless it is a group meeting and you ask in advance. We should avoid speaker phones when possible, as often the speakerphone is rude to those around you and more difficult for the other end to hear. Because a telephone call is a private communication, speakerphones shouldn’t be used unless you can secure the conversation.

5. Don’t take unnecessary screenshots of conversations

It is not a good habit to take and share screenshots of your conversations with people. You should, especially, not do it without the sender’s permission. It can land you in big trouble and even ruin your relationship with people. Taking screenshots simply constitutes gossip in the 21st century.

While no one can set rules for you, you must use your better judgement to decide things for yourself. Even though something like this is well within cyber legality and actually quite harmless, it might not be ethically sound to do so.

6. Ask before putting someone on hold

Have you ever been talking to someone and then without warning and before you know it, they put you on hold? It’s not a good feeling, right? They leave you wondering when they will be back. It is part of phone etiquette to ask before putting someone on hold.

This is a simple courtesy that’s all too often overlooked. Asking the person on the other end of the phone before you transfer them or put them on hold will go a long way to easing your conversation.

7. State the purpose of your call/text in good time.

Have you ever been when someone texts you and spends an unnecessary amount of time on small talk? It can be quite irritating. It is good to get to the point of your conversation as soon as possible. Don’t leave someone in suspense. It’s hard for them to outrightly ask you why you have called or sent them a message.

Every single call should have a goal, and in order to meet that goal, both parties need to be on the same page from the start. There’s no awkwardness in stating the point of the call early on, as long as it’s done right. Be clear and concise, but friendly.

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I am a passionate 22 year-old writer. I consider myself a young free-spirited soul whose personality is a mixture of introversion and extroversion. I’m a strong believer in the law of attraction. Everything is a reflection.