Nowadays, cell phones are not just communication tools, they are extensions of us. With the ability to customize and execute everything from the ring tone to the text messages you send your teenage daughter, your cell phone is a reflection of your lifestyle and personality. And since your cell phone is out in the world, with you, you must assume everything on it, or that emanates from it, is fair game and accessible to everyone (including your boss). Here then, is a quick guide to today’s cell phone standards and etiquette.
Ring tone – Did you know that Billboard magazine now publishes a Top-20 chart for ring tones? The ring tone that’s spent the most weeks in the top 10 in 2007 is “The Super Mario Brothers Theme.” The least popular? That high decibel Chaka Khan riff that jarred your staff out of their seats in the boardroom yesterday. Tone it down.
Screensaver – The “face” of your phone says a lot. A photo of your children or dog is fine—but that shot snapped at the club last night at 2 am? Best save that in a password protected file.
Clock –Glancing at your phone during a meeting just to check the time can be considered rude. Buy a Movado.
Volume – If office security jumps to “Code Orange” every time your phone rings you set the volume too loud. Take it down a few decibels.
Outgoing Voicemail – We’re all happy you’re blessed with the gift of rhyme, but please—don’t share your talents here. Keep your outgoing message brief.
Speed Dial –Just make sure if a colleague borrows your phone he doesn’t see his name next to a picture of Darth Vader.
Camera – Who knows when a bald Britney may bounce around the corner? Keep that phone out and at the ready and this year’s bonus check may just come from The Enquirer…But, but kind, and resist snapping away when the head of accounts payable makes a fool of himself at the office holiday party.
Text Messaging – A leading cause of squinty eyed, frozen fingers syndrome. Probably best to leave this function to your twenty-one year old assistant.
Mute – The greatest button ever created. Perfect for dealing with irate customers or your ex.
Vibrate Mode – Don’t leave home without it.