Phone Etiquette

I spend a lot of time on the phone. So I believe there are some basic rules that need to be followed when you’re on a phone call.


1) If you’re chewing gum, do it quietly. Don’t give me a full-on Flo (from the ’70s TV show “Alice”), chomping loudly like some sort of farm animal. It’s distracting, loud, and gross. Really.


Corollary #1A: This goes for eating, too. I know, we all eat at our desks at work these days, but I don’t want to hear you chowing down on your salad, burger, chips, or what-have-you. Especially when my lunch break isn’t coming for another 45 minutes. And just why exactly are you calling me just as you’re sitting down for lunch? I have absolutely no desire to know how today’s turkey burger sounds.


2) Please, oh please, oh please learn where the mute button is. There are those in this world who have not learned where that is, or even how to put their hands over the mouthpiece of their phone if they can’t locate the mute button. Why is this important? I don’t want to hear you eat, chew gum (see above), belch (yes, that happens more than you want to know), yell at kids/husband/coworkers/assistant, carry on a conversation with the other people sitting in your office or cube at the time, or, God help me, going to the bathroom (that’s a two-time violation in my life).


Corollary #2A: By the same token, before you start mumbling under your breath, or even cursing at me because of how long some fix is taking, make sure you’re on mute, or that you’re using the mute feature correctly. There’s a point where that just really makes you sound like a parrot with Tourette’s. There’s only so much that I can forget.


3)Remember that the telephone is primarily a microphone and a speaker. Holding the mouthpiece right up to your lips sounds like you’re talking into a very loud pillow.


Corollary #3A: By the same token, unless you have a good reason to be doing it, don’t use your speakerphone. I can’t understand you very well, and more often than not, you can’t understand me very well. Plus, you and I both know that when you’re calling for computer help, I’ll be remoting in and you don’t have six people in your office or cube, so they don’t have to hear our conversation as well. Just use the damned handset or headset like a normal human being.


And finally…


4) Please learn how to move the mouthpiece so you’re not breathing into it like some prank-calling pervert. Doing an Outlook profile recreation only takes about 10 minutes out of my life, but doing it to heavy breathing just spoils the mood…


There you go. More tech tips to live by.


See you tomorrow.