Ever picked a call and felt disparaged by the attitude of the caller (someone calls you and asks: ‘who is this?)? Or placed a call only to meet with subtle or overt hostility from the receiver? Or worse still, ever had to deal with those who do not pick their calls because they do not know the caller? Ever hung out with a partner who can’t seem to keep their phone away?

There’s quite a lot to do with phone etiquette that we need to be reminded about. In this article, we will check out a few things to keep in mind before making or while receiving that call. It’s important because making phone calls have become a regular part of our lives – we have an acute need for communication in all facets of our lives!

In Nigeria, it’s common to begin a call with ‘hello’. For one thing, the tone you employ in saying that could make a lot of difference. A soft tone says to your listener that you are a calm person to relate with. If you do not know the caller, you may introduce yourself and calmly ask who they are. It is best not to place people in an awkward position when we make calls – go ahead and introduce yourself right away!

Don’t assume that the person knows you or should recognise your voice (even if they’re someone you’re familiar with). How about smiling as you take or make a call? It affects how you speak and makes a difference – your mood is contagious (always transfer positive vibes!); smiling does make you happy – even if you are not, you can force yourself to smile and it changes your mood instantly (practise smiling before and after receiving a call and see how great that makes you feel!)

In the series to follow, details will be shared as a reminder on how to manage the use of phones at the workplace, when with friends, spouse, and children. Be sure to avail yourself of the information and more important, begin to practise the suggestions or improve on what you have already been doing. By doing this, you will prove that you value precious relationships over mundane devices and even contacts that may not cherish you as much as your loved ones who are right there with you seeking your attention.

How should you manage your phone at the workplace and when with your friends?

In this series, we consider proper ways of behaving with our phones when we are at the workplace and when with our friends. Everyone likes to feel acknowledged and respected; however, certain ways of acting with our phones can send the wrong message across to our loved ones. Consider the following points and spot areas for improvement.

While in the office, you can consider setting your phone to a silent mode or one that won’t disturb others. That way you show consideration to other users of the office space. If your ringtone must be heard because your job requires you to take calls frequently, kindly check out a proper and professional ringtone that isn’t distracting.

Do you know that colleague who won’t stop fiddling with their phone while meetings are going on? Such attitude shows poor phone etiquette. While in a meeting, endeavour to keep your phone away so you can focus. One way to achieve focus is to gaze, not stare, at the speaker who has the floor at any given time during the meeting. Some decide not to take their phones with them to the meeting room just to be sure that they are tempted to steal a look at their message apps.

When with friends

Honestly, how do you feel when you’re with your friends and they’re having to fiddle with their phones, respond to chats, or make calls while you’re having conversations with them? Feels good? Never! You likely feel looked down upon and disrespected.

I know that we often have a lot of things to handle almost at the same time! However, that in itself is not reason enough to make others feel less by the way we treat them. You could decide on the length of time you want to spend in other people’s company and possibly let them know if you have other things you must catch up with.

Keeping the phone away while with your friends is a good way to show honour and respect for them. Savour the moment – look into their eyes, enjoy their smiles, feel their pain. And let them do the same with you.

*Dr. Oji is a Senior Lecturer of English at the Institute of Humanities, Pan-Atlantic University, Lagos

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