Tuesday, January 31, 2006

There was a time not so long ago that if you saw someone talking to himself or herself, you would laugh at them or make jokes. Now when you see someone talking aloud you assume that they are either crazy, or talking on a cell phone, PDA or some other form of wireless communications, sometimes it is not even a wireless phone, you just cannot see the cords to their cell phone earphone. What is my point? The point is, with all the new high tech communications gadgets in the world, we have reached a pinnacle.
We need to establish cell phone etiquette, or to be more specific wireless cell phone etiquette. The issue to which I am referring, is ?the who is talking to whom syndrome?, where someone is having a conversation with you, and your phone rings, however the only person who hears the phone ring is you. You begin your conversation with the mystery caller and the person you were just having a face-to-face conversation with, thinks you are talking to them, so they try to answer a question you posed to the person on the other end of the phone. First you point to you ear to notify the real person that you are on the phone, they don?t quite get the message, so then you say to the face to face person to hold on, nevertheless the person on the phone thinks you are talking to them and they say ok. Except you were talking to the face to face person, who also says ok, then you say to the phone person not you, I meant someone else and so the sage continues?If you have ever owned a cell phone headset, you are all too familiar with this problem.
Therefore, I propose a solution, cell phone headset etiquette, or C.P.H.E for short. C.P.H.E would, for now, help eliminate the confusion and mixed messages you get when someone is talking on the phone while using headsets. Whether you are in your office or out in the public, in a perfect world, you would never again be sent mixed messages or have someone hang up on you simply because they thought you were telling them goodbye, when actually you were talking to someone else who might be standing right in front of you.
In Public Let us start at the beginning, for proper headset etiquette, you must first, before starting a conversation with someone face to face, advise them that you have on a headset (your headset may not be clearly visible) and that while you are not expecting a call, you might have to change your conversation abruptly. (That was the warning message), If you actually receive a call, before answering the phone, alert the person you are talking with that your cell phone is ringing, and ask if they would mind if you answered it.(this way now they are fully aware, that you are on the phone). When you begin your conversation on the phone it is important not to be, rude to the person you were having the face to face with by keeping your phone conversation short and sweet. Never turn your back on the face-to-face person, if you can help it, perhaps by simply excusing yourself and walking away from that person a safe enough distance to finish your phone call with some degree of privacy. When your phone call is finished apologize to the face-to-face person and continue you conversation with them.
In a Car/Train/BoatThis is the hardest, because you are usually sitting very close to someone and conversations tend to get crossed. First, if you are using public transportation, avoid talking on your cell phone, unless your call is urgent, the reason, although you don?t think you are talking loudly, you usually are, and now everyone knows your personal business. If you are in a car, again, alert the person you are with, that you are about to answer your cell phone. Keep your phone conversation short, because it is considered rude to talk on the phone for a prolonged period, if you are in close quarters with someone else. When you are finished with your phone conversation gently reach over to the person next to you, touching them on their arm and advise them you are finished with your conversation and you are ready to continue with your previous exchange. This will let them know that you are directly talking to them and not with some invisible person on the other end of a phone line.
The preceding hints are some simple rules for talking on the cell phone with headsets. I decided to create these rules, because there does not appear to be any set of laws with people talking on cell phones and now that we have wireless headphones, it is out of control. In the next Stanley?s Corner, I will talk about cell phones in restaurants, hospitals and funerals yes I said Funerals.