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Home : News : Commentaries : Display
NEWS | Oct. 31, 2012

Diamond Tip: Cell phone etiquette

By Master Sgt. Mark Peters 1st Combat Camera Squadron first sergeant

The cell phone has been part of our culture since before I came into the Air Force. Only back then, they were not as "user friendly" as they are now.

At that time, even the best phones resembled a brick hidden inside a leather case.

Thankfully, technology has been able to make them more convenient to use and transport. As a first sergeant, I see the necessity of owning a cell phone, however, even with this great technological resource, there are limitations.

Recently, I witnessed a senior airman answer his cell phone during a conversation with a major. He did not say, "Excuse me, I need to take this," or anything of the sort; his phone rang and without a second thought he answered it after the musical ring blasted out a popular rock song.

To say this was a breakdown in situational awareness is an understatement!

Obviously this was disrespectful and required immediate correction. Unfortunately, this has become a negative trend not only in the Air Force, but worldwide.

Cell phone usage has become such an issue that Fortune 500 companies are now training their employees on the appropriate use of these devices. A quick web search provides ample phone etiquette as well as training aids, including classes, videos, DVDs and seminars.

Here are some of the common highlights:

·Turn off or silence cell phones prior to meetings, public performances or gatherings of personnel (commander's calls, promotion/awards ceremonies, training events, etc.)

·Don't use loud and annoying ring tones, especially those which may not present a professional image.

·When on the phone, monitor your speaking volume. Believe it or not, no one around you wants to hear your side of the conversation. Additionally, avoid having emotional conversations in the presence of others. This can be accomplished by attempting to maintain at least a 10-foot zone from others while talking on the phone.

·Do not wear hands-free devices when not on the phone.

·When speaking to another person, do not let your phone interrupt your conversation. If it rings, quickly silence it and continue the conversation. Learn the value of voicemail.

·Finally, do not operate any vehicle while using a cell phone. As we all know, the use of a hands free device is mandatory while using a cell phone and driving on Joint Base Charleston. Obviously, this includes texting and driving.

I know we have all been guilty of a few, if not all of these infractions. Hopefully these guidelines will encourage better cell phone etiquette and serve as a simple reminder of the dos and don'ts of cell phone usage. Enjoy the technology, but be courteous and aware of your surroundings when doing so.