July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month, By Karen Leland

Karen Leland
Karen Leland
Recently, my husband Jon and I decided to take advantage of some miles we had and treat ourselves to a resort hotel on the Big Island of Hawaii. We were weary from work and the relentless stimulation of technology that accompanied it. Our plan was to spend a whole lot of time by the pool — and very little talking on a cell phone, e-mailing or watching television.

By the second day, I could already feel myself getting into the rhythm of the islands as I sat ocean-side in the Jacuzzi, my head resting on a foam pillow, my hand holding a piña colada — paradise found. Like a scene out of a totally clichéd Hollywood movie, my eyes were closed and the sound of crashing waves washed over me. Then, a cell phone rang. The man next to me picked it up and began screaming at his stockbroker — paradise lost.

My how the times have changed. Remember the good old days when there was just a smoking or non-smoking section? Apparently, under the current umbrella of social correctness, you can’t smoke at either pool (which I personally appreciate), but you can annoy your fellow vacationers — at least at one of them.

According to the ABC Web site, one ABC News “20/20” survey found that 87 percent of Americans said they have encountered people talking on cell phones in public places in a loud or annoying manner. Slightly less than 4 out of 10 often experience generally rude or disrespectful behavior, cursing, near-cursing or people interrupting conversations to use e-mail or cell phone.

Jacqueline Whitmore author of “Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work” and President of The Protocol School of Palm Beach, Inc., has made a career of helping organizations and individuals master the finer points of business etiquette. In 2002, she officially founded National Cell Phone Courtesy Month with the intent of making cell phone users more respectful of their surroundings. “Wireless phones and other electronic devices have become so important to keeping people in touch with information they want and need,” says Whitmore. “It’s important to educate people about the proper way to use these devices so that they’re still in touch, but not annoying those around them.”

Visit the blog next week for steps you can take to avoid offending others.

Please note that the information in this article is copyrighted by Karen Leland. If you would like to reprint any of it on your blog or website you are welcome to do so, provided you give credit and a live link back to this posting.

Karen Leland is the bestselling author of six books including Time Management In An Instant: 60 Ways to Make the Most of Your Day. She is the co-founder of Sterling Consulting Group, which helps organizations and individuals learn how to fight distraction and find their focus in a wired world. For more information please contact: kleland@scgtraining.com

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