WANT to master the art of polite phone etiquette?
Then it may be time to ring the changes.
Depending on the age of the person you are contacting, a long voicemail or calling without texting beforehand could be frowned upon – and the younger generation should definitely avoid broadcasting their conversations on speaker.
The advice is from society handbook Debrett’s, which has published its mobile etiquette guide.
Expert William Hanson, 34, said: “Every generation has a different relationship with their phone – and it’s important to be aware of the pitfalls and differences as it can be a minefield.
“There are always exceptions, but older generations, who would have grown up with a landline at home, want to speak, while younger generations prefer to text.”
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Here, Sarah Arnold reveals William’s guide to modern phone etiquette for every age group.
- TRY to be tolerant when older callers leave voicemails – and don’t ignore them.
- DON’T take calls Apprentice-style on a loudspeaker, with the phone held up to your mouth in public. It works nicely on TV but public transport is not your personal stage. You aren’t the most important thing on planet Earth.
- NEVER, ever send texts of condolence. While we don’t write cards or letters as much as we used to, this is definitely the time for them. Alternatively, phone.
- DON’T play music, watch TikTok or listen to any audio without headphones. If we were all sitting on the bus doing that, you wouldn’t be able to hear a thing.
- CONSIDER using voice notes. With texts, there is no context of tone.
- YOUR phone doesn’t have to be attached to you 24 hours a day. Use “do not disturb” now and again.
GEN X (43-58)
- WHILE many in this age group are normally fine just picking up their mobile, not everyone feels the same way. If it’s Gen X to Gen X or older, just call. But if you are calling someone younger, send a courtesy text first.
- DON’T multi-task while on the phone – you are meant to give the person you are speaking to your full attention.
- IF you cannot pick up, use one of your stock response texts, such as: “I’m sorry I’m in a meeting right now.” Don’t just cut them off.
- DON’T use your phone at the dinner table. Gen X tends to be the worst culprit for this.
- REMEMBER, you don’t have to take a poorly posed photo of every social occasion or every plate of food you eat for your Facebook/Instagram.
- MANY millennials won’t listen to voicemails – so text or use voice notes instead.
- ALWAYS send a text before calling millennials – and learn how to do it if you don’t already know.
- DON’T talk endlessly – mobile phones can get hot if the call goes on for too long.
- IF you have to leave a voicemail, do not make it a monologue.
- lunannounced calls may not be answered. The person you are trying to speak to may be busy, and many young people don’t listen to voicemails any more.
- DON’T shout down the telephone. Men of a certain age are the worst culprits for making booming business calls in public places. It’s very irritating.
- AVOID being a repeat ringer. Make a call, leave it for a couple of hours (not five minutes) before trying again, and then send a text asking them to call you back.