Do You Have Good Phone Etiquette?

by | Oct 2, 2023 | TECH | 0 comments

In the span of 147 years, our world has witnessed an incredible transformation in how we communicate via phone, from the invention of the telephone to the iPhone and the recent emergence of FaceTime video voice messages. As technology advances, so do the rules and etiquettes surrounding phone calls, leading to misunderstandings and frustration, especially across generations. In this article, we’ll explore the evolving landscape of phone communication in 2023, offering practical tips to navigate this changing terrain. From ditching voicemails to mastering text messaging etiquette, understanding the right time for video calls, and respecting personal space in public, we’ve compiled a comprehensive guide to help you make the most of modern phone etiquette, ensuring every call is both seamless and respectful of today’s norms.

Phone communication has evolved significantly over the years. In the span of 147 years, we’ve seen the emergence of phone calls, followed by the iPhone, and more recently, FaceTime video voice mails. This evolution has revolutionized the way we connect with others, offering new conveniences and challenges in the process.

As technology advances, so do our phone communication norms. Nowadays, people casually converse in public using smartwatches, receive real-time transcriptions of voicemails, and make international calls without fretting over expenses. However, these evolving norms can also lead to confusion and misunderstandings, especially across different generations.

To help navigate the ever-changing landscape of phone calls in 2023, we reached out to etiquette experts and individuals of all ages to compile some guidance:

Adapt to Your Relationship

The rules of phone etiquette may vary depending on your relationship with the person, your age, and the context of the call. The closer you are to someone, the less formal the rules need to be. Feel free to FaceTime your mom without prior notice while you’re multitasking, but consider skipping the voicemail.

Ditch Voicemails:

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Voicemails are becoming obsolete, thanks to text messaging. If you need to convey important information promptly and accurately, it’s better to send a text or email. Most phones now transcribe voicemails, so people might read them rather than listen to the actual message.Exceptions to this rule include calling people who cherish hearing your voice, or sharing an audio experience, such as close friends singing “Happy Birthday” or conveying a heartfelt “I love you.” For longer stories, use a voice memo.

Text Before You Call:

Calling someone out of the blue can be stressful for the recipient. It’s considerate to send a text beforehand to ask if they’re available for a call now, if they can call you back when they’re free, or if they prefer to schedule a call for a specific time. Ensure your pre-call texts are clear about urgency and the topic you’d like to discuss.

You Don’t Have to Answer:

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Remember, you have the power to decide whether to answer a call. If you’re in a situation where taking a call is inconvenient (e.g., in a restaurant, restroom, or meeting), mute the call and get back to them later. You can also send an automated text response if you can’t answer immediately.

Choose the Right Communication Method:

Consider the content of your message when choosing between a call and text. Phone calls are ideal for nuanced discussions, emotional matters, arguments, and personal connections. On the other hand, factual updates, making plans, or straightforward information can be conveyed through text. If a topic is too complex for a text, ask if the other person can talk.

Avoid Redundant Calls:

If someone doesn’t answer your call, avoid immediately calling them again or sending follow-up emails. If it’s an emergency, clearly communicate that in a text message.

Use Video Voicemails Sparingly:

Video voicemails, while fun, may not be appreciated by everyone. Use them judiciously and be aware of the recipient’s preferences.

Stay Still for Video Calls:

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During video calls, ensure your full attention is on the conversation. Set up your phone or camera properly, so your entire face is visible. Moving around during a video call can be disorienting for the other person.

Avoid Speakerphone in Public:

Using speakerphone in public spaces is generally considered impolite. Use headphones or save the call for a more private setting. Be mindful of others’ personal space and volume when in crowded areas.

Start Screening Calls:

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Take advantage of call screening features to transcribe voicemails in real time. This can help you decide whether to answer the call or not, particularly when dealing with unknown numbers or potential scam calls.

Don’t Dismiss Phone Calls:

Phone calls are still a valuable means of communication. While they may require more planning than before, they offer a unique opportunity for real-time connection, which can strengthen relationships, improve mental well-being, and combat loneliness.

In a world of ever-changing technology, adapting to new phone communication norms can help foster better connections while avoiding common pitfalls.


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