Business Etiquette / Selling Skills


In 2016, @ETIQhour will concentrate on the top 15 Business Etiquette Essentials every future leader will want to know. Each fortnight a new Essential has been released: Essential #13: No phones during meetings

Have you ever been in the situation when someone in the office is yelling on their phone (either yelling so the other person can hear, or yelling at someone) and disrupting everyone else’s concentration. As our offices are more open plan this can really become an awkward and quite a rude situation.

Everyone has at least one mobile phones and this convenience has made it possible to talk to anyone at anytime and anywhere, but there is still an art to using the phone properly in a professional setting. So make sure you’re aware of others in your office, and follow some of these simple etiquette tips.

  1. Announce your name when picking up the phone.

When answering your phone, use a proper greeting and announce your full name. Using your first name alone can sound too informal for every professional call and using only your last name can sound too abrupt. People will remember the last thing they hear, so make it your name: “This is Rebecca Wiles speaking,” or, “This is Rebecca Wiles.”

  1. Be aware of your speaking volume.

Some people just don’t know how loud they are, especially when their attention is focused on the person on the other line. People still need to be reminded to speak in a quiet, conversational voice. Take note of those around you, if they are glaring at you, chances are, you need to lower keep it down. You should also be aware of your surroundings because you never know who’s paying attention to your conversation.

  1. Don’t place your phone on the table when meeting others.

Having your phone on the table during meeting is a way of showing the person you’re meeting that they’re not worth your time. Think about how does this look to the people with whom they are meeting? That the phone fanatics are so ready to drop them and connect with someone else. Even if you don’t actually answer the phone, it can be distracting.

  1. Respect quiet zones.

If you’re in the middle of a meeting or a conference, it’s rude to have your phone go off and disrupt the speaker and everyone in the audience. The easiest fix is turning on the vibrate button on your mobile phone.

  1. Choose a normal ring.

Do you really want your colleagues to hear the latest Top 40 single blasting on your mobile phone while you’re fumbling to silence it? Hopefully not. You need to consider what you use as a ringtone and think about how other people are going to react to it.

  1. Let the other person know when you have them on speaker phone.

If you must put someone on speaker phone, make sure you immediately let them know who else is in the room with you. There are many horror stories of callers not being told, and then criticising someone in the room.

  1. Don’t leave long voicemails.

Saving time is one of the major reasons people give for not listening to their messages, so when they do, don’t leave them long-winded ones. Make your message quick and straight-forward, just like you would an email. Say what you have to say succinctly. Speak clearly, and let the person know why you called, and if you leave your number, say the numbers slowly. It drives people crazy when they have to replay the message numerous times in order to get the right numbers.

  1. Don’t answer your phone when meeting with others.

At a meeting or meal, if you answer a call, you’re basically telling the person you’re meeting with that someone else is more deserving of your time than they are. If you are expecting an important phone call during your meeting and there’s no way you can reschedule it, then make sure to let the person you’re meeting with know ahead of time.

This isn’t the best scenario, but if it happens, you can say “I have to answer this” and briefly explain why before taking the call.