From The Ergoweb® Learning Center

The Growing Importance of Mobile Manners

The mobile phone has become an indispensable part of our working life, but it has made us less mindful of others within earshot? 

“We need an etiquette tailored for business people who communicate on the move. The increase in mobile phone usage for work and private calls or text messaging is becoming a source of irritation and psychological stress within, and outside, the workplace,” says Dr Pieter E. Streicher, managing director at, a global mobile messaging company headquartered in Cape Town, South Africa.

How do you feel when someone answers a call during a meeting? Or your co-worker makes a personal call in the adjoining cubicle? Or your business partner sends and receives several text messages while you are out for lunch together? Are you guilty of the same lack of etiquette? What steps are you willing to take to minimise the decibels associated with mobile calls and receiving text messages?

“Responsible mobile use is the key to better social relations. We need to look carefully at our current use of mobile phones and find ways of being more considerate of others at work as well as at home, the coffee shop, the movies, theatre, on the golf course, or at the beach,” says Dr Streicher.

Dr Streicher suggests that we use text messaging intended for business communications more effectively and recommends the ten ways of fostering an acceptable mobile phone etiquette (or ‘metiquette’).

1. Use text messaging to reduce the social intrusion of a call. When a mobile call is replaced by a text message it is less intrusive as it gives the recipient an opportunity to reply or call back when convenient.

2. Enable the “Silent” setting on your mobile phone in public places or open offices spaces. This will allow you to minimise the noise your ringtone makes in areas where several people may be disturbed by a ringing or beeping mobile phone.

3. Use text messaging like a pager. This is an unobtrusive way to get hold of a person as there is no immediate compulsion to reply to the message.

4. Use text messaging as a notepad. Request callers to text the required details after the call. It is often difficult to take notes during a mobile conversation, especially when driving a car (with a hands-free kit) or when listening to multiple voice messages.

5. Change your voicemail greetings to include: “Don’t leave a message, rather text me”.

6. Instead of leaving a voicemail message send a text. This removes the need to write down details while listening to messages.

7. Use text messages to send regular updates on a business process directly to a customer’s mobile phone. Businesses are finding that customers appreciate receiving regular updates.

8. Avoid the inappropriate use of text messaging. Consumers do not appreciate unwanted marketing messages which are seen as spam.

9. Ensure that there is an opt-out mechanism for consumers when sending out marketing messages via text.

10. Use a desktop messaging solution, such as the BulkSMS Text Messenger, that supports the sending and receiving of personalised individual and bulk messages.

Source: Reprinted with permission from