voice mail is a tool.

Last quarter I posted (ranted) about my biggest cell phone pet peeve.

I have another one.

Why do people have to answer the phone EVERY time it rings? Is it not your phone? Your life? Do you not have voice mail? Why? Why? Why?

I have a cell phone. It’s not like I don’t get calls. But here’s my cell phone etiquette:

If I’m actually involved in a conversation with someone face to face and my phone rings, I subtlety look at the caller id (seriously, everyone has caller id), then:

If I don’t recognize it, I let it go to voice mail and continue talking with the person standing in front of me.

If I recognize it, I think: is this a possible emergency? Is it my kid’s school? A family member? If not, I let the call go to voice mail. If it is a possible emergency, I say “I”m sorry, excuse me, this is XXX and I need to make sure everything is okay.” Then answer it, and if possible, ask the person if I can call them back.

If I’m expecting a call when I begin a face to face? At the beginning of the conversation, I say, “I’m expecting a phone call I really need to take, so if my phone rings while we’re taking, . . . “

Take back your life. Talk on the phone when YOU want to. Treat the person in front of you like they’re important. Make them feel important by continuing to talk with them – even if your phone rings.