With almost twenty years experience dealing with mobile phones, we should all be getting the hang of the etiquette around these devices….
We know when to turn them off or put on silent (airplanes, meetings, conferences, in class, during business lunches and especially when you have left your phone alone at your desk) however have we missed one important aspect of putting your phone on silent? Vibrate is not silent.
Actually the noise some phones make when on vibrate is louder than the ring itself so really it’s pointless.
When you are sitting in a meeting and your phone rings while on vibrate a strange phenomenon happens and everyone pretends they can’t hear it but still, even though everyone has a blank face we all distracted by your vibrating pants. I got to use this exact example while training some new graduates on business etiquette in one of our major banks last week; one of the new young recruits’ starting vibrating while discussing mobile phone use a professional environment, everyone’s eyes shifted slightly in his direction (thinking “Geez I’m glad that isn’t my phone) and we were all distracted from the session. It was perfect timing really as I now had a live example of the impression it sends out and I explained that even though we outwardly pretend to ignore it, we all had lost our focus. You do not want to lose your client or colleagues focus. Now everyone repeat after me: vibrate is not silent. He promptly turned his phone completely off so not to be used as example again.
If you head out to get a coffee, go for lunch or a meeting and you leave your mobile phone behind on your desk then please make sure it is on silent…. Again, vibrate is not silent. Understand that some surfaces your mobile is left on may cause the reverberation to be so loud that it’s more irritating than your Katy Perry ringtone.
In a recent study I have conducted it showed that leaving a loud or vibrating phone alone on a desk is a pet peeve for over half of your colleagues and so you might find if you continue to leave your phone behind it’ll go out the window, so don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Remember, vibrate is not silent.