As July Approaches, Jerks will still Be Jerks Despite Cell Phone Courtesy Month

Share Article

Since 2002, Sprint has rallied the nation for Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July. But has anything changed? Are things getting better?

Since 2002, Sprint has rallied the nation for Cell Phone Courtesy Month in July. But has anything changed? Are things getting better?

“Unfortunately, no. Cell Phone Courtesy Month doesn’t work if cell phone users aren’t aware that they are not being courteous in the first place,” says etiquette expert Barbara Pachter, who co-authored the book "The Jerk With The Cell Phone: A Survival Guide for the Rest of Us" ($9.95, paperback, Marlowe & Co.).

“I still notice a lot of bad behavior on cell phones—a lot of yelling, phones ringing at inappropriate times, and conversations I just don’t want to hear—even during Cell Phone Courtesy Month.”

Okay, so what can we do if this well-intentioned attempt to curb bad cell phone behavior hasn’t succeeded yet?

“A better idea would be to institute Cell Phone Jerk Assertiveness Month,” according to Pachter, who has worked with thousands of business professionals and numerous organizations on etiquette and assertiveness issues.

People need to stand up for themselves if they are disturbed by cell phone jerks—but they need to do it in the right way. “The bottom line,” she adds, “is that people can learn to confront cell phone jerks using what I call Polite and Powerful behavior.”

Unfortunately many people use ineffective tactics like staring at or “shushing” the person, and even more extreme and violent behavior, like yelling at people to “Shut up!”

“When you are rude to a cell phone jerk, not only do you become a jerk yourself, but the cell phone jerk’s behavior usually doesn’t change,” she says.

Pachter suggests that people confront cell phone jerks politely and powerfully. You speak up—that’s the powerful part, but you say it politely. You can say something like, “Can you please lower your voice, your conversation is disturbing us.” But remember to keep your body language in check. If you’re clenching your teeth or wagging your finger, you’re not being polite and powerful.

She also suggests using a CPEG card. If you don’t know what to say, or don’t feel comfortable speaking up, hand the person a Cell Phone Etiquette Guideline (CPEG) card that says something polite and powerful like, “Hi. Can you please put your phone on vibrate? The ringing is disturbing us.” You can make them yourself and hand it out like a business card or The Jerk with the Cell Phone comes with three in the back of the book.

She does offer one final bit of advice—the importance of picking your conflicts. If you’re ever concerned for your safety, let it go! If it’s a minor and passing annoyance, consider letting it go. You’ll be less stressed that way.

Barbara Pachter is also the author of "The Power of Positive Confrontation," ($14.95 paperback, Marlowe & Co.) and "When the Little Things Count" ($12.95 paperback, Marlowe & Co.). She is co-author of several books including the "Prentice Hall Complete Business Etiquette Handbook." She is a speaker, trainer and coach specializing in business communications, business etiquette, and assertiveness issues.

Her client list features major corporations and organizations worldwide, including NASA, Pfizer Inc., DaimlerChrysler, Ernst & Young, and the University of Michigan.

For a review copy of "The Jerk with the Cell Phone: A Survival Guide for the Rest of Us" contact Blanca Olivery: 646-375-2571, or blanca@avalonpub.com.

Contact: Joyce Hoff

(856) 751-6141 (NJ)

# # #

Share article on social media or email:

View article via:

Pdf Print

Contact Author

Barbara Pachter