Etiquette Expert Offers Tips To Help Transform Cell Phone Boors Into Considerate Wireless Users

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In honor of National Cell Phone Courtesy Month, Jacqueline Whitmore gives eight tips for becoming a more courteous cell phone user.

Sprint's Cell Phone Etiquette Spokesperson, Jacqueline Whitmore, is accustomed to getting calls from CEOs who want to polish their social and business skills while learning how to outclass the competition. In July, she’s dedicated to tackling a more monumental threat to civility -- she's dispensing advice on how to talk on a wireless phone without annoying others.

July is National Cell Phone Courtesy Month -- an event Whitmore founded in 2001 with the intent to encourage the increasingly unmindful corps of cell phone users to be more respectful of their surroundings by using some simple cell phone etiquette principles. To visit Whitmore's web site, go to http://www.etiquetteexpert.com .

According to the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association (CTIA), there are more than 180 million cell phone users in the United States.

"Wireless phones and other electronic devices have become so important to keeping people in touch with information they want and need," says Whitmore. "It's important to educate people about the proper way to use these devices so that they’re still in touch but not annoying those around them."

In Whitmore's new book, "Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work" (St. Martin's Press), she offers the following eight tips to those who want to improve their cell phone savvy:

1.    Let your voicemail take your calls when you're in meetings, courtrooms, restaurants or other busy areas. If you must speak to the caller, use the e-mail or text messaging feature or excuse yourself and find a secluded area.

2.    Speak in your regular conversational tone and don't display anger during a public call. Speaking loudly or showing emotion may distract those around you.

3.    Use your vibrate function or turn off your phone in public places such as movie theaters, religious services, restaurants, etc. Many wireless phones now have environmental settings that automatically adjust the phone and its features so you do not disrupt your surroundings.

4.    If you are expecting a call that can't be postponed, alert your companions ahead of time and excuse yourself when the call comes in; the people you are with should take precedence over calls you want to make or receive.

5.    Avoid interrupting meetings, social gatherings or personal conversations by answering your wireless phone or checking your voicemail. Discreetly excuse yourself if you must take the call.

6.    Use discretion when discussing private matters or certain business topics in front of others. You never know who is within hearing range.

7.    When walking and talking on your wireless phone, be aware of your surroundings and remember to respect the rights of others.

8.    Practice wireless responsibility while you are driving. Place calls when your vehicle is not moving. Don’t make or answer calls while in heavy traffic or in hazardous driving conditions. Use a hands-free device in order to help focus attention on safety. And always make safety your most important call.

Jacqueline Whitmore is the founder of The Protocol School of Palm Beach and the author of "Business Class: Etiquette Essentials for Success at Work" (St. Martin's Press, $19.95, July 2005). She has been featured in USA Today, The New York Times, Woman’s Day and Glamour. For more information about her etiquette programs, visit her Web site at http://www.etiquetteexpert.com.

For more information:

Jacqueline Whitmore

The Protocol School of Palm Beach

(561) 586-9026

http://www.etiquetteexpert.com

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