It’s a cell phone, not ‘yell phone’: July is Cell Phone Courtesy Month

July 20, 2009

Cell phones continue to enhance our lives through communication by keeping people connected to friends, family and business outside of the home and office.


However, most people have had a cell phone ring interrupt a movie in progress, a loud talker overshadow their dinner conversation or overheard more personal details from a stranger than they’d rather know. And with more than 270 million Americans using wireless phones, it is likely someone is making their cell phone their “yell phone” right now.


With July marking the eighth year of Cell Phone Courtesy Month, it’s a great time to for cell phone users to take stock of their own habits and see if there’s room to improve when using their phone in public.


“Wireless phones are a great tool for staying connected to friends, loved ones and business associates,” said Chris Rathsack, U.S. Cellular director of sales for Wisconsin. “It’s good to take an annual ‘tune-up’ and make sure we’re all doing what we can to make public places pleasant for everyone.”


To brush up on calling etiquette, U.S. Cellular suggests the following tips:


1. No Need to Shout - Despite the smaller handsets now available, people hear you just as well on a wireless phone as on a regular phone. Keep your voice to a low, conversational tone. In some situations, texting may be the most polite way to stay in touch.


2. Watch Your Tone - Downloading the latest ringtone has become extremely popular among wireless users, and you can still keep your personal style without distracting others. Turn down the ring volume or place the handset on vibrate when in public settings.


3. Put People in Front, First - Put the people you’re with first – not the person calling you. If you absolutely MUST take the call, be sure to let people know in advance that you’re expecting a call and excuse yourself for the conversation.


4. Mind your Multi-tasking - Wireless phones are great tools for living and working more efficiently. However, it can also be discourteous to chat on your cell phone when people are assisting you in stores, banks, restaurants or other locations.


5. Keep it Private - Personal and business conversations are better off remaining private, especially when emotion is involved. Don’t forget to pay attention to your surroundings and be discreet.


6. Mind Your Manners - If you forget to turn your phone off or set it to vibrate in a quiet zone and it begins to ring, don’t be tempted to take the call. Simply turn your ringer off, or let the call go to voice mail and apologize to those around you for the mistake.


7. Watch Your Socializing – Social networking applications such as Twitter and Facebook are extremely popular ways to keep up with friends and family and available on many models of wireless phones. Remember, the information you’re sharing is being broadcast out across the Web and consider what you’re sending before it leads to an embarrassing situation for you or people you’re with.


To learn more about U.S. Cellular, visit one of its retail stores or


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