Pachter's Pointers:
Business Etiquette Tips & Career Suggestions


Be Smart: Six Suggestions for Using Smartphones in Business

In a recent New York Times article, “Pass the Word: The Phone Call Is Back,” reporter Jenna Wortham wrote that her friends had started “…picking up their cellphones for an unusual purpose: They wanted to talk. And I started answering when they called.”

Her article highlights that the need for vocal contact is still alive and well. And for some of us, of course, the phone call never went away.

My favorite illustration of the importance of phone calls comes from the television show The Big Bang Theory. In one episode, the star character, Sheldon, is having trouble getting in contact with his girlfriend, and says to his roommate, “I’ve tried email, video chat, tweeting her, posting on her Facebook wall, texting her…nothing.”

 His roommate asks, “Did you try calling her on the telephone?

 Sheldon replies, “Ah, the telephone.”

 As he starts to dial her number, he says to his roommate, “In your own simple way, you may be the wisest of us all.”

Talking to someone on the phone is still an important way to communicate in business – you can get immediate feedback/acknowledgement, you can eliminate the back-and-forth aspects of texts or emails, and you can have the sound of your voice enhance your message.

You can also have more in-depth discussions. My former social media intern always calls me when she needs to discuss her next career move, although she usually emails or texts me with her regular communication updates.

 Here are six suggestions for using smartphones smartly in business:  

 1. Use a greeting, and give your name when answering the phone. Remember, it is a business call – you want to sound professional. Say “Hello” or “Good morning,” and then your full name, rather than just your first name.  You also need to include a verb – as in “Brittany Jones speaking,” or “This is Jake Jones.”  (Of course, if you know it is your colleague, you can simply say “Hi.”)

 2. Don’t place your phone on the table when meeting with someone. Since the smartphone has become so much a part of people’s lives, the phone is always “at the ready.” People put it on the table and don’t even think about it. This is rude. How does it look to the other person? It tells the person with whom you are meeting that you are so ready to drop him or her to talk with someone else, or to respond to an email or text! Research has shown that the presence of the phone inhibits conversation. (Additional guidelines for smartphones can be found in my new book, The Essentials of Business Etiquette.)

3. Do not use a Bluetooth headset in the office. It looks like a cockroach in your ear. (Yes, I do have strong opinions about this.) I am not talking about the hands-free headset that receptionists use. I am talking about headsets often used when people are walking and talking, making you think they are talking to themselves. Or even worse, you think they are talking to you, and may start to respond.  This thoughtless behavior by the headset-wearer is just rude. 

4. Use voicemail professionally. Many people don’t leave messages when making personal calls. They know that people will see that they called, and call them back. In business, people do leave messages. If you are the one leaving the message, make your points in as few words as necessary. If you ramble, people are likely to stop listening. Also, the outgoing message on your system – the one asking people to leave a message – needs to be appropriate. Saying, “Hey, you’ve reached me. You know the drill,” is not okay. Let people know the name of the person they have reached, and that you will call them back. 

5. Don’t speak too loudly. People still need to be reminded to speak in a quiet, conversational voice when they are on the phone.  If the people around you are giving you evil stares, chances are you need to lower your volume.

6. Do not make blanket excuses.  When sending emails from their smartphones, some people add a generic message at the end, such as: Please excuse typos and the brevity of this message. Sent from my mobile device. Mentioning possible mistakes only seems to highlight any that you have made. Take the time to proof and correct your messages before you send them.

Pachter & Associates provides training and coaching on business communication. For additional information, contact Joyce Hoff at or 856.751.6141.


  1. Anonymous9/30/2014

    From a reader:
    Nice article. I especially like #2. I can't tell you how many times I have been in meetings where teammates and management would constantly look at their cellphone. The managers were worse than the teammates. Their reason was they had to keep up with their email in case there was something important. What could be more important than the meeting than they were in? I think they felt more important and wanted others to think they were extremely busy by constantly looking at their cellphone and scroll through their emails. I found this rude and non-professional.

  2. Anonymous9/30/2014

    From a reader:
    #2 is a great tip! Give the person you are meeting with your full attention. That's really smart! :)

  3. Tip #2 has really hit home with a lot of people. Thanks for your comments.

  4. Article writing is usually an artwork, which includes advanced during the last several years These days, this particular work can certainly used by overhauling the best way a website appears to be and, so, provides consumers with a new viewpoint about the same. wwwritingservice is really very high quality writing providers.

  5. Anonymous3/03/2015

    Thanks for your nice information. If you want usa roommates service you try this Roommatefinder site one of the best Rent services for living places in the US.

  6. Take a picture of the real writing industry situation, will you? i didnt think so either!

  7. Jason Olson12/22/2016

    Due to modern techniques and digital world, we are start using or it's better to say we are getting addicted towards the use of Smartphones, apart from communication these are also using for business deals for example checking mails, client communication, and many other different ways. Use of smartphones is now very common in different sectors and especially in business their importance are really appreciable.
    Communication Skills

  8. this procedure at the steps required to play mobdro 2017 also above version gadgets just. Aside from android.

  9. Matt Cummings7/14/2017

    For every business communication is really important, it helps to build a relationship between the client and customers. But it is also quite tough to take advantage of the communication every time, during traveling and holidays, it is tough to be in touch with our business clients. Therefore, online concepts are quite helpful for us. Business owners are using Smartphones for better communication, it allows us to check email, client communication, business calls, and many other online activities.
    How to Use Asana


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.