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Pardon My PDA… Protocol Tips for Proper PDA Use

April 9, 2010

“Please put that thing down!”  That’s my mother talking to me yesterday. 
 
Did you know nearly 43 million Americans have smart phones.  BlackBerry alone has captured 43 percent of the market, and the iPhone now makes up 25 percent according to reports released in March 2010. 
 
So what’s the problem? 
There are a lot of people scrolling through e-mails during meetings, at dinner, at the beach. Wherever. Whenever.  Have you ever heard a toilet flush while you were on the phone with someone? LOL.  Is that level of connectivity a necessity in our 24/7 wired world? There are people who have expectations of instant gratification and want you to respond to their IM, SMS, email or call right now.  Others are wondering if always having your gadget in hand has gotten out of hand. When the BlackBerry hit the market in 2002, it was nicknamed the “CrackBerry,” for the almost druglike addiction some developed for the device. 
 
Are you familiar with that back and forth eye contact, a telltale look of simultaneously trying to keep up with a conversation while checking e-mails on your smart phone.
 
I can remember a time when a lack of eye contact while talking was considered shady, or disrespectful. Guess what… this is still true. While it is more socially acceptable to fiddle with a smart phone at work or text in a restaurant, it is still rude to hold a conversation without ever looking a person in their eyes.  There is still a personal connection that needs to be made when holding a conversation with someone face to face.

PDA PROTOCOLS
Having a BlackBerry or any other hi tech high falutin PDA does not make you more important than any other member of society. Gadget guidelines are as simple as practicing some basic etiquette and using good old common sense:

Let’s check ourselves. Whether you are the offender or the offended, here are a few pointers to keep in mind, courtesy of your personal protocol consultant who has been checked by Mom!

1. Turn the phone off or set it to vibrate when you are meeting with people in restaurants or other places where your usage could disturb people – such as the movies, church, meetings, conferences, etc. 
 
2. Make sure to conclude your business – whether it be sending an e-mail, checking your e-mail or talking on your device – before you get in line at the bank or the store. There is nothing more frustrating than to wait on a customer who is otherwise engaged.
 
3. You should never be in a conversation with someone and ask him to hold on for a moment to answer the phone.  This tells the person you are speaking with that he is not as important as the caller. 
 
4. If it’s an urgent call, excuse yourself to take it. You should also let people know beforehand that you are expecting an important call or e-mail, so they are not caught off guard when it happens. 
 
5. When you are with other people, put your device away so that it is not an intrusion and so people know that you are completely present and focused on them, not your BlackBerry.

6. Just because there are messages on your phone does not mean you have to check them. Set time aside each day for checking and responding to non-urgent e-mails.

7. When attending a social function or party, turn off your BlackBerry. The last thing you want to do is embarrass yourself or your guests with your ringing phone and inappropriate texting.

8. Pay attention to people when they speak to you. Whether you are in a business meeting or just hanging out with friends, real, live people should take precedence over any kind of PDA.

9. Know your limits. Life is for living and not for texting. Learn to balance your life between what you like to do and what you have to do. Using your BlackBerry for work is fine, but at the end of the day, put it away.

10. If you cannot text using two hands, then you should not be texting. Using your BlackBerry while you are on the toilet or eating is not only disgusting, but rude.

Do you have any Blackberry or PDA pet peeves?  We want to hear about them. Email them to us at cheryl@4etiquette.com

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One Comment leave one →
  1. July 29, 2013 11:46 PM

    Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any trouble with hackers?
    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up losing several weeks of hard work due to no
    back up. Do you have any methods to protect against hackers?

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