The Civilized Minute

a minute of manners and musings

Early morning reminder


Our land line rang very early this morning, but it was just someone who had dialed a wrong number. I buried everybody in my family in the time it took me to find my glasses and stumble to the phone.  

The caller spoke with a British accent, so when he asked for ‘Samantha’ with a lilt found only across the pond, I really wanted to be her. I tried to get him to talk without admitting I was not Samantha, but I’m not very quick on my feet until I have my coffee. So, after hearing he had the wrong number, he went on to apologize. He said he would look up the number next time rather than try to remember.  Oh yeah, I got a full dose of that near-musical treat.  Immediately, this is the image that came to mind…

Old London Town.  Lights.  History.  Culture.  Mystery.  Style.  Sophistication.

Do you ever wonder what image people conjure up when you talk to them on the phone? 




 phone rage.JPG

You really should.

I gladly offer these suggestions to bear in mind the next time you talk on the teley.

  • Your mouth should be empty.  We can hear you chewing and it’s no less audible over the phone than in person.
  • No typing and talking.  Multi-tasking is a necessary skill these days, but there is no way you can give your full attention to the person on the phone if you are typing an email to someone else.
  • Be ready to talk.  Haven’t you answered the phone to someone saying, “Oh, hold on just a sec.”?  Don’t waste their time.  Dial the number and state your piece.
  • To really appear genuine on the phone, use your facial expressions as you would if the person were right in front of you.  This will give your end of the conversation a friendly and purposeful tone.
  • Eliminate background noise before dialing.  That means you may need to wait until you are off the street, out of the store or off the subway before dialing.
  • Don’t use the “Please enjoy the music while your party is reached” feature if you use your cell for any business purpose whatsoever. It’s unprofessional. 
  • Lastly and obviously, please, please don’t yell.  Modern technology allows you to use your inside voice. 




Now. When you hear your phone ring, converse with confidence. You never know! It might be that cute British boy that called me. You can have him.  I’m married. You may need a date this weekend. Oh yeah, or a job. Or a new client.

Sorry. I forgot why I was writing this.


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