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Business Expert: 4 High-Tech Rules to Live By

High-tech devices are everywhere today: But what do you need to know to use them most effectively and respectfully? On the heels of bestselling book The Business Etiquette Bible, we asked Rich DeMuro (www.facebook.com/richontech), tech reporter for KTLA-TV Los Angeles and Tribune Television to share his list of essential technology dos and don’ts when using high-tech devices in public. Following are four rules that he highly recommends that today’s technology users abide by:

  1. Don’t put your phone on the restaurant table if you are having a meal with someone important – and by important, I’m talking everyone from the guy you want to get a job from to your mom when she comes in town. Putting your phone on the table signals [the other party, saying] “I’m waiting for something more important to come along.” Roughly 99.9% of all texts, calls and emails can wait an hour until you’re done with your meal. If you really need to stay in touch, put your phone on vibrate in your pocket.
  2. If you do get a phone call in a place where you are in others’ company, excuse yourself from the group before talking.
  3. If you’re in close quarters, don’t talk as loudly as you would as if you were in your office with the door closed. As interesting as it might seem for others to hear a one-sided conversation, it’s just kind of annoying.
  4. Do us all a favor and keep your phone on vibrate in the most public places. As someone who is in the TV business and routinely in and out of studios all day, I keep my phone on silent/vibrate all day long, and I have yet to miss a huge call.

Beyond these 4 absolute no-nos, Daniel Sieberg, author of The Digital Diet, shares one of the most awkward things you can do with your phone in public:

“In my book I call these types of gaffes “tech turds.” One of the most damning is just dumping your smartphone on the table during a professional business meal. Perhaps when smartphones first became popular the act of doing so was almost a novelty. Now it’s just plain rude. It’s like you’ve invited a guest to the meal whose only role is to interrupt the conversation. If you MUST have your smartphone out, then make reference to it and tell your colleagues that you’ll only check it if the one urgent message or call comes in, otherwise you have their complete attention. Another game that works is getting everyone to put their smartphones in a pile in the center of the table. The first one who has to pick it up during the meal picks up the check.”

For more, also see bestselling book The Business Etiquette Bible

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