TJ McCue TJ McCue served as Technology/Product Review Editor for Small Business Trends for many years and now contributes on 3D technologies. He is currently traveling the USA on the 3DRV roadtrip and writes at the Refine Digital blog.

16 Reactions
  1. I would add that you should have a very high standard to determine when a phone call is more important than the person right in front of you. Nothing says “You’re not important” quite like getting out-ranked by a phone call.

  2. Totally agree, Robert. I cannot remember a time when a call trumped the person in front of me. There are exceptions, of course, but they are rare and can be explained ahead of time. “My wife is pregnant and she’ll call if she goes into labor…” Etc. Other than that, stay tuned in to your in person meeting.

  3. Great article. This should be printed and sent to every mobile phone user. Maybe even at the time of purchase. We have all been subject to improper mobile etiquette, so please keep up the good work.

  4. Great tips. These are definitely some useful business etiquette tips that we can sometime forget about because of habit. Thanks for sharing.


  5. These are good tips, probably practiced by most small business owners, but not by the general public. Its almost common practice now to be sitting in a meeting with someone checking their phone for mail/messages, or leaving it on their desk and checking, or hiding it under the desk. We should have phone-frees zones, except that’s illegal by the FCC.

    • Jon, I agree on the phone-free zones.

      I could understand allowing phones in internal meetings where no outsiders are present, except for one thing: it sets a bad example. A lot of people don’t seem to be able to distinguish between internal meetings where things are relaxed, and external meetings.

      And please don’t get me started on phones going off at conferences because people don’t silence them — I’ve even been present when the phone went off of the person at the podium speaking. Oooooh, bad form. Or as a friend of mine said, whose company paid the keynote speaker, “We paid $25,000 and he couldn’t even remember to shut off his phone?”

      – Anita

  6. Jon and Anita, well, I just had to chime in. I completely agree. Years ago, I thought that I would create a device that could kill all cell signal within 30 feet of me… Found out later that it exists, but is illegal in the U.S. I think you can get one in Canada.. I’m not sure there’s any hope for courtesy to occur on a national level.

    • Great tips for small business owner every business owner is probably habit to discuss in public place. every business owner check the phone, message when he or she is in meeting or public space they should be mobile free.