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How to Practice Proper Etiquette on a BlackBerry or Smartphone

Make sure your love for your BlackBerry or other PDA device isn't making you obnoxious.


  • Step 1: Don't walk and text Don't walk and use your PDA at the same time. It slows down those behind you and can be downright dangerous at an intersection. Sidestep foot traffic and stop for a minute to read or type instead.
  • Step 2: Use with caution Use portable devices judiciously during a meeting. Nearly 90 percent of workers in a survey said it's rude; half would ban them from meetings altogether. More important, your boss may think it's disrespectful. Two-thirds of executives do according to a separate poll.
  • Step 3: Show some respect Don't use your PDA while someone is speaking directly to you. If you're expecting a crucial call or message, inform them you may be interrupted. When the call comes through, excuse yourself to answer it.
  • Step 4: Be discreet At a larger gathering, check messages discreetly; hold the device down low so it's not in the speaker's sightline, and be sure to turn off any keyboard clicks or beeps so you don't disturb those around you.
  • Step 5: Remove earpieces Unless you're expecting a call momentarily and need to be hands-free, remove your earpiece. Trust us: walking around with a gadget in your ear is not a good look.
  • Step 6: Redefine "important" Redefine the word "important." How many messages is it really necessary to reply to immediately?
  • Step 7: A simple signature will do When signing off on e-mails, keep in mind that "xoxo" annoys 25 percent of people surveyed, and "cheers" irritates 13 percent of them.
  • Step 8: Go cold turkey If you find it impossible not to check your messages compulsively, leave it in the car or tucked into a deep pocket of your bag when something important requires your attention. Like any other addict who goes cold turkey, you'll eventually realize you can live without your fix. At least for an hour or two.
  • FACT: Sixteen percent of people polled admit that they've texted or e-mailed someone during a funeral.

You Will Need

  • Consideration
  • Common sense

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