Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Etiquette and the Speakerphone

Speakerphone etiquette is to respectfully consider that the person at the other end of the line may believe that this is a private conversation.

One must therefore observe proper protocol so as not to cause embarrassment to that person.

It could prove disastrous to all parties if the discussion is about a third person and that person happens to be present. The caller would talk less freely if it was known that a third person could hear both sides of the discussion.

So, speakerphone etiquette rule number one is – to always first obtain consent to put a person on to speakerphone.
  • Advise them of who else can hear the conversation and whether that person is going to participate in the conversation.
  • Then it will not come as a surprise to suddenly hear a third voice talking to them. This applies to conference calls as well.
  • Speakerphones sometimes create an echo effect on the line, which can irritate and distract a caller.
  • This is another reason to advise them that they are talking on a speakerphone.
  • Speakerphones are a very convenient device, which have the added benefit of hands-free operation.
  • This enables the performance of other physical activities at the same time such as sifting through papers pertinent to the discussion.
  • Be warned, however that some activities will cause you to be listening with only ‘half an ear’.
  • This is not good telephone etiquette as the caller can often hear the activity and detect that you are being distracted.

Speakerphone etiquette rule number two is – to have regard for anyone else that is present. This is irrelevant if you are home alone.
  • But, in an office environment it can be a distraction to others present and even to the caller who would generally be able to hear other office activities such as phones ringing, people typing or just talking. 

Share these suggestions with your friends and colleagues and help make our world a more considerate place to live in.

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