The phone is smart. How smart is the user?

Have you noticed the shift in human focus and concentration?

Sitting in the lobby of the Public Hotel in Chicago, there are about 50 people sitting and milling around, engaged in some form of interaction – primarily WITH THEMSELVES.

Oh, there are others with them, but these people are head down on their phones. I’m sure you have both seen them and been one of them.

Maybe you’re even reading this on your mobile device right now!

Guidelines of phone use have significantly changed because of technology availability. Five years ago (before the launch of the game-changing iPhone), all you could do on a phone was send and receive calls – and painfully text. Remember your early texts – a-b-c-(oh crap)-2. That was a technological EON ago.

Cellular phones are smart these days. Most of the time, they’re smarter than their user. They are as much ‘app’ driven, as they are talk and text. If you include email and the Internet in general, your calendar, Facebook and other social media apps, Google and other search engines, news and other of-the-moment information, Instagram and other photo apps, your camera, music, movies, Angry Birds (I’m currently playing RIO HD), Scrabble, and other games, Foursquare, Paypal, and of course the ubiquitous Amazon (where you can buy anything in a heartbeat, and read any book ever written), you at once realize your phone or tablet has become your dominant communication device – and it’s only an infant in its evolution.

Voice recognition is the next big breakthrough.

Most people are not masters of their own phone. They use programs they need, and rarely explore new ones, unless recommended by a friend. (Think about how you found many of the apps you use.)

If you’re seeking mastery of your device, here are the fundamental how-tos:

  • How to use it mechanically. (Not just on and off.) Your phone holds technological mysteries and magic that can make your hours pay higher dividends once you master them.
  • How to use it mannerly. The ‘when’ and ‘how loud’ are vital to your perceived image. See some more rules and guidelines below.
  • How to use it to enhance communication. Texting is the new black. Data transmission now exceeds voice transmission – by a lot. Emailing a customer? How do they perceive you when they read it? Is it “C U L8r” or “See you later”? Is it “LMK” or “let me know”? You tell me. I don’t abbreviate. My mother would have never approved.
  • How to use it to master social media. Tweet value messages on the go. Facebook is inevitable, and now that Instagram is linked, you’ll need an hour a day to post and keep current. RULE OF BUSINESS: Whatever time you allot to personal Facebook, invest the same amount of time to your business (like) page. Post and communicate to customers.
  • How to use it to allocate your time. Use your stopwatch feature to measure the total amount of time you spend on your phone. You can easily hit start-stop-memory each time you use it. Your total at the end of the day will shock you – but not as much as multiplying the total by 365.

Here are the rules, guidelines, and options to understand the proper time and place for use:

  • When you’re alone and no one is around. The world is your oyster. Be aware of time. If left to your own device, minutes become hours.
  • When you’re by yourself, but others are within hearing distance. Speak at half-volume, and keep it brief.
  • In an informal group. Ask permission first. Use your judgment as to what to ignore. Be respectful of the time and attention paid to the people you’re with.
  • In a business meeting. Never. Just never.
  • In a one-on-one sales meeting. Beyond never. Rude.

Flight attendants scream at you to ‘power down,’ whatever that means – not as loud as is you if you referred to them as a ‘stewardess,’ but close.

Plane lands and the entire plane is on their phone or staring at their phone, and walk off the plane like lemmings marching to the sea in a robotic stare.

REALITY: People are walking into walls, tripping, bumping into other people, and crashing their cars while looking at and using their phones.

A classic cartoon in The New Yorker magazine a few weeks ago showed a picture of a woman on her phone saying, “I’ve invited a bunch of my friends over to stare at their phones.”

The smart phone is here to stay – they’re cheap to use and application options are expanding every day. Your challenge is to harness it, master it, and bank it.

Reprinted with permission from Jeffrey H. Gitomer and Buy Gitomer.

About the Author

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Customer Satisfaction is Worthless Customer Loyalty is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Getting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, and Social BOOM! His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at [email protected].

StrategyDriven Podcast Special Edition 37 – An Interview with Ann Marie Sabath, author of Business Etiquette

StrategyDriven Podcasts focus on the tools and techniques executives and managers can use to improve their organization’s alignment and accountability to ultimately achieve superior results. These podcasts elaborate on the best practice and warning flag articles on the StrategyDriven website.

Special Edition 37 – An Interview with Ann Marie Sabath, author of Business Etiquette, explores the often unwritten and unspoken rules of behavior for the business world that when applied differentiate business professionals from businesspeople; setting them apart and helping them climb the corporate ladder. During our discussion, Ann Marie Sabath, author of Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy and President of At Ease, shares with us her insights and illustrative examples regarding:

  • the default rules of etiquette for unfamiliar situations and those for which there are no rules
  • impact of increasing workplace diversity on business etiquette protocols and the importance of the Platinum Rule
  • resolving conflicts between etiquette and efficiency
  • rules of email and Blackberry® etiquette
  • handling situations in which you will be late (e.g., a meeting or task)
  • dealing with unfamiliar acronyms and technical terms during conversations in business and social settings

Additional Information

In addition to the invaluable insights Ann Marie shares in Business Etiquette and this special edition podcast are the resources accessible from her websites, and   Ann Marie’s book, Business Etiquette, can be purchased by clicking here.

About the Author

Ann Marie Sabath, author of Business Etiquette, is President of At Ease, a nationally recognized protocol and etiquette firm. She has trained more than 90,000 individuals at companies such as Fidelity Investments,, Deloitte & Touche, and Marriott International. The first and second editions of Business Etiquette have been recognized by the Oprah Winfrey Show, The New York Times, and Entrepreneur magazine. To read Ann Marie’s complete biography, click here.

Are you a Business Person or Business Professional?

You have expended a lot of time and money to earn your degree. You are representing a well-respected firm who is interested in developing your talents. You are putting in long hours and earning a great salary in return.

To be successful in business today, however, you must have more than a JD and a reputable organization behind your name. Climbing that slippery ladder of success means being thoughtful and engaging with those around you. In fact, the attention you pay to detail is the main ingredient that differentiates you from evolving from a business person to a business professional.

Where are you in your evolution from business person to business professional? Picture yourself in the following 17 situations to find out:

Hi there! This article is available for free. Login or register as a StrategyDriven Personal Business Advisor Self-Guided Client by:

Subscribing to the Self Guided Program - It's Free!


About the Author

Ann Marie Sabath is the founder of At Ease Inc., the 23-year old business protocol and development Cincinnati training firm. Her Strategies for Gaining That Competitive Edge in Today’s Workplace and other business development programs is a regular part of many organization’s Business Development programs. Sabath also is the author of eight books on domestic and international etiquette. Her newest release, Business Etiquette: 101 Ways to Conduct Business with Charm and Savvy [Third Edition] was published by Career Press (, and hit bookstores in March 2010.

Do you have an etiquette question? E-mail it to Sabath at [email protected] or call her at 212-956-1807.