ShEtiquette · The Finishing School


Few years ago, I was privileged to be an instructor in a summer school program.

 There, I doubled as a School teacher as well as a School Counselor and Dance Instructor (guess you can say tripled).

In all honesty, I could say I did fairly okay with those jobs. But I could have done better.

Case in point

On the graduation day for the seniors in the school, the children had a number of presentations, to showcase the various skills and lessons they had learnt.

While I was trying to get them ready for their music presentation, the proprietess calls my attention, announcing how she couldn't wait to see their presentation on MY subject.

With My eyeballs almost bulging out of their sockets, I followed her as she made way out of the room.

"I am finished"…I thought. 

The ceremony was almost halfway gone and 

I had nothing.

 It didn't occur to me that I was expected to prepare the children I oversaw for a presentation. 

I thereafter said a short prayer asking the Holy Spirit for wisdom, not long after which an idea blossomed in my spirit. 

I then quickly gathered my best and brightest students, guiding them on what we were going to do.

It was time for our presentation 

I had decided that the easiest thing to do with the kids was a mini-play on basic phone Etiquette.

 Pretty straightforward right? 


What I hadn't accounted for was this scenario:
Phone rings

My Student Actor : (picks it up) Who is this? (in an aggressive tone)

I just bent my head in shame.

This got me thinking.

A lot of us adults don't know common phone etiquette.

We sometimes assume that proper phone etiquette is common knowledge. 

And that's what our children or other children see and imbibe as common phone etiquette. 

We all make these mistakes including myself. 

These things are not routinely taught in schools right? 

But then it's important to discuss. 

You see, the direction of any conversation is determined by how it is started. 

If the starter is harsh, it's more likely to toll the wrong direction and vice versa.

We may assume a good phone etiquette is only applicable in formal settings like the blue and white collar job settings and such. 

Well, not necessarily. 

Good phone etiquette is applicable both for formal and informal situations, whether you are talking to a friend, colleague or superior. 

I will like to share a few tips on proper phone etiquettes.

 1. Always introduce yourself : Whether you are receiving a call or making it e.g Hello, Sarah on the line 

2. Endeavor to maintain a polite or cordial tone in your voice 

3. Don't talk too loudly or shout 

4. Cancel all distractions : Multitasking while speaking on the phone conveys to the person on the other side that you don't value what he/ she is saying. 

5. Don't take calls while driving. This is very dangerous 

6. Don't entertain interruptions – Let people know you are on the phone. 

If it's something you have to attend to immediately, let the person on the line know that by excusing yourself " I'm sorry, could you excuse me by hanging on for a just a minute ". 

If it's going to take some time, let the person know and offer to call at another convenient time

7. Don't take calls during a meeting. This includes at church, work, business, at the movies, when you are having a meal with someone/people, weddings, classes/lectures, etc. 

You can either switch off your phone or put it in a silent mode (not vibration). 

If it's a call you are expecting, let the person know you would be at a meeting at that time.

8. Don't put your phone on speaker. If you must, make sure you inform the person you are speaking with

9. Don't discuss personal details in public. Inform the person to call you back when you are in a better/ private location

10. Don't call more than twice – when you try reaching someone and can't get the person, try once more. 

Don't call again after that. 

Have in mind that the person has a reason for not picking. 

Calling a thousand times won't change it. 

If the person hasn't gotten back to you after a few hours, send a message. 

Then you can try calling again after 12-16 hours 

11. Don't call at late hours – I personally don't pick calls once it's past 8pm (except it's my husband). 

If it's so urgent, send a message instead. 

This leaves room for the person to call you  

12. Always ensure you have call credit overnight. This is in the case of a life threatening situation or emergency 

These are the basic etiquette when it concerns the phone.

Of course, if you know more, do share in the comments section below.


Picture Credit : Deposit Photos



  1. Hmmm… Introduce yourself when it is a strange number. Oh and greet. Some people (especially friends) might find it too formal. But do it anyway. Or at least I do it most of the time


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