Five phone etiquette tips for youth

Youth are often in constant connection to their phones, so it is important to help them understand some basic phone etiquette.

According to “Teens, Social Media and Technology Overview 2015” by Pew Research Center, nearly three-quarters of teenagers 13-17 have or have access to a smart phone. With the high access rate to smart phones, it is important to help youth understand some basic etiquette about using their phone. In addition, helping youth understand this basic etiquette now is helpful if they look for their first jobs and move into their career path.

The Essential of Business Etiquette: How to Greet, Eat, and Tweet your Way to Success” by Barbara Pachter and Denise Cowie includes a variety of short articles that explore phone etiquette in the world of work. Additionally, Michigan State University Extension has these five suggestions youth should consider around basic phone etiquette:

  1. Think about the ring tone on your phone. Pick one that will not alarm or startle people. Think about how others would react when they hear the ring tone.
  2. Set up a voicemail message that is inviting and professional. Provide the caller with your full name and that you will return their call as soon as possible. Avoid having any distracting noises and make sure the message is current. Check your voicemail and follow up on the messages people leave.
  3. Put the phone away when meeting with people. As youth start to apply for jobs, help them understand the importance of putting their phone away when interacting with others. The person you are meeting with should be the most important at that moment, so anything on their phone can wait. This is good to practice at home and at 4-H meetings.
  4. When accidentally calling the wrong number, apologize to the person before hanging up. With the world of caller ID, people know the number that is calling them, so they could easily call back.
  5. Use a greeting when answering your phone that makes someone feel welcomed when calling. Say something like “Hello” or “Good afternoon” and provide your full name. How you choose to answer your phone is the first impression someone could be getting, so leave them with a good impression over something abrupt. Remember, your attitude comes across in your tone of voice.

Michigan State University Extension and Michigan 4-H help to prepare young people for successful futures. As a result of career exploration and workforce preparation activities, thousands of Michigan youth are better equipped to make important decisions about their professional future, ready to contribute to the workforce and able to take fiscal responsibility in their personal lives.

To learn about the positive impact of Michigan 4-H youth career preparation, money management and entrepreneurship programs, read the 2016 Impact Report: “Preparing Michigan Youth for Future Careers and Employment.”


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