Telephone Etiquette: In Person vs. On the Phone

The other day, I was trying to have a business conversation with a receptionist at a doctor’s office.  I had several important questions I needed answers for.  Every time I completed a question, the phone rang and the receptionist answered it.  It took 20 minutes to get all of my questions answered when it should have taken only 2 or 3 minutes.

I’ve encountered similar situations in retail stores and restaurants as well as during conversations with friends when their cell phones ring.

If someone is having a conversation with you in person, they take precedence over the person calling you on the phone. Voice message systems were developed to take messages when you are unable to answer a call.  If you must answer the call, take a brief message and inform the caller you will call them back.

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