The fact that July was National Cellphone Courtesy Month was lost on most people.
The results of Sprint’s recent Wireless Etiquette Survey made that clear: Seventy-seven percent of those polled said they’ve overheard a cell phone conversation while in a public restroom.

Over half say they are made to feel “unimportant” when someone they’re talking to answers a cell phone.



But that’s what keeps corporate etiquette consultants like Anne Marie Sabath, founder of Cincinnati-based At Ease, in business. As technology proliferates in the office, so too do the courtesy conundrums facing executives everywhere. Sabath earns anywhere between $1,500 and $6,000 a day advising companies such as Merrill Lynch, Procter & Gamble and General Electric on everything from the dangers of business casual to the art of listening. But she says companies ask her more and more to address the misuse of the handhelds and laptops that are supposed to improve employee productivity.



She cites the instant message systems from Yahoo! and the Time Warner unit AOL as one technological troublemaker at work. Sabath advises clients that having access to all of their co-workers on IM doesn’t mean that it should be used to share every passing thought.



“When people feel that others are just a keystroke away, they fail to employ any time-management skills,” says Sabath. “People should gather their thoughts and pull their questions together before they start typing. It saves everyone time.”



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