1. Turn it off. If the ringing of your phone is going to bother the people around you—especially if you’re in a meeting, at a play or movie or concert, or in a quiet place like a library or church—turn your phone off or switch the ringer to silent or vibrate mode.
2. Step away. Whenever you’re around other people and you receive or make a cell phone call, move a short distance away so that you can talk without disturbing the people around you. If you’re with a group, simply excuse yourself for a few minutes: “Sorry, I need to take this call. I’ll be right back.” Then keep the call as brief as possible.
3. Don’t say anything personal, private or confidential if you’re in a place where others might be able to overhear you. Instead, arrange a time to call back when you can speak privately.
4. Watch the volume. For some reason, people’s ‘phone voices’ are always louder than the voice they use in normal conversation. Add to that the noise of a busy sidewalk or the background noise of a public place, and the urge to shout can become overwhelming. But remember—you’re the one fighting to hear over the noise, not the person you’re speaking with. So give everyone a break, and remember to tone it down.