Cell Phone Etiquette with Different Generations


How should you answer your cell phone when you are with a customer?

With the Silent Generation you don’t dare answer!

With Baby Boomers you ask permission if you can answer!

With Generation “X” they ask you “why don’t you answer?” ( I’ve said this )

With Generation “Y” they will have an interactive communication device and expect you to read and respond to the email or instant message while speaking to your incoming call.

Those four rules for the different Generations are so true. I have been with many people and at times I ask permission, or I don’t answer. I have also been visiting with vendors and when their phone rings I have looked at them and asked “Why aren’t you answering that?”

In the age of super connectivity the average attention span is becoming shorter than the average gnat.

Hat Tip to Dick Betts on his AR Blog

Loren Nason
Real Estate Technology Coach


  1. Nick on January 9, 2008 at 10:52 am

    This is very true. Last night I was actually talking to a few people at the Beer with Bloggers Inman Connect event about Generation Y (which I apparently am a poster-child for) and they were completely enthralled in the idea that I have 5 different email addresses that I check on my phone plus a chat program plus of course the phone part of it all. The part that cracked me up the most was when someone asked me “So if you email me, should I call you right away?” I had to laugh when I said, “NO! If I emailed you, I want you to email me back.”

  2. Chantal in FL on January 15, 2008 at 2:29 pm

    So true…I’m finding that it doesn’t even bother me when someone is using a phone in a restaurant. This would drive me nuts about eight or nine years ago.

    Not even sales agents shut their phones off these days when they go to someones office for a meeting. At best, you can expect them to put it on vibrate.

  3. Nick on January 15, 2008 at 2:45 pm

    Oh, cell phones in a restaurant, on an elevator, mass transit, etc. still bugs the living daylights out of me. Even when I worked in wireless and abused my cell phone, I never used it in those places.

    When I teach classes, I tell the Realtors that I understand they need their phones to ring, but if they’re expecting a call to sit near the door and step out to take it. Also, put it on vibrate. Everyone has been great about it.

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