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Etiquette Tips: Answering Important Calls in a Meeting

written by: Tarun Goel•edited by: Linda Richter•updated: 4/14/2011

In a meeting, you want to focus on the meeting only--but if you happen to receive an important call that you must answer, you should know the appropriate ways of answering cell phones in a meeting. Otherwise the outcome of the meeting could be affected by your behavior.

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    Planning Is the Best Way

    A mobile phone is the most useful and widely used telecommunication device ever invented. It has made possible staying in contact with FreeDigitalPhotos, Photostock your friends, family and business contacts. However, the major disadvantage and possibly the only disadvantage of a mobile phone is that it starts ringing any time, anywhere without any warning.

    The situation becomes very difficult when you are attending an important business meeting and your phone starts ringing all of a sudden. It is not only embarrassing, but it also affects the outcome of your business meeting--you never know how the other person will react to it. The best way to avoid such situations is to plan your schedule so that no one calls you at awkward times.

    However, urgent calls can come at any time and that is why they are termed urgent calls. Here is a list of steps that throw light on different ways of answering a cell phone in a meeting.

    1. Always keep your mobile phone in silent or meeting mode before you get inside the meeting room. It must be made a habit to keep your phone in silent mode during office hours so that even if you forget that you are inside the meeting room, the phone will already be in the meeting or silent mode.

    2. Whenever you get a phone call, ignore phone calls from unknown numbers. You surely do not want to attend to a phone call from an insurance agent telling you about insurance policies when you are sitting in an important meeting.

    3. Make sure you excuse yourself before taking the phone call and be honest in doing so. Telling that you have to attend a phone call would not hurt anyone because, after all, we are all humans.

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    Excusing Yourself

    Perhaps this is the most important part of answering a cell phone in a meeting. Many people feel uncomfortable while attending to calls in a meeting, and they end up committing some blunder. Excusing yourself is not an easy thing for some people in a meeting because it appears as if all the eyes are glued on your actions. Here is a guide to avoid any problem while excusing yourself from the meeting.

    1. Ensure that you want to answer the call; do not stay confused. If the call is urgent or not, it has to be decided by you; and in a meeting, this decision must come instantaneously to you. Confusion will lead to disturbance; stay confident about answering and excusing yourself.

    2. Keep your conversation to the point; always mention that you are in a meeting so that person on the other side gets the subtle hint of talking to the point.

    3. You can get up from your seat if the meeting room is big. In case there is not enough room, you can simply be seated and answer the call. However, make sure that the person sitting next to you is not disturbed. Leaving the room should always be the last option because leaving the room will create a lot of furor and it should not be done unless the phone call is more important than the meeting.

    Reference Article:

    Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Business Etiquette, at

    Image Credit: FreeDigitalPhotos, Photostock