Handy-Etikette – So bleiben Sie höflich

Handys sind heute überall präsent: Die meisten von uns können inzwischen weder privat noch bei der Arbeit ohne sie auskommen. Allerdings können Handys schnell zu einem Ärgernis und einem Kommunikationsproblem werden. Darum geben wir Ihnen heute die wichtigsten Dos und Don‘ts an die Hand. Damit erleichtern Sie Ihren Mitmenschen und sich selbst das Leben – beruflich wie privat.

Dass der Umgang mit Handys im beruflichen Alltag geregelt werden muss, finden inzwischen nicht nur Privatpersonen, sondern auch viele Unternehmen. Es gibt mittlerweile sogar Regierungen, die Handy-Richtlinien für ihre MitarbeiterInnen herausgeben, beispielsweise die der Insel Anguilla (Kleine Antillen), nachzulesen unter www.gov.ai/dg/documents/phoneEtiquette.html. Hier sind unsere Tipps, wie Sie das Leben mit dem Handy meistern.

Handy aus!

Let’s start with situations and places that require turning off your mobile phone (BE)/cell phone (AE) completely. The most important places and situations are:

  • meeting, lecture, conference
  • personal invitation, date
  • theatre (BE)/theater (AE), cinema, concert, museum
  • church, funeral

In other words, turn off your mobile in social situations! Which means that you should always be aware that your mobile phone could be a potential disturbance when you’re with other people. Mobile phone etiquette stems from this fact; as can be seen in the following example.

Handy nicht auf den Tisch legen

It doesn‘t matter whether you‘re in a meeting or in a restaurant: If your mobile is on the table you‘re signalling (BE)/signaling (AE) that your mobile is more important to you than the person in front of you. So don’t do it!


Thou shalt not make the mobile phone more important than the company thou art keeping. If thou wantest to talk on thy mobile phone, thou don’t need my company. This also means no phoneage when a waiter is taking your order, or when you’re at the front of the checkout line.

aus: Dan Briody, The Ten Commandments of mobile phone etiquette 

Höflichkeit gegenüber Dienstleistern

The quote above addresses the topic of interpersonal dealings in a broader sense. It is not only considered very rude to place a mobile on the table between you and someone you’re talking to, it is every bit as impolite to talk on the phone while you’re being served at the post office, at a shop, at a restaurant, at a booking office or elsewhere. The people who are serving you deserve your full attention!



1. Turn off your phone in social situations, e.g. in the cinema, in a concert, at a funeral or at attending a personal invitation.
2. Don’t talk on the phone while being served in a restaurant, at a shop or the like.
3. Don’t place your mobile on the table when you’re in a meeting, at a restaurant or in any other situation where you are with someone.
4. Take your headset off when you’re talking to someone face to face.
5. Avoid any annoying noise, e.g. turn off the sound on your phone keys, avoid loud and disturbing ring tones, use the vibrating alert if possible, talk calmly, restrict the ringing to four times at most and keep your mobile where you can find it quickly.
6. Keep the time you spend on the phone as short as possible. Ask whether you can call back when the call is in danger of becoming lengthy.
7. Take and make calls on your mobile in a private place where your conversation won’t be overheard if possible.
8. Use voicemail in situations where you don’t want to disturb others or be interrupted yourself.
9. Don’t discuss personal matters on the mobile phone, especially not in places like train compartments where everybody is forced to listen to you.

Der richtige Umgang mit dem Headset

A hand-free headset is quite convenient. But it is also a source of irritation for people talking to you face to face because they can never be quite sure whether you’re listening to someone on the phone while talking with them! So take your headset off when talking to someone in person!

Rücksicht nehmen

You know how much people using their mobiles can annoy you. We all expect a certain amount of politeness and respect for our privacy. And we should likewise respect the privacy of others. Therefore you should

  • talk quietly
  • keep the call short – you might offer to call back if the call starts getting lengthy
  • use the vibrating alert as often as possible
  • turn on voicemail if you might disturb others (it also helps you to work without interruptions) – you might allow a few important numbers to get through to you
  • avoid discussing personal matters on the phone when someone is near and can’t avoid listening to you
  • keep your mobile where you have immediate access to it to avoid continuous ringing

Vorgaben beachten

Nowadays, there are mobile-free zones in many trains, offices and public buildings like hospitals, schools or administrative offices. So look out for signs banning mobile phones and obey the regulations.


Even if there are no signs forbidding the use of mobile phones, there are areas where you should turn off your phone or, even better, not take it along at all. This concerns private areas like

  • changing rooms
  • toilets
  • any place where taking pictures is prohibited.

The main reason for this is that most mobile phones incorporate a camera nowadays. Just imagine someone taking a photo of you while you’re changing your clothes in a changing room (and then posting them on Facebook or somewhere similar…).

Vocabulary Box
administrative                             – Verwaltungs-
checkout line                              – Kassenschlange
interpersonal dealings                – zwischenmenschlicher Umgang
leave off                                      – weglassen
obey                                            – gehorchen, ausführen
stocked with                                – ausgestattet mit
the Ten Commandments             – die Zehn Gebote
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