“Take Any Phone Calls Outside Of The Room”

I wasn’t altogether surprised to hear this announcement at the start of a conference recently — I’ve been in too many public events where someone has answered their phone and started conversing loudly, even though there’s someone presenting on stage. But what can we do when people are so thoughtless?

It’s hard to argue that anyone needs to answer their phone in the middle of a conference presentation — even if your phone is set to only take calls from defined numbers, you can leave the room and then call back. But it happens all the time — I’ve even seen it occur in the theatre. The principle that you don’t always have to answer a phone regardless of the situation is obviously hard to recognise for some people.

I’m often tempted to punch the offenders in the back of the head when this happens, but that wouldn’t actually reduce the disruption. What are your strategies for dealing with this kind of rudeness? Share your ideas in the comments.

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