Speak up about speakerphones

Yesterday a reader posted the following on the Re-find Facebook page:

“Please post some proper speakerphone etiquette. I would always like to be asked for my permission before someone (who obviously cannot give me their full attention) puts me on speaker.”

The quick response we gave is that one should always let the other party know when they are on speakerphone, especially if others are in the room.

To expand on that a bit, if you are in the middle of another task, rather than put the other party on speakerphone, ask if you can call them back when you are able to give them your full attention. This will make them feel more appreciated during the later conversation and will allow you to focus on the task at hand. Just don’t forget to call back.

In our experience, most people don’t like to be on speakerphone at all, so avoid it when possible, unless you are including someone else in the room on the call — with the knowledge and permission of the person on the other end of the line, as mentioned.

Another occasion that gets the Re-find speakerphone hall pass is if you or the other party uses hearing aids, because the hearing device can produce feedback when it’s against a phone. This one is close to our hearts, because the speakerphone option has allowed us to have much better — and quieter — conversations with dear old Dad.

Finally, if you need to go hands-free in order to perform a task that must be completed during the phone conversation, you may ask, “Is it OK if I put you on speakerphone for a minute, so you can walk me through the process of defusing the bomb?”

So, to recap, 99 percent of the time, it’s better to forgo the awkward speakerphone business and just tell your friend, parent, the guy from Verizon offering you an upgraded plan, child, neighbor or whomever, that you will call them back in a minute, after you’ve finished changing that diaper; strength training; tweeting; watering the plants at the office; driving; or whatever it is that you do instead of listening intently to the person on the other end of the iPhone. 

When you are done with your chores, pour yourself a lovely glass of wine or coffee, sit down in a comfortable chair and return the call — no speaker phone required. Doesn’t that sound a lot more pleasant?



2 thoughts on “Speak up about speakerphones

  1. Stacy says:

    The only other exception that I would add is hands-free phone while driving. With Bluetooth, it’s easy to drive and talk (whether you believe driving and talking is good, at least not holding a phone is better).

    I do though, always let the other party know if I have someone in the car with me – or I pick up the handheld. Or, I just don’t answer the phone.

    Love reading your blog – you make me a better person!

    • charmfinder says:

      I agree that it’s much better to use speakerphone while driving than to take a hand off of the wheel. Thanks for the kind words. We aren’t so sure we can take all of the credit for making you a better person, but we’ll happily take a smidgen.


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