You Have a BlackBerry! Wow, You Must be Important!

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You’re in a meeting and your BlackBerry vibrates in your pants. You’re about to look under the table discreetly to see who’s texting or emailing you. “No,” you say to yourself, “I can wait till the end of the meeting. I have self control.” The VP next to you is droning on about the minute details of your upcoming product launch. The anticipation is killing you. “OK,” you rationalize self-importantly. “No one will notice. Besides, the message is likely to be critical.”

Sorry bub, you blew it.

Here are some BlackBerry etiquette guidelines:

1. Never be rude. Turn your BlackBerry off or put it on vibrate in meetings or lunches, and don’t check messages or take calls unless you warn other people beforehand that you’re expecting a critical message. And step out of the room if you get it.

2. Suggest taking message breaks every hour so everyone can check messages. Chances are you’re not the only self-important person in the room.

3. Let your boss know when and why you’ll be incommunicado. You’ll be more relaxed if you’ve prepared.

4. Set limits on off-business-hours use. Yes, your workaholic boss may be online 24/7, but you deserve some private time. Try to check messages only once twice over the weekend.

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