Q: Is it okay to bring my cell phone to out-of-office business meetings and leave it on in case I get an urgent call?
A: Think about it carefully. According to a recent survey by a telecommunications company, 88 percent of the respondents felt that taking a wireless call during a meeting was appropriate. No matter what your intent, people view the call as an annoyance if not an ego trip: “Look at me-I’m an ultra-important person.” (Wireless phones in public places are like fingernails on a chalkboard to some people-59 percent said they would rather visit the dentist than sit next someone talking on one in a movie theater!) But what if you really can’t afford to miss a call? One solution is to take advantage of technology-a silent battery-powered vibrating signal instead of a ring, voice mail, or caller ID. Also, let other people know before the meeting starts that you might need to excuse yourself. Then, if an urgent call comes in, take care of it quickly, quietly, and out of earshot-preferably in another room.