Cell Phone Use 101

Cell phones have been around for several years and during that time have changed from big clunky portable phones to miniature computers that can do a lot more than being used to call other people. So, for those of you with the ultra modern, sleek, the-only-thing-I-need-in-life phones, this may not be for you. However, if you are just entering the world of cell phone ownership and have no idea how to even begin to use it to make a call, read on.

A few years ago when I got my first cell phone I was unsure of what to do with it or even how to begin to use a cell phone. Even though the phone came with a manual, not all of my questions were answered.

My biggest question was, how do I use it to make a call? I think that most people would view that as a pretty basic but important question. Of course, that question was not answered in the manual or anywhere on their website. What I eventually learned is that it is not hard to use at all. First, it is not always necessary to dial in the area code and you never need to press 1 first, like you do on a land line. If you are saving someone as a contact, I would include the area code because you never know where you will be if you want to call them. If you want to use your cell phone for local calls, you can probably get away with not using the area code. However, if you are using your cell phone somewhere other than at home, you will need to use the area code. If you do not, then you never know who your cell phone will end up calling. Trust me. I have done this a few times and ended up talking to some really confused people. It is also a good idea to write down the phone numbers you have saved in your phone in case you lose your cell phone or your battery goes dead. So to make a call, first enter the phone number (with or without the area code) of the person you want to call.

A second thing to keep in mind when making a call is that you must press ‘Send’ or ‘Call’ or the green telephone button when you are finished entering the phone number. Unlike a land line, the phone will not automatically begin dialing. This is good because if you accidentally dial the wrong number, you can clear the last digits or move backwards to clear the wrong digits and enter the correct ones. However, if you forget to push the button, you can stand there for several seconds with the phone to your ear before you realize what you forgot. Then you end up feeling like a dork, even though no one around you knows what you did. Do not worry. We have all experienced this at one point, so you will not be alone when you do this at some point.

There are several ways to end a call, depending on your phone. On my particular phone I can either press the red telephone button or, since mine flips up, close the phone. On other phones I have used there is an ‘End’ button you can push. Also, if the other person hangs up, the call will automatically end on your phone. If you happen to go into an area with low reception and your call is suddenly gone, this is why. You no longer have a connection so it automatically ends your call.

A few things to keep in mind when talking on the phone is that you do not have to yell, watch out for wind, and background noise can be very loud. Using the cell phone is not like talking through a tube; it is just like using the land line when it comes to volume. Though the other person can turn down the volume, it helps if you are not yelling in the first place. If the mouth piece is where it is supposed to be, they will hear you fine. If the mouth piece is too low or too high they will have trouble hearing you. On the other extreme, you do need to talk clearly and loud enough for the person to hear you. Whispering is hard to hear through the phone.

Wind can be a big annoyance as the movement across the mouthpiece causes loud static. This means the other person can not hear you. If you turn so that the wind is to your back and the phone is protected, then it is easier on the other person’s ears. You might also want to warm them, “I’m going outside and it is a bit windy. Hold on a second and I’ll be in the car.”

The last thing to keep in mind is background noise. The dishes may not sound very loud to you, but the phone picks them up very well. This is especially true if you are using the speaker phone option. You may as well be banging pots together while talking to the person. The radio is also picked up very well and makes for a very poor conversation. The phone can not distinguish between your voice and other noise, so it transmits it all the same. Please be kind to others ears and reduce the background noise as much as possible.

A cell phone has several features, each of which is specific to your phone. Read your owners manual to find out what these are. If you take them one by one you will soon be an expert on your phone. I am still learning new things about my phone and it is almost time to get a new one.

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By susan