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Sticky Situation: Five Apple Watch Etiquette Guidelines

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Sticky situation:

I fear the day that technology will surpass our human interactions. The world will have a generation of idiots. Albert Einstein

It's here. No, not the generation of idiots, at least I don't think so, but the Apple Watch.

In a day or so, some of your clients or colleagues will turn into "Agent 86" or "Agent 99," Maxwell Smart and his female partner, of the popular epic series and movie, Get Smart.

Entranced by their watches, they will ask Siri about the upcoming weekend weather, reply to their boss' text, draw a little heart for their loved one, show their latest baby photos and instantly share their physical activity level for the day.

Wearing short sleeves or rolling up their sleeves, proud of their luxurious utility jewel, many might be at risk of musculoskeletal disorders. Why? Keeping their wrists steady and straight, almost all the time, to fully access all of the Apple Watch's apps.

One thing is for sure, the proud Apple Watch owners will be the first to energetically turn their wrists to answer the boring "What time is it?" question.


If you are one of the fortunate Apple Watch wearers, show Agent 99 "Smart thinking," by using these five B.A.W. (Before Apple Watch) techno etiquette guidelines of dos and don'ts.

1. When in the presence of others, don't look at it.

As you all know, a simple nonchalant watch gaze, during a business meeting or on a romantic date, universally symbolizes boredom. The message is very clear to all: you are not into him or her.

Look at the other and not your watch. The real "Face Time" is the face-to-face, eye-to-eye kind, not the eye to screen kind.

When interacting with someone and you look at your watch, even oh-so-discreetly, it is like bringing in a third person without the consent of the other. He, or she, trusted that you were in an "exclusive one-on-one interaction." He, or she, did not agree to an "interaction-à-trois." Ask and get consent first.

For business meetings, confirm with the host what the techno expectations are.

2. Put it in silent mode.

Silent mode is the only polite mode. It does not include even a subtle vibration or flash. Although your watch's volume and brightness are low, they are still distracting and will affect the flow of communication.

Nothing should be seen or heard from your watch. It should be as if you are not wearing it.

If you are the lifeline for someone, or are awaiting information that will be beneficial to your meeting, inform the other before the start of the meeting.

If you receive a call, excuse yourself for a few moments and go talk privately.

3. Communicate without disturbing others.

Prefer texting when in transit or in waiting rooms.

Toilets are not private. They are not a quiet place to talk. We recognize the echoing bathroom sound and can hear even a distant and faint faucet or flush.

At the office, especially in a cubicle environment, do not "command" your watch out loud, to "Call," "Text," or to switch from one application to another.

In public, never mention the full names of your clients, colleagues or friends. Keep your contacts and their lives private. It is indeed a very small world.

4. Don't record anyone or anything without first asking permission.

Yes, you have the technology to record conversations or immortalize moments, with one simple click, without a single sound.

You are right -- no one will notice and it will not disturb anyone. But, having the technology does not mean that you should, or have the right to use it.

Ask permission first, then you can say "cheese." Find out more in this previous Sticky Situation blog post.

5. When entering your vehicle, remove it.

The temptation to use your new Apple Watch will be very, very, strong. A quick 45-degree twist of the wrist to look, or talk, can put you and all the other road users in danger.

Apple informs us that the Apple Watch is user-friendly. Yes, it's true its usage seems pretty intuitive, as is the case with all Apple products.

No doubt that the Apple watch is convenient and quick. But remember, connecting and communicating is all about congeniality. Be, or Get Smart. Don't let Einstein's prophecy come true and use all five B.A.W. guidelines.

You have a sticky situation at work or at home? This is your forum. Write to Julie and she will reply promptly. Want more solutions to sticky situations? Go to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or order your autographed copy of Etiquette: Confidence & Credibility. Planning a conference? Julie happily travels coast to coast and beyond, to present customized activities. With Julie's help gone will be awkwardness, embarrassment and faux-pas.


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