DEAR MISS MANNERS: There is a business manager at work who always answers and keeps his phone in speaker mode. He does not do that to his boss -- just everyone else. I feel it is rude to keep the phone in speaker mode when you are in a one-on-one conversation. When I ask him to pick up, he refuses. I may start off a call in speaker mode just to get through the button pushing, but when a person picks up, I always pick up the handset. What do you think?
GENTLE READER: If you object to the sound quality when the speaker mode is used, Miss Manners suggests you apologize and explain that you cannot understand what is being said. If you object to being overheard by people in the next cubicle, explain that what you have to say is sensitive.
If you feel that someone on a speakerphone is apt to be "multi-tasking" -- a modern word coined to replace the phrase "not paying attention" -- you are most likely right. But alas, Miss Manners does not recommend ordering your manager to pay attention.