There are many circumstances under which you wouldn't want to answer a phone call. Whether you are in an important meeting or a quiet theater or simply don't wish to talk to a particular individual, you can send a call to voice mail. The person calling will have the option to leave a message, and you won't have to speak with him directly. You can make a phone call go straight to voice mail if you set your cell phone to do so beforehand. If the person is already calling, you can send him to voice mail, though he will hear a ring or two on his end first.
Turn off your cell phone. If your phone is powered off, all calls will be sent directly to voice mail. With most cell-phone carriers, the caller does not hear any rings prior to voice mail picking up.
Hit the "decline" button when someone calls. Most cell phones feature a "decline" or "ignore" button next to the "answer" or "connect" button. On some phones, this button may read "clear" or "end." When you hit this button, the caller is sent directly to your voice mail. Neither you nor the caller hears any additional rings.
Reduce the volume on your cell phone. If you are receiving a call, you can stop your phone from audibly ringing by pressing the "volume down" button. You won't hear any further rings, and the caller will be sent to voice mail. The caller will continue to hear the specified number of rings prior to your voice mail picking up the call.
Forward your calls directly to your voice mail. Call forwarding is an added service you can get from your provider. When you forward calls, callers are sent directly to your voice mail. Generally, neither party hears any rings. Call forwarding instructions vary from carrier to carrier. Be aware that forwarding calls incurs additional charges on your monthly bill.
Use a direct-to-voice mail calling service if you wish to reach someone's voice mail directly. Services like Slydial bypass rings and send you straight to an individual's voice mailbox. You must first dial the service's phone number, then enter the phone number you wish to reach. You'll then be sent directly to the person's voice mail. The service is free, though you are required to listen to an advertisement before you are put through to the voice mail.
You cannot forward a call while it is in progress.
Many people know when you are sending them to your voice mail, particularly if they call you often. They may have learned the number of rings that normally occur prior to your voice mail answering. If you send them to voice mail before the standard number of rings have occurred, they will likely know that you have done so.