I just read a blog post from a competitor titled: “Seven Reasons Why the Mute Button is Your Best Friend during a Meeting” – and it made me cringe.  I want to say right here, right now, the mute button is NOT your best friend. It’s your enemy. There are very few instances when you should be relying on the mute button and I’ll list those momentarily.  However, if you’re using your mute button as a crutch then:

YOU ARE OBVIOUSLY NOT PARTICIPATING IN THE MEETING, SO WHY ARE YOU THERE?

We’ve gotten into a business culture of meeting for the sake of meeting. Let’s change that.  Let’s commit to BETTER meetings. Meetings are great if you’re using them to accomplish something. But if you’re meeting just to fill your day – what is that?

As a general rule of thumb you should approach your remote meetings with the same thoughtfulness, preparation, and manners that you’d bring to an in person meeting.  Apparently  our competitor’s customers are not doing that.

Here is the abbreviated version of those 7 Reasons Your Mute Button is Your Best Friend — they weren’t intended to be pure comedy, but they are:

  1. When eating lunch during a conference call and you want to mask your potato chip crunching – I’m not making this up.
  2. When multi-tasking, everyone on your call can hear you typing – If this is you I’m sure both you and the others on the call are getting alot out of your attendance.
  3. While working from home, you can protect against the doorbell ringing. – Huh? The author goes on to suggest to put a “Do Not Solicit” sign on the door, which is a great suggestion by the way but is not a “mute” button.
  4. People can hear your iPod music in the background. – Really?  Again, not a mute button issue, more of a turn your music off issue. How many in person meetings do you show up to rocking your iPod?
  5. Co-workers trying to chat you up while you’re on the phone – The follow up suggestion was close your door which is a good one.
  6. Beware of Dogs and Babies — this one stands on it’s own comedic merit.
  7. Bio-break and flushing of the toilet – would you take your meeting into the toilet if it was a face to face? Then why bring your conference call?
Of course there are reasons where the Mute Button is helpful:
  • You’re in an airport and actually LISTENING to the call.
  • You’ve brought in poor audio quality due to your environment or phone.
  • You’ve got the whooping cough (but then again, what value are you bringing to the meeting?)
What we all need to strive for is better meetings. More engaging meetings. Meetings where we participate, debate, and creatively move our business forward.  Take notice of your next remote meeting.  Are you the “mute-er” on the call? Are you leaning on your “mute button” too much? Are you the person that is called on and then fumbles with the mute only to interrupt the flow of the meeting with “….ah I’m sorry, I had you on mute (and oh by the way wasn’t paying attention because I was on gmail, cnn.com, working on my expense reports, and email clients) can you repeat that please?”  If that’s you — let’s change that. Take a stand.  Make a declaration that you’re going to have better meetings.  Because better meetings are good for business.  And that’s something we’re all interested in.
The technology we choose doesn’t make bad meetings, our behavior and approach does. If you’re looking to have meetings that actually impact your business drop me a note at mgutman@lighthouseconferencing.com and we’ll see if we can’t get you on the right track.  And I promise not to put you on MUTE while you’re talking.

 

About Marc Gutman

Marc Gutman is the Chief Events Officer at Lighthouse Conferencing. He has over ten years of experience in Conferencing and Collaboration services and is dedicated to Lighthouse's mission of being a different kind of conferencing company. When not sharing his passion for remote meetings and collaboration you can find Marc enjoying time with his wife and three small children, cycling, snowboarding, kiteboarding, playing golf and generally enjoying the outdoors of Colorado. Find Marc on and LinkedIn.

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Marc Gutman is the Chief Events Officer at Lighthouse Conferencing. He has over ten years of experience in Conferencing and Collaboration services and is dedicated to Lighthouse's mission of being a different kind of conferencing company. When not sharing his passion for remote meetings and collaboration you can find Marc enjoying time with his wife and three small children, cycling, snowboarding, kiteboarding, playing golf and generally enjoying the outdoors of Colorado. Find Marc on and LinkedIn.

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