How to use the telephone (Phone Etiquette, or How I Learned to Love the Mute Button)

Many of us spend a lot of time on conference calls. Dan Smith and I recently put together an internal wiki page with some helpful information for our fellow conference call attendees. Dan wrote the instructions and I provided some additional visual aids.  Here is the content of that page. Feel free to share this information with anyone that you feel may benefit.

How to use the telephone

  1. Dial the number you wish to call
  2. Press the mute button
  3. If you wish to talk, place your finger on your mute button and press it, but keep your finger poised over the button
  4. Speak
  5. When finished speaking press the mute button before you return your finger to your keyboard
  6. If the call is continuing, go to step 3
  7. If the call is finished, hang up the telephone

Additional Tips

  1. Try to avoid using soft phones. They’re horrible and they often introduce echo and/or noise for everyone else on the call
  2. Try to avoid using cell phones. They’re horrible and they often introduce echo and/or noise for everyone else on the call
  3. Use a headset. Speakerphones aren’t as good as you think they are. If you have to use a speakerphone, be even more vigilant about your mute button.
  4. Stick to landline or proper voip phones whenever possible. Always use your mute button when you’re not actually speaking.
  5. If you’re using something that resembles but poorly emulates a real telephone, use the *6 mute feature as it mutes all the audio coming from your line, something that your emulated phone may not do well.
  6. Keep track of your mute status. It’s not that hard. It’s either on or off. Don’t announce to everyone that you forgot whether you were muted or not. If you need help determining if you’re muted or not try the following procedure below.
  7. Hold is not mute. Don’t use your phone’s hold function in any way when you’re connected to a conference. Your phone or phone system may play music or beep periodically into the conference, making it unusable until you return.

Steps to determine if you’re muted

  1. If you’re not talking right now, you’re muted (see step 3 in the How to use a telephone instructions)
  2. There is no step two. If you messed up step one and think you need a step two, review step one.

 Helpful Images

A phone

Note: This is a Polycom IP 335. Your phone may differ.

polycom_soundpoint_ip_335

 

Location of Mute Button

It’s the single big red button.  Note that your phone should remain black and NOT turn grey while locating the mute button.

polycom_soundpoint_ip_335_mute_location

 

Light On While Muted

Note that the phone should remain black while muted.  It will not turn grey.

 

polycom_soundpoint_ip_335_mute_light

4 thoughts on “How to use the telephone (Phone Etiquette, or How I Learned to Love the Mute Button)

  1. Sadly, this is wasted info. Most conference calls involve too many “managers” and sales droids who are totally clueless about proper telephone etiquette, thus making such conference calls beyond worthless.

    As it says on my coffee mug: “Please, God, not another conference call!!”

  2. Pingback: Programming Languages – How to use the telephone (Phone Etiquette, or How I Learned to Love the Mute Button)

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