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Do you remember large group conference calls? Do you remember that one participant putting the whole group on “hold” and music playing that couldn’t ever be silenced until that person came back onto the call?  I always felt terrible for the conference call host who was stuck and unable to do anything but try to talk really loudly or just stop the meeting altogether. In our current state of online meetings, the “mute” feature is similar. Over the past few weeks, I have attempted to mute participants in meetings where I wasn’t the host, co-host or even leading it. Since I lead so many online meetings and am often the host or co-host, I can’t help but want to help the host with muting lines! 🙂 While we want people to feel comfortable in meetings, we also need to protect our meetings from being overcome by unexpected side conversations, flushing toilets, dogs barking, kids screaming, people typing, we must use the power of the “mute” feature. Join me this week as I provide three reasons why “mute all lines” will help your online meetings be more successful!

Keeps people engaged

One of the quickest ways that people will “check out” in a meeting is if there is background noise that keeps people from focusing on the content. They will likely just put themselves on mute and start checking their email or doing something else (if they even stay in the meeting!). They will also likely turn off their own video and completely disengage. You want to guide them on how to be engaged in a clear way (use the chat, unmute their lines, *6 to unmute if they are on the phone) rather than be frustrated with their engagement because they keep hearing lots of background noises. This is an excellent time to assign team members to the role of “muting” people who may not realize they are not muted already.

Shows respect for presenters and participants

When someone is giving you their time to present or participate in a meeting, this is a gift! Your coalition members and partners have many options on how they spend their time and you want to make the most of their time during your meetings. When we mute all lines and provide instruction on how to unmute, you are respecting both the presenters and the participants. When people feel respected and valued, they are more likely to continue to present or participate in future meetings that will help you achieve your collective purpose.

Helps you be more productive

When you are not distracted by random background noises or hold music from other participants, as a facilitator, you are able to focus on the meeting purpose and help all participants be more productive during the meeting time. You are meeting for a purpose (if you aren’t check out my #1 online meeting tip) and muting all lines helps you accomplish this purpose. Sometimes folks can come off mute and not even realize it, so you have to have a team member stay diligent on muting individuals as needed as well.

So what about you? What is your best “need to mute all lines” story or background noise? 🙂

As you plan your next online meeting, check out my free resource, How to Lead Your Best Online Meeting Yet

Photo by Joshua Eckstein on Unsplash

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