Phone meetings have many advantages such as giving a participant the freedom to attend a meeting while driving, exercising, and doing other tasks or chores. However, with this freedom and flexibility comes challenges in the form of background noise.
Please, please, please be sure your phone is muted when you are not speaking. Thanks 😉 It is recommended that you use *6 to mute, but you can also use the mute on your phone – just pay attention that you could be double-muted.
But, accidents do happen and people sometimes forget to re-mute their phones. For times when someone does leave their phone un-muted and the background noise becomes disruptive and distracting the chairperson (a.k.a. chair, host, or co-chair) has a few options.
Mute all lines
The first option is for the chairperson to press *5 to mute all lines. The first time that the chairperson presses *5 is the participants can individually un-mute their line with *6 to share. Then, when finished sharing the participant again presses *6 to re-mute their line.
If there is still to much background noise, the host can press *5 a second time to mute all lines but now participants cannot un-mute so this is only good for lecture mode, and we try to not lecture in 12-step meetings.
Using *5 to mute lines is an all-or-nothing sort of approach. The host needs to be aware that there are three “states” for *5:
- un-muted by default
- press *5 once to mute all participants but they can individually un-mute with *6
- press *5 again to mute all participants and they cannot un-mute
- press *5 again to return to the default of all lines un-muted
Another option for managing the meeting space is “Q&A mode” and this is the mode MAWPM meetings are managed with. The commands the chairperson presses are:
- *01to enter Q&A mode
- *02 to move through the queue
- *03 to exit Q&A mode
Participants use *6 which is then followed by 1 to enter the queue to share. The system prompts are in the form of Question & Answers but for our purposes it is really just “getting in line to share.” When pressing *6 to get in line you next press the ‘1’ immediately to bypass the prompt so that you don’t miss any of the sharing.
If you want to be removed from the queue press *6 followed by 1.
After each person in the queue shares the host presses *02. This mutes the current person and un-mutes the next person in the queue. Only the chairperson and the current person are un-muted.
The chairperson must remember to un-mute their own line when the current person is finished to thank them and ask the next person to share.
The chairperson should frequently remind participants to press *61 to enter the queue if they want to share.
A participant should consider jotting down some notes so they don’t forget what they wanted to share.