How the mute button on your phone actually works.

I guess I had made some incorrect assumptions about the function of the “mute” button on my phone.

I’ve always assumed that when properly activated, the mute button prevents other people from hearing things that are on my end of the line, and not like how the TV mute button works, which prevents me from hearing things from coming through the phone.

After comparing notes with several other people, I’ve determined that, at least for conference calls, the mute button works quite differently.  While the mute button is activated, not only can people not hear their names being mentioned during a call, but they apparently hear very little of what’s actually going on during the conference call.  Only after being prodded by several alternative methods can a person whose phone was on mute actually realize that the rest of the participants on the call are waiting for feedback.  More importantly, the last 5-10 minutes of the meeting have to repeated for the benefit of the person on mute.

A side effect of the mute button is the rendering of the feedback provided by the person who was on mute completely useless.  The best remedy for such feedback is a verbatim quoting of the feedback in a mass email to all participants of the call.  At this point, one of two outcomes will take place:  Either there will be a complete retraction of the erroneous feedback or there will be a written record of commitment to the feedback provided.

Hope this helps.