This is one of those business etiquette tips that is less about business travel and more about, you know, generally not being a jerk. But lately it’s come up so frequently in my life, and the lives of my friends and coworkers, that I just want to give a friendly reminder.
I was recently leading a conference call with about twenty people. As you probably know, the etiquette is to mute your phone if you’re not talking so background noise doesn’t disturb the call. Well, during that call not only was someone not muted, but was eating what sounded like an apple right into his or her phone. Yes, an apple, one of the loudest things you can eat. I said the normal, “We’re getting some background noise, it would be great if everyone could go on mute unless they have a question.” The chewing noise continued and actually got louder—so loud that I couldn’t hear the questions coming in. After a few more minutes I said, “Sounds like someone is eating—please, please put your phone on mute!” That stopped it. (Note: since then we got a new conference call system and we can see on our computer who is talking—so if that ever happens again I will know exactly who the culprit is!) Read more of this article »