The ability to host or participate in a conference call from almost anywhere is a technological advantage that allows for convenient interaction with your clients or employees. Calls taken in noisy locations, however – such as at home with the kids around, a crowded café or even a busy office – can disrupt the conversation for everyone. Muting your cellphone or landline allows the meeting to proceed without any audible distractions.
Muting most cellphones and landlines requires just a single push of the mute button. The button location can vary by phone. It's usually on the keypad on landlines – tap it to mute and when the call is finished, tap it again to return to normal operating mode. The mute button on cellphones is also usually located on the keypad and requires only a tap to activate. On iPhones, for example, you can hit the microphone icon on the keypad to silence your side of the call, then touch it again when you want to add to the conversation. If you're unable to locate the mute button on your phone, press *6 (Star 6) and this should mute the call.
If you're using a headset, muting it can serve as an alternative to muting your phone. The mute button is usually located near the volume and on/off controls.
When you host a conference call with a large number of participants, there's always the risk that someone will forget to mute their phone and disrupt the meeting with background noise. Many conference call services allow the host to mute the phones of everyone calling into the meeting. For example, AT&T’s TeleConference Services requires that the host push 8 on her phone to do this after she activates the call. The function is disabled for each attendee when he hangs up.
Muting all participants works best during a presentation or training call where the attendees don't have to participate in the conversation.