The Guide to Conference Calls with Asthma
Over the years, I have done a good number of phone meetings and conference calls, both via old-school telephone and with platforms like Google Hangout, Skype or even other more obscure offerings (like ooVoo at one point). Really, I'm 25, the number of conference calls I've been on seems mildly disproportionate for my age. Anyways...
Many of these calls have been done with others with asthma, and as such, I’ve learned a few things about managing my own asthma during conference calls (Especially in larger groups).
1) Mute. MUTE!! I am not even saving my most important tip for last to build suspense—that’s how important it is. If you KNOW you are likely to asthma-cough or Real People Sick-cough on a conference call, PLEASE mute your line when you are not speaking. Just like if you have children or a barking dog or someone drilling in the vicinity, or are calling in from a bus… Mute your line. Always. Especially to cough. (If I can’t mute, since I am usually using a headset for phone meetings, I will often yank my earphone out on the side with the mic line, just to mute the effect a bit).
Most conference call systems will have a star-plus-number to mute your line, but I personally prefer just hitting mute on my iPhone because I don’t have to deal with the “Your line is muted/your line is now unmuted” lady’s voice. If your phone doesn’t have a mute function, ask the call organizer how to mute your line.
2) If you are too sick to be on a conference call, don’t be on a conference call… If you must, go on mute! It’s kind of like going into the office. We can’t catch your germs via conference call, but if we can’t understand what you’re saying, or if you are coughing too much and it is distracting, is it worthwhile? I also find that getting an earful of even virtual cough is really unpleasant. Mute is your friend. You can still listen, make notes, and even e-mail feedback to your fellow participants once the call is over—especially true if for instance, you’ve lost your voice. However, if it is going to make you feel worse, don’t stress out about it. Some conference systems allow you to call in online, in which case typing responses to the call organizer or moderator can allow you to participate nonverbally.
2.5) Remember to un-mute your line before you start speaking.
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