WIRED.COM: MANY OF US have been working from home for months now, so you’d think we’d have all the kinks associated with remote work sorted out, right? Not so much. Zoom meetings can still be a noisy nightmare, especially when those meetings include a ton of people. So here’s a simple thing you can do right now to make every meeting you join better: Set yourself to auto-mute your mic when you join a meeting.
This all started when WIRED writer and reviewer Louryn Strampe rightfully called us all out on it:
how are we this far into lockdown and people still don’t automatically mute themselves when joining a zoom meeting
— Indoor-yn 🏡 (@lourynstrampe) July 9, 2020
And she’s right. If everyone does this, just once, every meeting you join will go by more smoothly. You and your coworkers will never have to hear the inevitable traffic noise, sirens, or side conversations filter through while the actual speaker is trying to talk, because everyone will already be muted unless they need to speak.
Plus, personally, you’ll never have to worry that your coworkers will hear you flush the toilet in the middle of a meeting. Best of all, it’s one single checkbox away.
Here’s how you do it: In the Zoom desktop app, click the settings wheel in the upper right corner of the app to access your account settings. Click Audio in the sidebar on the left, and check “Mute my microphone when joining a meeting.” If you know you can’t be trusted to unmute when you need to speak and then mute yourself again when you’re done, consider also checking “Press and hold SPACE key to temporarily unmute yourself,” which is kind of like push-to-talk. You can press the space bar to speak up, say what you need to say, and when you let go, you’ll be muted again.
If you’re usually the host of said noisy meetings, on the web, click here to go right to your account settings, and then toggle “Mute participants upon entry.” Then you can selectively unmute people if they need to talk or give people the ability to unmute themselves.
Doing this yourself is important and great, but this only works if everyone does it. Luckily, it only takes a moment, so there’s no excuse not to do it before your next meeting.