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My teammate clears their throat multiple times during meetings, and it's usually pretty loud and right into their microphone. No one's said anything about it, but I've noticed some people pausing their speech until the throat clear's done.

Our video messaging app filters out noises like clapping, and I believe that my teammate thinks that the throat clearing's getting filtered out as well.

It's bothering me, but I don't know how to bring it up without some possible friction. I think something like "Hey, I don't know if you knew this but [video app] isn't filtering out throat clears" sounds somewhat passive aggressive.

It's not detrimental to my day-to-day which is why I'm leaning toward saying nothing, but I wanted to ask if anyone on here has had a similar experience.

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    "Hey, I don't know if you knew this but [video app] isn't filtering out throat clears. Would you mind muting when you need to do that? It would help the continuity of the discussion." - That's not passive aggressive at all. It's a polite way of indicating there's a disruption, and they have the capability to reduce it. Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 16:09
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    @JoelEtherton Some might consider it active aggressive, being singled out like that.
    – Gertsen
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 13:35
  • @Gertsen Some might think it's assault. The world is full of people who misuse terms, and often if they don't care enough to use the right words, they don't care enough to check the other parts of their thought process that justified their complaint.
    – Edwin Buck
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 14:48
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    @Gertsen it isn't that either. If you work in a culture where that phrase is considered "active aggressive" then interactions are too sanitized to be meaningful. For context, I'm not suggesting saying it in a public forum to call someone out for it. OP hinted that there would be a singular 1:1 conversation in private. Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 15:26
  • @JoelEtherton The question is about group calls, and in that context it would be singling out the person in a semi-public forum. I don't see any hint that the conversation would be 1:1. And it doesn't really matter if you don't think it could be considered an attack - some might, and that is enough to be cautious about that approach, unless you know the person really well.
    – Gertsen
    Commented Dec 22, 2023 at 6:37

1 Answer 1

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If you are the organizer of the meeting, just kindly ask that all participants keep their mics muted if they are not speaking. If someone is speaking and another participant makes whatever noise due to not having their mic muted, pause the meeting at that time and remind everyone to please mute their mic if they are not speaking. The first few meetings may have a few bumps but people should quickly get the hint.

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  • That is indeed basic etiquette. No idea why some "professional" office calls are worse than the average online gaming experience in that regard.
    – nvoigt
    Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 17:15
  • @nvoigt It probably depends on their experience doing calls. Gamer usually spend way more hours with those tools. Commented Dec 20, 2023 at 18:50
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    @nvoigt adding to spickermann's comment, gamers are not worried to tell others pretty straight forward if they are loud/obnoxious/make sounds/have a bad mic or similar and that usually solves the problem :)
    – kirbby
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 12:43
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    Companies have so much to learn from gamers when it comes to mic etiquette, or fixing call issues (one's too loud, ones too quiet etc).
    – Or4ng3h4t
    Commented Dec 21, 2023 at 16:33

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