The client I work with as a lot of conference rooms, all with the standard Polycom conference phone that works well enough. Most just have the phone, a few have the extension microphones (image below). I was a couple minutes early for a recent meeting where I was an attendee but not the host, and while we waited for everyone to join the call there were some of us at my end of the table talking and laughing about something, being loud, and I reached over to hit the mute button, thinking it would mute our microphone to decrease the noise to those on the phone.
Turns out it mutes the entire phone, which I guess makes sense, but I did it just as the host in the room was starting to talk. She thought she forgot to unmute, did so, and said hello to someone that had just joined – but you could almost see her thinking “I don’t remember muting”. In a flash of inspiration I realize that I have this microphone/mute button where she can’t see it, my laptop is blocking the view.
I wait until she glances back at the phone and then hit mute. Eyes go big – “did you see that?”. She unmutes. I give it about three seconds and hit mute again. She is by now convinced the phone is broken,unmutes it. I wait,she sits back. I mute again. She starts to lean forward and I unmute. Mute again. Unmute. Pause for a minute. Everyone at my end of the table – fellow IT types/pranksters at heart all – about to burst. I hit mute again and she is about to launch, looks around, and the game is over, no way anyone was going to conceal that a prank was afoot.
She took it well, and it was all done before the meeting started, so we didn’t throw the meeting off track with the antics. Just a little fun, but maybe something to add to your list of things to try.