Meaning: reasons you’re so quiet or can’t speak
Rewrite 1: someone push your “mute” button?
Rewrite 2: somebody put you "on hold”?
Rewrite 3: you can’t say anything nice about somebody? Or, your mom caught you saying something bad about someone?
Rewrite 4: you’re quieter than a mime2a with laryngitis.
Comment: Rewrite 3 is stretching it, but if you don’t have to explain that his or her mother must have said, “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all” you’re doing well.
More reading about clichés
What I found when I googled “clichés”:
• The Modern Rules of Advertising: "Men are tired of their portrayal in advertising, according to a new book by Michael Buerk. But images of men behaving stupidly is not the only cliché which irritates writer John Camm." Mostly British but interesting anyway.