Audio quality is the most important feature of any conference call. Without good audio, the whole call can become a nightmare for everyone on the line.
Not only can a bad conference call agitate participants, but it can also derail a team’s communications and productivity.
However, there are a few ways to make sure your calls are not ruined by background noises, annoying echos or off-topic chatter.
Put these tips to use to improve the audio quality of your next conference call.
While a caller participating in a conference call may in fact be doing their very best to remain quiet, any background noise will likely be picked up. This can happen even if the caller is using a mobile phone or headset. It’s especially a concern if a phone’s speaker feature or a mic system is being used by people on the call.
No matter the technology you are using on a conference call, it’s important to eliminate as much background noise as possible. That starts with finding an appropriate room.
Locate a room that is separate from anyone who is not participating in the call. Check for other possible background noise sources, too, such as other phones that may ring or areas where other people in the building tend to meet and chat. A room that’s too close to a busy street could be a problem, too.
If you are on the road or in a more public area, like a coffee shop or coworking space, then finding a quiet place to join the conference call may not be easy. Still, try to do your best to limit how much is going on around you whenever you need to hop on the phone.
Mute buttons and features exist for a reason. When all else fails to keep unnecessary noise at bay, all somebody on a noisy line has to do is hit their mute button. It’s always a good practice to remind people at the beginning of the call to use their mute buttons if they are not speaking.
Some conference call services also have a presentation mode or similar features that make sure the main speaker or call host does not get interrupted. These features simply mute all other callers except for the person presenting information.
With Conference Town, call moderators can activate our question and answer mode to unmute specific callers. All callers have to do is “raise their hands,” so to speak, and the system notifies the presenter that they have a question. The caller is entered into a queue of others with questions and the presenter can unmute each person, one at a time, to allow them to ask and receive answers.
Sometimes, no matter what you try, there is that annoying echo during conference calls when you are using landline or digital communication, such as VoIP. That echo is your voice getting transmitted back to you from the other end due to a variety of reasons.
It can be difficult to pinpoint the source of the echo. And it can be incredibly disruptive.
If you are using a smartphone for conference calls and are hearing an echo, then there are a couple of echo troubleshooting steps you can take that may solve the problem.
Try to adjust your noise cancellation settings on your phone. Another problem, believe it or not, could be your phone case. Some cases create some odd acoustics that actually affect your phone calls. Remove the case to see if that solves the issue.
Luckily with Conference Town, you don’t always have to find and eliminate the source. When you use Conference Town, echo cancellation comes built in to enhance your phone call quality.
If you have several members of your team with you in person, such as in an office conference room, then you could take advantage of microphones that are meant for conference calls.
The thing to note about microphones, though, is you have to use them the way they are intended.
Most microphones are meant to pick up sound directly in front of their receivers. That means if the microphone is not pointing at you, then it’s not going to pick up your voice as well as it should.
This is why you should make sure you have enough microphones for everyone in the office. Don’t just put a mic in the center of a table and hope for the best results. Others on the conference call may not be able to hear you when you speak.
Passing a shared microphone back and forth is another “don’t.” This just wastes time and creates a ton of background noise.
Just like when you are in a large room full of people listening to a speaker, it’s important to mind your manners on conference calls, too. Ask people on the call to not interrupt and to be courteous to everyone else on the call. That means allowing others to speak and not hogging the call.
The best way to prevent an unruly conference call chat session from breaking out is to manage the call with an agenda and focused discussion. If you are the call organizer, then it is on you to make sure everyone stays on-topic and engaged. Keep conversations relevant to what needs to be discussed and reel in any off-track conversations before they get out of control.
We’ve written about how you can lead conference calls like a pro.
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Plus, if you would like to learn more ways to improve your next conference call, visit our blog for tips and insights.
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