How to Have High Quality Conference Calls (That are Effective)
There is no denying that technology is at the heart of everything we do in business, irrespective of the type of business you operate.
One area where technology is undeniably critical is that of communication. Conference call software enables businesses all around the world to operate to their most productive level.
From having employee meetings to connecting with potential clients; conference calls have enabled businesses to go global and achieve more. However, this is only going to be the case with quality conference calls.
Hosting bad conference calls can do way more harm than good! So, with that being said, we are going to reveal what you need to know about how to have high-quality conference calls that are truly effective.
Causes of Poor Quality Conference Calls
In order to understand how to have high-quality conference calls, you need to first understand what leads to a poor quality conference call. By doing this, you are going to be best placed to rectify any issues that are currently in place.
So, let’s take a look at some of the different reasons why you may be experienced poor quality conference calls at your business.
Poor internet connectivity
There really is only one place to begin when it comes to poor quality conference calls, and this is with a bad internet connection.
If your internet connection is weak, you are never going to be able to hold the efficient and effective conference calls that your business demands.
The first step you will want to take is a look at your internet package you have set-up at your company. Make sure you upgrade to something that is fast and smooth, without interruptions if needed.
You want to look for an internet package that offers up to 400Mbps for the best results.
Unfortunately, poor equipment is simply poor equipment. Not having a good router is one of the most common reasons for experiencing issues in terms of call quality.
A lot of companies use their Internet connection for both data and voice. There is no issue with this, so long as your router has the ability to prioritize VoIP traffic.
Call quality is going to be affected by other users on your network if you do not have a router that is configured for packet prioritization.
For instance, if one of your employees was to download a large file during your phone call, without packet prioritization, the quality of your call is going to be negatively impacted.
If you have a specialized VoIP router, you can prevent this from happening, and so it is always a good idea to invest in one of these.
Multiple people participating in a call in the same room
A number of different voices being picked up via the same microphone is never good.
This is why it is really important to carefully consider who is going to be included within the conference call in the first place. Only bring in members who are vital to what is being discussed.
Aside from this, it is a good idea to ensure each participant is set-up on the conference call within their own office space if possible. This will ensure that quality is maintained and help everything to run as smoothly as possible.
You can also create an agenda for your conference call and assign specific people certain things that they will discuss during the meeting. This helps cut down on the number of voices speaking at one time.
Participants not speaking directly into their microphone
This is a problem that can easily be fixed. If participants do not speak directly into the microphone, the microphone is not going to be able to pick up what they are saying effectively. It is as simple as that!
Make sure that all of your members of staff have been educated with regards to how to handle conference calls properly and how to use all of the different equipment.
Interference from other electronics
You may also find that call quality is reduced because of the interference from other devices that you use at your business. You should turn off devices that are not needed at the time, as they can have a detrimental impact on the quality of your call.
Weak mobile network connectivity
Similar to internet connectivity, if you have weak mobile network connectivity and you are taking a conference call via your smartphone, this is something that will also need to be rectified.
You should take the time to scour the options that are available so that you can find a better solution for you.
Last but certainly not least, you will struggle to have a good conference call if there are loud noises in the background. This can often happen if you decide to host your conference calls in a busy office environment.
Instead, make sure that you have a designated space for conference calls and that that space is a quiet one. You may even want to consider sound-proofing one of your meeting rooms and hosting calls from there to ensure that you benefit from the very best quality.
Characteristics of a High-Quality Conference Call
Now that you know some of the different reasons why you may be experiencing poor quality conference calls at your business, let’s take a look at some of the different characteristics of a premium quality conference call.
Listening to playback recordings of the call
The only way you are going to improve your conference calls is if you get a handle on the effectiveness of them at present. The best way to do this is to listen to playback recordings of the call.
It can be very difficult to assess call quality during a chat, especially as you are only going to hear the call from one perspective. This is why it is a good idea to record your conference call and then you can listen to it afterward to determine whether there are any quality issues and, if so, how they can be fixed.
Use premium quality software
You need to make sure that you use premium quality VoIP software in order to benefit from the best conference calls. A lot of people believe that all VoIP is created equally but this is not the case.
Conference call services vary considerably, so take the time to do your research and find the best solution for your business.
The internet has made it easier than ever before to compare the different options that are available. You will be able to read reviews that have been left by other people, as well as comparing different features.
After all, conference software solutions are going to come with different tools and features, especially interactive features, for example, whiteboards, polling, hand raising, and much more.
Make sure you spend a lot of time researching the different features that are available so that you can determine exactly what you need before you go into the market for software.
Keeping an eye out for lag
You should also make sure you keep an eye out for latency, lag, or delay. This is essentially the amount of time it takes for the speech to exit one person’s mouth and then be listened to by others.
Latency can sound like an echo. You also have lags and delays where it takes a considerable amount of time for the other person to hear what you have said, therefore, disrupting the conversation and making it almost impossible to have an easy discussion.
There are a number of different types of delays that are found within the VoIP networks of today.
Handling delays can occur through devices that forward the frame through the network. They are big problems in packetized environments.
Propagation delays are virtually imperceptible to the human ear, as they refer to an approximately 70 ms delay because a fiber network is stretched halfway around the world. Nevertheless, when a network experiences handling delays and propagation delays combined, the impact can really be felt.
Another type of leg is queuing delays. When there is congestion on an outbound interface and packets are held in a queue, this results in a queuing delay.
This occurs when there are more packets sent out than can be handled by an interface at any given period of time. In order to help combat such delays and lags on your system, it is important to prioritize VoIP traffic.
There are a number of different ways that you can do this, including Multi-Protocol Label Switching (MPLS), Class of Service, Type of Service, bandwidth reservation, and policy-based network management. As touched upon earlier, investing in a quality VoIP router can also be beneficial.
Make a note of the person who is talking whenever the video or audio cuts out
Whenever the video or audio cuts out, it is a good idea to make a note of who was speaking at that moment. This will help you to diagnose what the problem is, as it has helped you to hone in on the source of the video or audio issues.
Monitor the resolution of each participant’s video feed (if applicable)
Again, it is all about monitoring the conference calls and the technology being used to ensure the very highest levels of quality.
Use visual aids wisely
Visual aids can help to increase the effectiveness of any conference call. However, this is only the case when they are used as they should be.
They can entice participation and encourage discussion amongst all of those involved in the call. Nevertheless, the issue arises when they are used in every conference call purely for the sake of it. This is not needed, and it can result in an annoyance. Only use them when they are required to ensure maximum results.
Be mindful of your location
Aside from the other tips that have been discussed so far, being mindful of your location can make a monumental difference when it comes to the quality of your conference calls.
You are going to have a difficult time hearing anything if you are in a loud area. However, location goes beyond this.
For example, you need to think about the impact your surroundings and location are going to have on your speakerphone or microphone.
You may need to alter a few settings based on your location prior to the call. You also need to think about where the microphone is going to be placed. As mentioned, you need to talk directly into the microphone.
This does not mean that the microphone should be touching your lips, though, as then everyone else is going to hear every little sound that you make.
Distribute a call quality survey to participants via email after the call
Another way to get a handle on how effective your calls are and to improve them is by conducting a quick survey during the call itself or by sending all participants a survey via email regarding call quality.
After all, you are only going to be able to make your judgments on call quality based on your very own experience. You need to make sure that everyone involved experiences high levels of quality. If they do not, this survey will help you investigate why this is the case and what sort of improvements can be made.
As you can see, there is a lot that needs to be considered when it comes to ensuring that your conference calls are of a high quality at your business.
This is something that you definitely need to take seriously at your business. After all, conference calling software is there to help you connect with people around the world and to make certain that you are running your business as efficiently as possible.
You are not going to be able to do this if your software is not up to scratch and you do not follow the other information that has been supplied above.
If you are interested in discussing your business phone needs further, contact our experts at Lingo. We have works with many businesses just like yours to help them improve the way they handle communication within the company.
Call 888-204-4641 today to speak with one of our team members