It’s hard to forget the infamous commercial catch phrase “Can you hear me now?” Nearly 20 years later however, that phrase is no longer a joke, but a common question from people using online tools for video chats and conference calls.
Over the past couple of weeks, it has become clear that video chat apps are a main player in our daily communication, whether it be work or social related. In the interest of keeping “Can you hear me now?” where it belongs back in 2002, here are a couple of tips to keep your voice audible, feedback minimal, and echoing noises in your head – not your mic.
Use an External Microphone: Most, if not all, laptops today have built-in microphones, but that doesn’t mean their sound quality will be up to par. There are a plethora of mic options that are cost effective while still including features such as stand-alone capabilities, USB connectors, and distortion prevention. Another option along the same line would be to use headphones which do a great job at cutting echoes and that horrid feedback loop.
Check Your Default Audio Input: If you have a mic set up or are using a head set that is synced with your computer, there is always the chance that you are connected, but your computer is still using its default audio input device. Be aware that you may have to change your settings which will vary Mac to PC.
Declutter Your Wi-Fi Bandwidth: To avoid a reduction in video and audio quality, close other apps not being used as they will take up power and internet bandwidth.
Rethink Your Distance: It’s easy to tell when someone is speaking too closely or too far away from their phone because you can hardly understand them. The same goes for video calls but luckily it is an easy fix! Sitting too far away from your mic/computer can not only make you quieter, but bounce the sound off the walls creating an echo. Sit too close and you’ll experience a lovely, (not so much) wind noise from your breath. Test out your placement with your devices’ audio test before jumping on a call.
Mute: Working from home most likely means working alongside your barking dog, screaming kids, or partner on their own conference call. Even audio you may not be aware of, like your louder than normal keyboard, can get picked up by a mic. Switching to mute when you are not speaking is a given to avoid those unwanted noise interruptions. Just don’t be like Dave and forget to switch back.
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