With the mobility, fluidity, and flexibility of work arrangements nowadays, conference calls have become the norm for most companies with a global, remote, or outsourced workforce. Of course, you prefer video calls so you can see everyone. Although they are becoming a frequent and regular procedure, videoconferences can still go wrong.
Are there foolproof ways to avoid delays, hiccups, or goofs during these online meetings? How do you make sure that your call goes through, loud and clear, and on time? Take a good look at ways to improve or, better yet, upgrade your video call quality and experience.
Videoconferencing for Businesses
There are scores of apps that allow you to video call your colleagues or employees wherever they may be. The popularity of this mode of communication has given birth to stations that are fully equipped to host business meetings, webinars, and such.
With videoconferences, you get the following benefits:
- You can get everyone together for a quick call.
- You can share ideas or instructions faster by sharing screens.
- You can cut attendant costs (there are no mobile network charges for calls or data, for that matter).
That being said, here are five universal conference call fail scenarios and how to keep them from ruining your videoconferences.
The Usual Tech Problems
They are the number one cause of failed or delayed conference calls. Tech problems are varied and unexpected. The most common example is low to no audio, which is frustrating because the other side can’t hear you. Although you can expect slight audio delays due to hardware configuration, echoes (e.g., when two people in one room start talking at once), are not welcome.
The solution: run a test call before the real deal. Set up your devices, laptops, mobile phones, etc., and check the audio quality. To minimize echoes, settle for one device, like a mobile phone, and pass it around if someone needs to talk. You can also use Polycom CX5500, which you set up only once and from there, you can run your test calls and do hold the actual videoconference.
Background, Unnecessary Noise
Calls can happen anywhere, including the confines of the coffee shop or the comfort of your home. Thus, it is usual for everyone on the call to pick up anyone talking, children running, your neighbor mowing his lawn, or dogs barking. Before you know it, a shouting match has ensued.
The solution: turn off your microphone, at least when you are not talking or using it. You help lessen the many noises that may have merged from various sources. More importantly, if you have complaints or side comments that you don’t want everyone else to hear, keep your mic off at all times.
Poor Reception, Slow Connection
You can blame the internet for the breakdown of communications. Where there is poor or slow internet connection, expect interruptions, delays, or glitches that end up wasting everyone’s time.
The solution: check everything. At the minimum, your device(s) should be in line with the requirements of the software and configured correctly. Install or update your video call app and check for any reported outage or issues. As always, do a test call to review the audio and video quality.
Multitasking =/= Active Listening
Participants of the video call are expected to be attentive, although it’s not entirely surprising to see someone typing or looking over his or her laptop screen. It is multitasking at work. In some cases, you see people talking with each other when it’s not their turn to speak.
The solution: don’t, except when you are taking minutes of the meeting or asked to do so. When you multitask, you get distracted, and the next thing you know, your active listening has flown out the window. Also, avoid any unnecessary talking that can divert everyone’s attention from the subject at hand.
Bathroom Breaks Gone Wrong
Horror stories abound about toilet breaks gone wrong. Toilets flushing and related sounds coming from the bathroom don’t just sound pleasing during a call.
The solution: excuse yourself properly for a trip to the loo. And as a golden rule, leave your device behind, turn off the video, and make sure to mute the button at all times. Now, you know how to handle problems that usually plague your conference calls. Off with you to attend that business call.