How to make professional sounding conference calls from home

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Conference calls are one of the primary forms of communication for the many employees who work from home. That’s why crystal-clear sound is so important. In fact, poor audio quality during a conference call is like an email full of typos and grammatical mistakes—unclear and unprofessional. In this blogpost our client Blue Microphones shares some tips for better sound quality.

You don’t have to spend a fortune to improve the audio quality of your conference calls. With some very affordable hardware and a few simple tricks, you can ensure your message always comes through loud and clear. Built-in laptop microphones are convenient for quick chats with friends and family, but they are not designed for professional calls. Due to their fixed position near the keyboard, laptop microphones make the voice sound distant and hollow, and often capture excessive background noise – especially typing noises, which make it difficult to take notes.

External microphones are custom-designed for capturing clear vocals and can be easily moved to find a good position for optimal sound quality. Most conference call microphones use noise-cancelling technology to help eliminate background noise as well.

Here are some quick tips for improving your conference call sound quality:

  • Use a high-quality conference call microphone
  • Wear headphones to prevent echo or feedback
  • Place the microphone properly
  • Use the right microphone settings
  • Find a quiet place to have your meeting

WHAT TYPE OF MICROPHONE IS BEST FOR CONFERENCE CALLS?

When choosing a microphone for conference calls, there are three basic options:

  • USB microphones like Blue Yeti Nano or Blue Snowball are very simple to set up. Just plug them into the computer’s USB port and the conference call software should connect automatically. Most USB microphones include adjustable desktop stands that make it easy to find the perfect mic placement. Since they don’t require any additional gear, USB microphones often include gain controls and headphone outputs directly on the mic itself, making them ideal also for employees working on the go.
  • XLR microphones like Blue Blackout Spark SLand Blue Ember let you interface with professional audio equipment like mixers and signal processors, making them a great choice for work-from-home professionals with audio-related interests like music recording, podcasting, game streaming or creating YouTube videos. However, XLR microphones require a little more equipment to set up. Since there’s no USB cable, XLR mics need an audio interface to connect to your computer.
  • Bluetooth headsets provide the most mobility of any conference microphone, making them a solid choice for people who like to multitask. With a Bluetooth headset, you can hop on a call during your commute, your workout or even while you’re making lunch. And since headsets include both a microphone and at least one earphone, you don’t need to purchase any additional gear.

CONFERENCE CALL ETIQUETTE

There are plenty of ways to embarrass yourself on a conference call. Here are the top five conference call etiquette mistakes to avoid at all costs:

  • Poor sound quality
  • Forgetting about your mute setting
  • Not silencing cellphone or computer notifications
  • Joining a meeting without preparing first
  • Not taking notes (or not paying attention)

TIPS FOR IMPROVING PRODUCTIVITY ON CONFERENCE CALLS

Nothing feels like a bigger waste of time than an unproductive conference call. It’s exhausting to set aside an hour and accomplish absolutely nothing.

5 tips for productive conference calls:

  1. Send a calendar invite to each guest (in the correct time zone!)
  2. Confirm who will be calling whom, and at what number
  3. Write an agenda for your conference call and stick to it
  4. Assign someone to take minutes or record the conversation (just make sure to get everyone’s consent before recording)
  5. Test your equipment 10 to 15 minutes before the call begins

Find more tips and advice in this blogpost.

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