You’ve heard me say that video is about light and sound. Last time we looked at three easy tips for lighting your online presentations. So, you guessed it: this week we’re going to talk about how to sound great on video conference calls.
We tend to think about video in terms of visuals. And while it’s true that a picture is a worth a thousand words, sound is equally as important. You may not notice when a video call or presentation sounds good. But poor audio quality can be very distracting to your audience. Here are three tips to sound great on video conference calls.
Tip #1: Give Your Room a Listen
Think about where you are. Is it quiet? Take a moment and really listen. You may be surprised by what you hear when you pay closer attention. Is there traffic in the background? Or a strange humming sound? The human brain is adapted to tune out familiar ambient noises, but a microphone doesn’t have the same selective powers. It will pick up all of the sounds in a room. Try to find the quietest place possible for your call.
Sometimes you find a quiet place, but notice that your voice sounds hollow or echoes. This is because sound reflects off hard services, like glass or metal. You can solve this problem by covering hard surfaces with rugs, blankets or large towels to absorb those bouncing sound waves.
Some podcasters even like to record audio in their clothing closet! Although this may not be the best solution for your video call, you can still listen carefully to the room you’re in and try to optimize for sound.
Tip #2 : Use An External Microphone
Are you using the internal microphone on your device? Although built-in mics on a laptop or mobile phone are convenient, they tend to pick up a lot of background noise. This is because when your device is positioned at an adequate distance to correctly frame your video, the microphone is farther away from your mouth. As a result, your audience may struggle to hear you clearly.
Using a headset is a great way to get clean sound because the microphone is closer to your mouth. You can use the free headset that comes with your device. Just be sure that the microphone wire doesn’t rub up against your lapel or collar because this can create crackling noises on the other end of the line.
Many people are using wireless earbuds these days. I’m a huge fan of wireless earbuds, myself. But I don’t recommend using them for video conference calls because they tend to make you sound muffled. (Have a listen here to compare the sound quality of various microphone options.)
If you’re going to be hosting a lot of online meetings and presentations, you might consider investing in an inexpensive USB microphone. These are easy to use and can make a huge difference in sound quality.
Tip #3: Check Your Audio Levels
Whether you’re using a built-in microphone, a headset or an external USB microphone, be sure to check your audio input levels. These are usually found in the Settings section of your device and/or video conferencing software. Perform a quick test before each call since these settings can reset when you unplug your headset. There can also be a huge difference in sound when you move from one room to another.
It’s tiring for your audience to strain in order to hear what you’re saying. With so many other variables to consider on a video conference call, you want to create the best possible conditions to deliver your message. You may not have access to the quietest room. You may not have the best microphone. But there is plenty you can do to make sure you’re heard loud and clear.
Check out this Simply Comms video with media producer Jennifer MacLeod, to learn more.
Take a look at our full Simply Comms video series for more online presentations tips. We’d love to hear from you! Let us know your comments and be sure to send in other communication questions to address in future posts.