5 Ways To Improve your Video Calls

ADVICE FROM THE EXPERTS

By Dan Fowler,
Senior Systems Engineer

“Hello? Are you there?”
“I can’t hear you.”
“Can you hear me?”
“You’re frozen.”
Unstable connection.

Since video conferencing has replaced the traditional meeting room, almost everyone has at least one story to tell about hosting or attending a frustrating and failed video call. Our goal at Verdant TCS is to keep your technology functioning smoothly so you can do the important work – running your business.

The most important elements of a video call are sound, screen, and video feed. Most importantly, video calls must sound clear, as if you are speaking on a phone with minimal background noise and distractions. The audience must be able to view the screen which shares the meeting information. Finally, to fully engage, the participants should be able to clearly see each other’s facial expressions and body language.

Follow these five tips to take your video calls to the next level.

1. Use a noise cancelling wireless headset.
Using the built-in computer microphone and speakers does not produce professional sound. For the best quality, look for a wireless headset with noise cancelation, such as the Poly Focus UC. This will reduce the background noise in your office which helps maintain your professional image.

2. Connect an external webcam.
External webcams allow you to adjust the height and angle as well as maintain crystal clear picture quality. Position the webcam as close to eye height as possible so it appears like you are looking straight rather than to the side. *Verdant recommends an HD camera like the Logitech C920.

3. Choose the right provider.
There are many different services that provide video conferencing/calling. Polycom, Microsoft Teams, Zoom, FaceTime, or Webex to name a few. Each of them have some strengths and some weaknesses. Choosing the right service to host a video conference can make or break the call. When choosing a solution you want it to be easy for people to connect. Software that does not need to have an administrator install will help if they do not run a test meeting before hand.

Also, you need to ensure that the service is easily available to everyone. FaceTime is a great example of being super easy to connect with but it is not available to Android users.

Last, with choosing the right provider you have to ensure that solution is secure and more importantly the security features need to be set up correctly. Things to look for are encryption, random meeting numbers, and passwords to join the meetings.

4. Provide a call-in number when possible.
Audio is the most important aspect of a video call. When technology issues arise, having a call-in number could save your meeting. In addition, when there are multiple video calls occurring simultaneously on a network, a call-in number will save your internet bandwidth.

5. Ensure your environment is setup for video.
Ideally, we would all have a green screen and use a virtual background with professional lighting. However, this is unrealistic in most offices today so here are some other helpful ideas.

Set the light in front of you or behind your monitor as opposed to behind your shoulder or to the side to reflect your face, reduce shadows and provide better picture quality. If you have a ceiling fan with a light, turn the fan off. The movement and shadows are distracting to viewers.

Finally, if you need to move around while on the video call, such as walking and talking on a cell phone, turn off the video. Sometimes walking around is impossible to avoid but doing so is distracting to participants and detracts from the purpose of the meeting.

Some of these are simple, and some take some planning. If you work towards implementing these suggestions, you will look better, sound better, and have a better video meeting.

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