If you're not working with a hosting company and have limited audio conference controls, you can still take steps to make each conference call a sound success. And that applies whether you or any participants will be using a VoIP network.
Here are some suggestions for exercising audio control as the host of a conference call:
- Test your own microphone and speakers, if you're using VoIP, or handset, if you're not, before you start the conference call. Make sure the volume is at an appropriate level.
- Make the call from a quiet area with as little background noise as possible. If you can, use a headset to reduce interfering sound.
- If you're calling from a cell phone or smartphone, make sure you have enough battery power and strong signal bars before you start.
- Don't use a speakerphone, if you can help it. Too often, speakerphones produce distorted sound.
- Never place your line on hold, or your company's on-hold music may play into the conference.
- Identify yourself when you start speaking so that the other participants know who's talking.
- Contact your participants in advance and ask for their help in also observing these suggestions.
As Web conferencing becomes more widespread, audio controls are finding a place as just one component of software and services among those bundled together by hosting companies. Rather than just adjusting audio controls by using the desktop, a conference moderator can see a screen display allowing control of sound plus mutlimedia functions like whiteboards, application and browser sharing.
As technology advances, audio controls are becoming much more sophisticated. Conferencing solutions from WiredRed and other hosting companies can include an audio wizard to help participants, as well as the moderator, to adjust their audio equipment settings for the best conference sound with VoIP.
WiredRed's e/pop conferencing solutions automatically starts its audio tuning wizard for each new user. The wizard helps the user to set headset or speaker volume control and to test and adjust levels for the microphone attached to the computer's sound card or USB port. Sound information about each participant is tracked so that the moderator will know ideal settings for the participant's audio devices for future conferences [source: WiredRed].
Given the convenience that audio and Web conferences offer, the technology to support them is bound to advance.
For lots more information about audio controls for conference calls and related topics, check out the links on the next page.