Wondering about how to do a video call? You’re not alone. Communications technology has advanced to make global trade and international business easier than ever. Email, instant messaging, smart phones, laptops, webcams, free video-calling, and tablets have enabled business to be conducted from wherever and whenever.
So much technology, yet so little knowledge about how to best use it. The technical aspect is easy–install a webcam, find software, set it up, and dial–yet few pay attention to the details in setting up and conducting an effective video call.
Your clients judge whether you are competent and professional every time they interact with you. Don’t lose customers because of unprofessional video calls. Impress your clients and they will respect your business.
5 Ways to Improve
Here are 5 key ways you can improve the quality of your video conferencing sessions:
- Sound equipment
Let’s work through each one
Location – Ensure you are holding your call in a neat, clean, and distraction free environment. People don’t like hearing the sounds of jackhammers in the background or watching a chaotic flurry of activity constantly interrupting your conference. Make sure the background is orderly and appears like a place of business.
Also pay attention to the acoustics of the room. Will there be too much echo? Will your voice be muffled by walls that absorb your voice? Is the internet speed quick enough and is there enough signal strength if using Wi-Fi? Make sure there are no connection problems so you focus on the deal, not the connectivity problems.
Lighting – The difference between a great picture and a mediocre one is lighting.Lighting is an incredibly important factor for your video quality.
If it’s too dark, your call participants won’t be able to see anything. It will be difficult for them to see you or what you are talking about. The primary advantage of the video call is the ability to see a person. People remember faces–it’s been proven that your eyes focus on a face.
If it’s too bright then you might blind your call participants and end up as just a large white blur, washed out by too much light. Again, if it’s too bright people won’t be able to see your face. Instead of focusing on what you have to say, they’ll be focused on trying to see you. Ensure you have a well lit (but not overexposed) area that is optimal.
Camera – There’s no getting around the fact that a better camera will lead to better results. Your camera represents the absolute limit for video quality.
However, before upgrading a camera, you should first attempt to fix the location and lighting for an optimal environment. Fixing the lighting and location are the easiest things you can do and they don’t cost anything. In addition, a great camera won’t fix a bad environment–garbage in, garbage out. With that said, an HD video conferencing camera will ensure your conference members have a crisp, clear, and vibrant picture. If you do a lot of video conferencing, a high quality camera is a good investment.
My personal preference for overall quality and price is the Logitech HD Pro Webcam C910, which you can find online for around $70.
Sound Equipment – Can your participants understand you? First make sure you speak slowly and clearly (when you think you’re speaking too slow, you’re speaking at just the right pace). If you’ve checked the acoustics of the room and ensured you are an optimal distance from the microphone, yet you still suffer from low audio quality, you should probably invest in a dedicated microphone.
A headset or a good quality tabletop microphone can drastically improve the clarity of your conversation. As long as you pay attention to proper speaking stance, volume, and distance, a relatively inexpensive microphone should suffice.
Bandwidth – A low bandwidth connection can drop the framerate and quality of your video conference regardless of what upgrades you do to your conferencing equipment.
Ensure that your Internet connection isn’t limiting the data sent by your video conference. Know that video conferencing is data intensive. If your connection isn’t fast enough you can suffer from choppy playback and poor audio. The fix is simple. Make sure your bandwidth is sufficient to carry out a video conference. You can check your internet speed at multiple websites–speedtest.net is the most common one.
Video Conferencing Software
Here’s some of the most common video conferencing software:
Skype – The most famous and widespread video call software. It’s also free.
GoToMeeting – Tailored towards true business meetings.
Tango – Another free one, Tango is better known for their video calling applications on smart phones and tablets.