Voice Conferencing Best Practices, Part 3 – Tips and Tricks

If you’ve read our previous two articles in this series, you already know a lot about the Dos and Don’ts of online voice confe­ren­cing via Voice over IP. You’ve got your hard­ware in place and have fami­lia­rised yourself with the features of your voice confe­ren­cing soft­ware – now all you need are some final useful tips and best prac­tices. If you follow the advice from this article, nothing will keep you from hosting successful online voice confe­rences the first time, every time.

Keep Your Own Channel Clear

With the right voice confe­ren­cing soft­ware, you can mute parti­ci­pants in order to avoid back­ground noise. As long as you are talking yourself, however, make sure that your surroun­dings are quiet. Ringing phones, barking dogs, and chat­ting colle­agues can all be very distrac­ting for your confe­rence part­ners. If you don’t have access to a private room for your online confe­rence, finding the right settings for micro­phone sensi­ti­vity will work wonders by ensu­ring your parti­ci­pants hear only your own voice and not the surroun­ding noises. Test this before your first actual voice confe­rence so that you’re ready when the time comes for your first real call.

Microphone Sensitivity Settings

Start and End the Conference

No matter how many presen­ters you have during the online confe­rence, you as the host should be the first and the last person to speak. Once ever­yone has arrived, welcome the parti­ci­pants and start the meeting. When you’ve reached the end of your confe­rence call, thank ever­yone for their time and contri­bu­tions before you close the meeting – don’t just shut the virtual door in their faces. Not only will your parti­ci­pants appre­ciate the gesture, it also gives you a chance to sum up the contents of the meeting and make sure that ever­yone is on the same page.

Be Clear from the Start

When you start the online meeting, the first order of busi­ness should be to explain the rules and process of the confe­rence. Tell your parti­ci­pants that you are going to mute them during the presen­ta­tion, and when they will be unmuted. Be sure to let people know about the features they can use (emoti­cons, chat, etc.) and when you will hold a round of questions.

Even if you will answer ques­tions in a special section at the end, you may want people to ask them via the chat feature as you go along. Let them know about your prefe­rence before you get started with your presen­ta­tion. This ensures that your voice confe­rence can run smoothly and without inter­rup­tions. Addi­tio­nally, parti­ci­pants will feel better taken care of and will be able to focus fully on the contents of your presen­ta­tion when they are aware of the meeting process and how they can raise questions.

Test everything

We’ve said it before, but that won’t keep us from saying it again: test ever­y­thing with a colle­ague or a helpful friend before you host your first voice confe­rence via VoIP. Even if it feels unneces­sary, a short test will go a long way. Obviously, the most important things to check are the audio quality and headset confi­gu­ra­tion. If you have the time, though, try out the features that are available in the soft­ware as well. Test the mute-button – for example, Mikogo has a “mute” and a “force-mute” feature – and the chat, have a look at the emoti­cons, and simu­late diffe­rent test scenarios.

Mikogo Force Mute Feature

Your first online voice confe­rence will be a guaran­teed success if you iron out the kinks in advance and get fami­liar with the tools at hand.

This concludes our short article series on best prac­tices for online voice confe­ren­cing. You’re offi­ci­ally ready to get started! If you’ve missed the first two inst­al­ments, here are our tips for Knowing the Hard­ware and Your Soft­ware Settings.

Discus­sionHave you hosted an online voice confe­rence yet? If you have any tips, tricks, and expe­ri­ences to share or ques­tions that you want to ask, feel free to post them in the comm­ents below.

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