Voice Conferencing Best Practices, Part 2 – Your Software Settings

Online colla­bo­ra­tion is growing more important every day. This means that online voice confe­ren­cing is here to stay, too. Now is the ideal time to get started with your own VoIP calls. The first post in this series intro­duced you to useful hard­ware. Today, we want to take it one step further and look into voice confe­ren­cing soft­ware. VoIP confe­rences give you more options than a tradi­tional tele­phone confe­rence when it comes to the settings – sound volume, mute, micro­phone sensi­ti­vity… If you’re just getting started with VoIP, however, the wide range of features may seem over­whel­ming. After all, it’s quite a switch from your old phone! Not one to be left behind, you still want to make use of new tech­no­logy, and of course you want to know how you can get the best results from your investment.

The Right Tools – Software

If you are plan­ning to use VoIP in combi­na­tion with another tool such as a screen sharing solu­tion, look for soft­ware that offers both. There are a number of tools avail­able for online meetings or sales demons­tra­tions that offer a built-in VoIP feature. This is the most conve­nient solu­tion for both you and your clients or colleagues. Make sure that the soft­ware is easy to use for ever­yone involved, and that it works across plat­forms. With the release of Mikogo Version 5, the VoIP feature is fully inte­grated into the soft­ware. Whether you want to use Mikogo for meetings, confe­rences, trai­ning, or remote support: the voice confe­rence is only a click away.

Settings

Before you jump into your first VoIP confe­rence, fami­lia­rize yourself with the soft­ware and find the ideal settings. The key setting is micro­phone sensi­ti­vity. This deter­mines which sounds your micro­phone will pick up. If the sensi­ti­vity is too high, there will be a lot of back­ground noise, espe­cially in an open office space. If, on the other hand, the sensi­ti­vity is too low, you will need to speak very loudly in order for others to hear you. Find the right settings before your first actual confe­rence. The best way to achieve this is by doing a trial run with a colleague.

Features

The advan­tage of good soft­ware is that you have a wide range of features avail­able to faci­li­tate your voice confe­rence. In order to get the most out of your soft­ware, you need to know which features it offers and how you can use them:

1. Mute

Mikogo Mute

It might sound strange consi­de­ring that the purpose of a VoIP confe­rence is talking to each other, but one of the most important features of VoIP is the mute button. Espe­cially when a lot of people attend a meeting, an open voice confe­rence can be diffi­cult to coor­di­nate. As long as one person is presen­ting, for example, there is no need for anyone else to talk. Listening is the foun­da­tion of good commu­ni­ca­tion, so keep the audio channel clear for the presenter. As the presenter, you can use the “mute all” func­tion during the presen­ta­tion and ensure that you won’t be inter­rupted by back­ground noises. Once you wish to open the floor to ques­tions and discus­sion, you can unmute everyone.

2. Emoticons

Emoti­cons are a great way for parti­ci­pants to give you an immediate status update on how they’re getting on with the confe­rence. These little icons enable each parti­ci­pant to let you know whether they like or dislike an idea, have a ques­tion, want to add a comment, or would like you to speak slower or faster. Even though they’re muted, you can still get their feedback.

3. Chat

Mikogo Chat

During any part of a presen­ta­tion, parti­ci­pants may have ques­tions. Whether you want to answer ques­tions immedia­tely or hold a brief Q&A session at the end of each section, ever­yone bene­fits if you keep track of ques­tions during the presen­ta­tion. This is where a chat feature comes in handy. Parti­ci­pants can post ques­tions as they come up, and you’ll have them all in one place for when you want to answer them. The chat feature can be useful in other ways as well, for example for comments and addi­tions during the presentation.

With the right meeting soft­ware, you have a lot of powerful features for voice confe­ren­cing at your disposal. A solu­tion like Mikogo is very easy to get started with, but make sure that you fami­lia­rize yourself with all the diffe­rent options in order to get the best possible results for everyone.

In our next and final post in this series (coming soon!), we will give you some prac­tical tips for conduc­ting a successful online voice conference.

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