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Polycom Employee

Yesterday I read “Surviving a Conference Call,” an article in the Wall Street Journal that provided suggestions on how to fix some of your conferencing challenges.

 

Yes, we can all agree that some negative aspects of conference calls are due to basic human nature (people not paying attention, interrupting, etc.) and many of these I chalk up to people just not knowing proper etiquette for a meeting. Why should conference call etiquette be any different from an in person meeting? I don’t generally eat potato chips when meeting in person or over the phone. *Sigh* - there are some things that technology is just never going to fix. Those problems remind me of the comedian Ron White’s catchphrase: “You can’t fix stupid.”

 

So what can be done to help alleviate, if not eliminate, some of these issues?  Since Polycom practically invented the conference phone more than 20 years ago, I wanted to share three important points based on what we’ve learned along the way.

           

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  • Echo in your ear? If you use a poor-quality desk phone with an inadequate speaker or take a call in a room with bad acoustics, you’ll likely get an annoying echo to your call. Like this guy.  This is a key reason why we’ve built-in echo cancellation so you can expect high-quality audio no matter where you are. 
  • Awkw--ard—Breaks--in-Y-ou-r-Con---versation?  Other issues poor-quality devices can lead to include interrupted audio breaks in conversation or people not being heard clearly anywhere in the conference room. This makes communication almost impossible, as humorously demonstrated in this video.  Once again, Polycom’s unique design incorporating three directional microphones with one large speaker in the middle ensures everyone in the room can hear and be heard no matter where they are located or what they are saying.
  • Did you say, ‘We have a meeting on Sunday’? No, I said, ‘Have a fun day!’ For standard-definition (narrowband) audio calls, there are many times where certain words sound similar to one another, especially when coming from individuals from far reaches of the globe with different accents. (Check out this other humorous video.) Some sound nuances, such as the difference between ‘f’ and ‘s’ or ‘c’ and ‘d,’ are virtually undetectable to the human ear if you have limitations with your audio stream. However, if you have HD Voice (wideband) technology for your conference calls, then you’ll get more than twice the clarity of ordinary phone calls.

 

Want more tips and hints on how to the most out of any meeting?

>>Check out our latest Collaboration eGuide that provides simple tips on how to make international meetings more productive.

>>See this blog post on Wired.com, posted by our co-founder Jeffrey Rodman, about how to get great audio in a video call.

 

The bottom line is, while we’re never going to be able to change human nature (or eliminate the gene that causes us to eat potato chips on the phone), we can help make voice and video more natural and productive.  If you use the right technology, we can make some of your conference call headaches go away.

 

What do you think? What are you conference call headaches? Leave a comment below.