How to improve your video conferencing experience
May 24, 2021

The way the world is working is changing. Quickly.

Video conferencing apps like Zoom and Microsoft Teams have revolutionised the way people communicate and interact. In fact, researchers from Harvard Business School revealed that employees are now attending more virtual meetings than in-person.

This revelation is hardly surprising when 94% of businesses claim that video conferencing has increased productivity.

The death of regular face-to-face meetings gives you a perfect excuse to cut straight to the point. There’s no longer a need for last-minute trolley dashes around the local convenience store to pick up biscuits for clients or spending the first 15 minutes making idol chat about the weather.

Video conferencing is strictly business. 

However, there is a downside. It only takes one tech issue or a curious cat to prolong the process and create the wrong impression. 

But fear not, Podia has you covered. In this blog, you’ll find a list of valuable tips on how to improve your video conferencing quality and the overall experience. 

                Podia's video conferencing tips

                #1 Check your environment

                A perfect place to start is your environment. If you’re at home, we’d recommend:

                • Working from a small room with few reflective surfaces and lots of soft furnishings – such as carpets, rugs and curtains to help with the acoustics in the room (we don’t want a horrible echo or to sound like you’re in a fishbowl).

                • Moving away from many possible sources of sound, including washing machine, air conditioning, pets and family members.

                • Encouraging your team, if applicable, to leave notes on their doors, so delivery drivers know not to interrupt.

                #2 Take your audio to the next level

                There are several simple rules to follow just like this, such as moving closer to your microphone, turning off pop-ups and hanging up sound diffusers. But they’ll only go so far. 

                To ensure everyone in the meeting can hear you loud and clear, you can use external microphones to make team meetings more productive. 

                If you’re planning to invest in an external microphone, make sure they’re easy to set up and plug straight into their computers without the need to employ an audio interface or mixer... The worst thing you want to do is spend the first five minutes of every meeting trying to operate your new fancy gizmo.

                However, the safest and most productive choice is to use a headset with a microphone built in.

                Now your standard headphones with AUX connectivity may be good enough to listen to music on the train, or keep you motivated at the gym, but they're microphone isn't up to scratch when it comes to work as it picks up everything around you.

                A professional-grade headset on the other hand, has been created for optimum performance with multiple microphones built in and Active Noise Canceling technology (ANC).  This will reduce irritating echo and any unintentional Darth Vader impressions.   

                Our top recommendation is Poly’s Voyager 5200 wireless Bluetooth earpiece or Poly's Savi 8245 single ear DECT headset. These fantastic pieces of UC equipment are a real winner for maintaining your wellbeing, as not only do you get a great business-class audio experience, but you won’t feel tied down to your desk all day. 

                You’ll be free to roam and talk. (How liberating.)

                #3 Think about your backdrop

                When it comes to getting the visuals right for your video conferencing, the next step beyond removing clutter from your background is to think more carefully about lighting. 

                Natural light is scientifically proven to improve your mood, performance and alertness in a working environment. However, jumping on a conferencing call with a window behind you can create a dreadful silhouette effect which won't do any favours to your video conferencing experience.

                It’s also important to remove personal photos and other distracting objects in the background. Keep it clean and always use a light background for optimum productivity.

                Adjusting your camera setup can help you avoid distracting objects too. So, before you enter the video call, place your camera at eye level. 

                Finally, where possible you should try to leave around three to four feet of space between your back and the wall behind you to minimise silhouettes.  

                #4 Take advantage of handy features on video conferencing apps

                Despite Zoom and Microsoft Teams being a normal part of everyday life, it’s surprising how many people aren’t aware of the full repertoire of features on these leading video conferencing apps. 

                • On Zoom, you’ll find a ‘Touch up your appearance’ feature under video settings. This handy slider tool will brighten your image on all those wet, dreary UK days and can even minimise dark circles under your eyes. (Talk about a makeover.) 

                • Before you jump on a call, make sure you’ve enabled HD under the camera settings on your video conferencing app. 

                • For all those loud meetings, start encouraging participants to use the Raise Hand feature on Zoom. You’ll find it by clicking on Participants under meeting controls. Or if you love a keyboard shortcut, simply press “Alt + Y” on Windows or “Option + Y” on Mac. 

                #5 Use innovative video conferencing equipment

                If you’re serious about elevating your workspace to the next level, you need to upgrade your video conferencing equipment.

                While it may feel like a large investment at first, mastering your visuals can have a positive impact on your wellbeing, productivity and employee engagement. 

                Fortunately, many professional webcams – like the Poly Studio P5 – now enable you to capture the optimum lighting, hear all the right sounds and deliver powerful poly optic visuals to put the focus clearly on you.

                Not only is this webcam compatible with all the major web conferencing platforms – such as Zoom and Microsoft Teams – but it seamlessly links to the Poly desktop app. 

                Within this app, you can create the perfect visuals for your online conversations by adjusting:

                - Brightness
                - Contrast & saturation
                - Sharpness 
                - Blacklight saturation
                - Zoom in/out

                Yet, the benefits don’t end there. The Poly Studio P5 camera can fully rotate on its stand, providing a 360-degree swivel capability. This means that you can put an end to the bad angles provided by laptop cameras.

                Yes, you read that right. It’s time to wave goodbye to those angles that cut off key facial expressions, body language and other visual cues. 

                With video conferencing solutions like the Poly Studio P5, blurry image transmissions and bad audio become a problem of the past. 

                Keep improving your video conferencing experience

                Hopefully, these video conferencing tips have inspired you to make some adjustments to your home office or huddle space. 

                The key is to do what works for you. Zoom fatigue and poor AV quality are modern-day issues impacting mental wellbeing in the workplace and a company’s ability to grow. 

                To find out more about how you can transform your current surroundings into a next-level workplace, check out our online store today.

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