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  5. [Solved] Background noise on conference call

There’s nothing worse than being on a conference call and no one knows what anyone is saying. To compound the issue further still, debugging a sound quality problem can be near to impossible. Here’s a few examples of what can go wrong and possible solutions:

Problem: Hold music being blasted out half way through a call

Sometimes, before a call starts, the conference call provider can fill dead air time before everyone is on the call with hold music. Take note of what this sounds like, because if you hear on-hold music half-way through a conversation later on, you’ll want to know if it’s the same music or not. If it’s not the same music, which we expect 9 out of 10 times for it not to be, then what we’d expect is that someone on your call has used a ‘hold’ button on their own phone.

How annoying? Someone away from the conference call is probably wanting to talk to them, so not to cause any hassle on the call, people think pressing the ‘hold’ key feature on their phone is doing everyone a favour. This of course, is not the cause and be-known to them, is causing everyone on the call a real headache.

Solution: Kick the annoyance from the call!

Can be easier said than done. But, hopefully you are with a conference call provider that provides you with a live-call dashboard so you can visualise where the annoyance is coming from. If your conference call provider doesn’t provide such a service (usually free), find a new one via this Google Search.

Problem: Background noise distractions

Dogs barking, babies crying or just the sound of passing traffic? These passive noises to everyday conversations can quite easily become tiresome and focused when on a conference call.

Solution: HD Audio

There’s no other way around it. You need a conference call provider that include high definition audio quality that typically also include background suppression technology. Is background noise is an issue with your current provider, search Google for “HD Audio Conference Call Provider“.

Problem: Awkward delays

We’ve all been there. Walking towards someone and as you go to one side to walk-around, they decide to move the same way. You then end up in this awkward side step style dance until you or the other person finally gives up… or shoulder barges by. The conference call audio version of this is when you pause in talking and then someone else goes to talk and then it ends up in this awkward talking over each other and long silences, which, then again, break in to simultaneous talking. Arghhhh!

Solution: It’s not you. It’s your provider

Well, it is usually your conference call providers fault, but there are numerous things at play here. Typically, awkward delays happen for one or more of the following reasons:

  • You are using a Web RTC style conf. call provider (Skype, Lync, Slack, Google Hangouts, etc)
  • The distance between those on the conference call is significant, for example, someone in USA, UK & Australia
  • Your conference call provider is rubbish, i.e., their infrastructure is either  old and or poor quality

If you cannot resolve the issue simply by allowing longer pauses in between calls, you will probably need to look for, or at least try a new provider. Secondly, and a less brutal way forward, would be to break down the number of people on the call to have it more localised – to at least the same continent, or, crossing over just one continent and not numerous.

Start looking for a new conference call provider, now!

Written by Benjamin Willis