From previous connections we have found that it is best for Web conference users to use the following advice;
* WEB CAMERA – LOOK GOOD
Use a separate web camera; the one built into laptops is usual at a set position relative to the screen and when the screen is adjusted unflattering imagery generally results. An independent camera allows you to set the view and angle that you wish to transmit – you would be surprised how many laptop callers send a magnified view looking up their nostrils. (A good Logitech HD USB Webcam will cost between AU$60 and AU$150 depending on your requirements).
* AUDIO – REMOVE ECHO
Separate your incoming and outgoing audio streams – you will be talking to a room and we need to reduce echo. The easiest method for this is to use a noise cancelling microphone (we tend to use the Logitech USB models when using desktop based conferencing. The Logitech desktop microphone is available in the AU$25-$42 price range depending on the vendor. These microphones are plug and play removing complicated setup procedures).
You can use a headset to managing the incoming & outgoing audio streams, many people prefer not to use a headset as it restricts their movement, and messes up hairstyles. A USB headset is recommended as these types have less interference from humming power supplies than the old 3.5mm jack versions. (A Logitech USB headset will set you back somewhere from AU$60 to AU$200; see if you can test the headset for comfort before purchasing)
* MAKE A TEST CALL
Always make a test call to make sure that everything is working. For example if you are calling via Skype, use the Skype audio test service before the call to ensure that your audio is clear and clean. The audio carries 80% of your message; bad video can be worked with, bad audio is a show stopper.
Make sure that you software is up to date (old versions tend to cause problems unless specifically requested).
* YOUR ENVIRONMENT
The environment from which you place you call can make a difference – do you want to look professional, casual or unprepared?
* use a blank wall or neutral background for your Web conference session. A complicated background detracts from your presentation.
* check your lighting conditions, do not use strong back lighting (eg. sitting in front of a window so the window is you background), do not use strong direct lighting (eg. facing into the sun). Softer reflected light coming from the front and side gives the best results.
* soft furnishings reduce sharp echos. Sitting near curtains will give you a ‘warmer’ voice than sitting near a glass or metal wall.