Just 10 simple steps to insure that your Skype calls (and other VOIP calls) are as high quality as possible.
- Shut down resource hogging program and services
- If your computer is busy doing something else, it is not giving you all the power you need for your Skype call. Shut down your Instant Messenger, Twitter program, Email program, etc.
- Stop all downloads and uploads
- Don’t try to buffer that video from YouTube or upload your latest video to Blip.tv. Skype needs that network bandwidth for your call
- Make sure no one else is hogging your network. Shut down computers to make sure.
- Use headphones
- While Skype is better than ever at quashing echo from either end of the conversation, headphones stop it cold. Take a cue from live TV news. Put in one earbud and drape if off the back your ear and down you back, if you don’t want it to be seen.
- Don’t send video if you only need audio
- Save the network bandwidth and only send video if you really need it. It will insure that your audio stays as solid as possible, even if you network connection gets a little slow.
- Get close to your microphone
- In most cases, you laptop microphone is fine, but the better your microphone, and the closer you are to the microphone, the better the audio quality. Use a nice condenser mic on a stand or lavaliere mic clipped to your shirt.
- Find a quiet place.
- Background noise is more disruptive on a Skype call than a telephone. Make it easy on yourself and find a quiet place to talk.
- For video, choose a pleasing, uncomplicated background
- Complicated backgrounds (and clothing patterns) mean more work for video compression programs and more network bandwidth. Keep it simple and make it easy on your computer
- Test your computer and network before you need it
- Before any important call, do a test using the computer and network you will be using for the actual call, if possible. As is often said, “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” It is so much better to identify problems before you are under the pressure of the actual situation.
- Stay with the most current version (not beta) of the program
- I have had issues in the past with 2 different versions of Skype working well together. Sometimes it can’t be avoided, but if you have having connection or quality issues, check that you are using similar versions.
- Try not to talk over/interrupt one another
- This can be difficult, as you can’t see each other on an audio call, but establish some sort of protocol with your caller so that you don’t end up talking over each other, or asking each other to repeat something that was missed.
More resources on using Skype:
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