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Sound in digital meetings

You’re on mute! How to make yourself and others heard in digital meetings

Forget that fancy background image, good audio quality is key to meeting online

Digital gatherings have become as much a part of our day-to-day existence as online shopping deliveries or checking you’ve got a facemask in your pocket before venturing outside. We look at ways to make the sound better during digital meetings.

AKUSTISKA VÄGGAR

The importance of being heard

The rise and rise of Zoom is staggering. Eric Yuan, who founded the online meetings platform in 2011, stated that in March 2020 the company was seeing 200 million daily meeting participants, which by April had hit 300 million. This compares with just 10 million the previous December. While digital meetings mean less commuter time and more international participants, one of the potential pitfalls is getting the sound at an optimum quality for all. By now we’ve all experienced sound-related issues on video calls; whether that’s not being able to hear all the participants or struggling to make yourself heard.

The rise of the hybrid meeting

And while we may, slowly but surely, return to the workplace, hopefully in the not too distant future, getting together at the click of a Teams is surely here to stay. Data from Eventbrite, which had 75 million registered attendees for more than a million virtual events in 2020, reported that more than half of the people it questioned in Australia, the UK and the US said they intended to attend both virtual and in-person events, even when meeting in real life is considered perfectly safe.

OFFICE PHONEBOOTH

Improvements in sound

So what can be done to improve sound in digital meetings, in particular when they are likely to be hybrid i.e. some people meeting real life and others on screen? The first step would be investing in good quality audio visual equipment. The way the room is configured can also make a huge difference. Topping Forbes’ ten steps to effective listening is facing the speaker and maintaining eye contact. If the conference table or positioning of the screen isn’t correct, not everyone can be seen or heard.
Acoustics matter

Overall room acoustics also matter, especially the materials, as anyone who’s ever spent time in a noisy restaurant trying to hear their dining companion, or didn’t enjoy a particular performance in an auditorium, can attest. It may be that more tailored pods, such as Gustafs’ Gpod come in to play here. This design includes all natural materials: wood finishes, leather detailing, with the walls and ceilings made from acoustic panels featuring high-density fibre gypsum, nature’s own way of balancing sound. While one day we might not need quite as much loungewear and the sound of the delivery driver might not be such an event in our lives, digital meetings on the other hand are here to stay.

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