written by
Quint Turner

How to Avoid "I Can't Hear You" during Video Meetings

Best Practices 3 min read
how to avoid I can't hear you

The most dreaded phrase in any conversation is "I can't hear you", followed closely by "I'm not racist, but". Whenever anyone says the magic words, all momentum the interaction had is lost. Having this problem at a noisy restaurant is one issue since the casual setting excuses most social faux pas, but if you're trying to have a professional videochat and the other person cannot hear you, you're not going to make a good impression. Here are five tips to make sure you avoid hearing (or reading in the chat room) the conversation stopper.

1. Find A Quiet Area to Make the Call

I know I mentioned a noisy restaurant earlier as a great casual setting, but they usually have terrible acoustics for professional videochatting. Instead, a private room with decently soundproofed walls is a much better option. If you do not have easy internet access in your home or office, most cafes provide public Wi-Fi and are usually quiet. Or if you do have a favorite spot that doesn't have Wi-Fi access, you can use your mobile phone's data to make a call. Do make sure to not disturb other customers while there if you can help it, unless you think they'd be really interested in hearing your prepared answers to some of the great phone interview questions.

can't hear this woman at a crowded restaurant
"Had to wait until closing, but I finally am the only one here! Can you hear me?"

2. Test your connection

This step is super basic, but the most important of all. Without good internet connection, you can't use most videochat services like Vectera or Skype which means your listeners can't hear you no matter how much you yell. There are plenty of apps you can use to check the speed of your connection (my recommendation being Speedtest). Most videochat services can work at low quality no matter the connection, but you'll get better video and sound quality if your internet speed is faster. An internet speed that goes up to 15 megabits per second (Mbps) should be good enough for any videochat platform.

can't hear this guy with a 0 kph internet connection
You'll want an internet speed faster than this, at least.

3. Use a microphone (and test it)

Even if you are in a private room with no one else within 50 miles of you, using a microphone makes it so much easier for the other person to hear your voice. Most computers have a built-in microphone, but they capture a lot of background noise, so I do not recommend.

The most dreaded phrase in any conversation is "I can't hear you"

A cheap microphone that is attached to your headphones is better than no microphone-usually. And just like with your internet connection, you really want to test your microphone at vectera.com/test. First of all, you need to make sure it even works in the first place, and, second, you'll probably want to check the default sound levels on it so that you don't have to yell into it or the other person won't think you're yelling into it. Third, if they still can't hear you, go ahead and yell. Unless you're in a crowded environment. Then softly yell.

4. Speak louder than usual if they can't hear

After adjusting your microphone levels to make sure you don't have to yell, you'll still want to talk louder and clearer than usual when videochatting. Even with the most reliable internet connection, there will be some times when your feed skips, and speaking slowly, clearly, and loudly can smooth over those gaps for your listener. To help you relax and slow down, just imagine that your listener is in their underwear--since it's videochat, they probably are.

can't hear this guy singing through a lampshade
Lampshades for mics also may help the sound quality.

5. Use Vectera

All else being equal, choosing a high-quality video room can prevent the most miscommunication possible. And there is no equal to Vectera. Its ease of use makes it incredibly easy to connect and videochat with anyone the world over. Plus, its reliability makes sure you can hear who you're chatting with, and they can hear you. Find out more at www.vectera.com.

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We hope you don't have to hear or say "I can't hear you" again after reading this blog post!

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