The world has never been as loud as it is now. All this noise follows us everywhere. It’s in our homes, offices, outside, and even in the background of our conference calls.
Conference call background noise negatively affects our productivity even when we don’t notice it’s happening. After all, noise pollution is a direct source of stress, impacting our physical and mental health.
That’s why we’re going into the details of what causes background noise during conference calls and what you can do to fight it.
How to remove background noise in a conference call?
Besides general advice like holding your call from a quiet environment and removing all potential sources of white noise and noisy devices, there’s two extra steps to go through:
Use a noise cancelling tool like Krisp
Whether we’re talking about loud noises such as construction work next to your house or subtle sounds like a laptop’s fans, you’ll need a tool that can spot all distracting sound levels. Krisp is a noise cancelling app that cancels background noises in video calls on both ends of a conversation. This ensures no misunderstandings will affect your conference call and its outcomes.
Krisp also blocks all acoustic and room echoes so you won’t need a professional setup during your calls. Along with the HD voice feature, this mix makes for perfect audio recordings as well. Just connect the app to any conferencing tool that accepts Krisp as the audio input and you’re set for a noise-free call.
Here’s Krisp in action:
Other tools like Zoom, Skype, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams also have built-in noise suppression features. However, these tools don’t focus primarily on their noise removal technology so the final results can lead to choppy audio. If you want your whole conversation to sound perfect or you need a studio-like recording, you’ll need Krisp instead to ensure your final audio file doesn’t have missing words or sentences.
Moderate the meeting
One way of fighting conference call background noise is to prevent it. That’s why every call needs a moderator in charge of ensuring a quiet environment for all participants. You can start the meeting with a pre-call section where you help attendees get rid of potential noise sources.
This though often requires moderators to go to great lengths and it’s impossible to remove all sounds without being physically present in every participant’s conference room. Instead, you can learn more about when it’s appropriate to mute conference call members for a distraction-free call.
How background noise affects your productivity and call quality
Next, we’re taking a deep dive into the effects of background noise on both our productivity and the quality of a call.
Background noise is something we don’t control although the impact it has on our conference calls is drastic. With millions of things that could be going on in the background, it becomes more difficult to pay attention to the discussion, answer questions, or express opinions. While there are some steps that can help to reduce noise, in most cases it’s impossible to get rid of it.
To prevent surrounding sounds from distracting your focus, you can invest in high-quality noise cancelling headphones. However, the other call participants will still hear your noise.
That’s when you need to turn to the Krisp app and mute all the background noise during real-time conference calls.
Poor audio quality can lead to overlapping voices. This is especially noticeable during conferences with multiple call participants. In this case, miscommunication is inevitable because it’s hard to distinguish between who’s speaking and who asked a question.
In both cases, muting/unmuting yourself or switching off the video to get a better connection can work. Other solutions to avoid high latency you can switch to using an ethernet cable or landline for your conference calls. If you experience further audio quality issues with your conference calls, consider changing your conference call provider.
If you’re participating in a conference call from outside, get a windscreen for your microphone. Wind can be both noisy and largely detrimental to how intelligible you sound. Take shelter or protect your mic to prevent gusts of wind from covering up everything you’re saying.
When you’re exposed to background or ambient noise your brain can’t fully concentrate. According to The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, background noise can increase stress levels.
You can end up with health issues such as high blood pressure, headaches, achiness, and more concerns that can stay with you throughout your whole life. Once your well-being is deteriorating, it becomes more difficult to keep up with conference discussions, stay motivated, and give your best.
To avoid this, turn your working atmosphere into a noise-free one. Get more plants and furniture that will prevent echoing, get insulated window glazing, and replace your conditioner with a noiseless one.
Some people get tired after conference calls and there’s a clear reason behind this. Our brain isn’t good at multitasking. When we have a call with background noise overtaking the discussion, we have a hard time processing different pieces of information that often come from separate directions.
Specific frequency noises can help block out the rest of the background noise. But with conference calls, all our brain gets is infinite single-sourced frequencies all at once.
A study done by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln proves that the perception of noise impacts the performance of people in mental work. Because of the hard work the brain does to process it, we easily get tired and lose energy. The same effect works with music, street noise, or people chatting in the library. Whenever there’s an extra noise, it’s harder to keep in focus.
5. Memory and learning capabilities
Ever worked on a task only to have someone ask you a question or two and find yourself not knowing what you were thinking of to begin with? This is the effect of destruction. And noises just like any other physical or mental disruptor limits our memory’s capacity.
Several studies prove how our cognitive abilities are limited in the presence of noise. People tend to perform worse on memory-based tasks regardless of the noise source. Anything from an airplane flying over your house to your dog whining on the couch can pose a distraction even if just temporarily.
This disrupts our learning process, making it difficult for people to focus during conference calls whose goal is to educate. Our listening efforts are also diminished, leaving a lot of room for misunderstandings and error fixing.
On sounding professional during conference calls
When removing all noise sources from your room you could still be tempted to make distracting sounds yourself. Stay wary of potential sounds you’re creating during the call, such as keyboard typing, desk tapping, finger popping, or playing with random things on your desk.
Using Krisp helps you block these noises and sound professional on your next conference call. This comes in handy if you’re trying to make a good impression, want to score a new partnership or client, or just want to give your best.
Good audio on your end is the first sign that you care about your business or trade and have invested in perfecting every aspect of it. If you’re just holding a meeting, you’ll create the ideal setting for all team members to understand one another and stay focused. Not to mention that optimizing the audio of your call through better bandwidth and recording equipment will also improve the video quality — a perfect recipe for a polished call.
Don’t forget to align your energy and tone with each conference call too. Be patient and prepare backup plans for potential tech malfunctions. For perfect audio during conference calls with the best equipment, refer to our guide to improving audio quality during calls.