Many people assume that they can directly speak to their laptop when they are in a Zoom meeting and it may be good enough for a personal gathering among friends. However, choosing the right microphone makes a huge difference during professional meetings, especially when simultaneous interpreters are used.
Wireless or Wired?
They look cool but airpods and similar Bluetooth earphones have poor speaking performance. High-end Sony, Plantronics, Sennheiser and Logitech wireless headsets offer good performance. They can both filter noise coming to your ears, which means when you are in a noisy cafe or open-office, you will be less distracted. And they also have noise-cancelling microphones which will give you a crystal clear sound when speaking in an online meeting. Your colleagues and clients will be pleased.
Wired headsets are safer and more consistent. Choose a noise cancelling microphone, because that is the new way of showing your respect to others. Nobody wants to hear noise. Also invest in acoustic shock preventing tech, can be an external gadget or a built-in feature of your headset (sound limiting). Logitech, Plantronics and Sennheiser have very good models at more affordable figures.
Find a quite corner or create your home office. Avoid empty rooms or large interiors because the walls may cause echo. Zoom and Webex both have noise-cancelling AI, try their audio settings and you will be pleased with the outcome. Investing in a high-end noise-cancelling microphone is a life saver.
Some microphones are omnidirectional, meaning they capture sound from all directions. You don’t want your microphone to do that. Use a unidirectional microphone instead and it will only transmit your speech and nothing else.
Joining as a group in the same room
Hire a pro AV team and tell them to install table microphones in front of each speaker (sometimes one microphone may be enough for two people). Professional sound technicians will plug in those table microphones to a sound mixer and connect it to the Zoom / Webex computer / room device.
Conference interpreters need crystal clear audio
Simultaneous interpreting is a mind-drilling experience. Interpreters need to focus hundred percent on the speaker, because they do not want to miss any part of the message, even the tiniest nuances. If they cannot hear properly they cannot translate accurately. If they are exposed to poor audio, they will be exhausted faster.
Online meetings cause fatigue, we’ve all learned it the hard way. Taking care of how you sound will reflect very positively and others will feel less tired. Listening through pro headsets will also comfort your own ears.
So let us all be more respectful and invest in the right microphone / headset.
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