13. September 2021

5 Tips to Improve Speech Quality in Home Office Online Meetings

5 Tips to Improve Speech Quality in Home Office Online Meetings

Following these simple suggestions, you may be able to dramatically improve the quality of your speech during online Home Office meetings. Important is that you pay attention to how you speak, the quality and position of your microphone, the acoustics in your room, and any external noise.

Speak Slowly

Try to speak just slightly slower than the average speaker (about 150 words per minute). Time yourself reading the following text:
“Speaking at a reasonable speed is important for the listener to understand what is being said. This text, for example, should be spoken within ten to fifteen seconds.”


Test Sound Quality

Simply call a friend and ask if you can be easily heard. A friend is more likely than a customer or business partner to be constructively critical. This test can quickly confirm if the quality of your speech is reasonable (and you get to chat with your friend).

You can also hear and judge the quality of your speech for yourself by recording it using, for example, the Skype Echo / Sound Test Service.


Position of the Microphone

Instead of using the built-in microphone on your PC, it is normally ideal to use a headset with an attached microphone. This reduces the distance from your mouth to the microphone, and can vastly improve your speech quality. Most reasonably-priced headsets provide good quality.

If you sometimes walk away from your PC during conversations, you may want a wireless headset. If you need some help selecting a headset, perhaps pay attention to the quality of the speech from people you speak with online, and ask them which product they use.

The microphone on the headset should be placed close to your lips, but not touching your face, where face movement may create interfering scratching noises.


Acoustic Absorption

A room with lots of glass and tiled surfaces may produce many sound reflections. Adding absorption material, such as curtains or padded furniture, to the room may improve the sound quality. You could also think about hanging a blanket or something similar behind you, which may also serve as an aesthetically-pleasing visual backdrop in your video.


External Noise

You should be aware of noise sources that may interfere with your speech quality, and try to minimize these.

Consider the noise produced by your laptop or PC fan, and position this fan as far away as possible from the microphone.

Kids and household noises are a natural part of working from home. You should isolate yourself where possible from these noise sources. Alternatively, you could agree a quiet space or quite times with your family, or notify them when you are in conference calls by hanging a sign outside your door.

Finally, windows and external doors should be sufficiently sealed to reduce the background noise of street traffic and other external noises.

Categories: Quality Control, Noise Measurement