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Updated Apr 10, 2024

Common Conference Call Issues and Their Solutions

Looking to resolve your conference call issues? Here are pointers to help you solve the six most common video and conference call problems.

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Joshua Stowers, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Strategy
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Table of Contents

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“Can you hear me? Is there an echo? Can you see me?” 

The video and conference call issues that prompt these questions are not just frustrating, but they can cost you time and drain the productivity from your meetings. Here are six of the biggest issues and the solutions you can use to avoid or fix them so you can have the most productive and effective conference calls. 

Conference call issues and solutions

1. Video lagging and audio cutting out

Video lag, glitchy audio and poor image resolution are all the result of a bad Wi-Fi connection. If you don’t have a strong internet connection, you might be forced to exit the conference call entirely. [Read related article: The Best Internet Service Providers]

Solution: When you have a video or conference call scheduled, it’s best not to use a public network. That’s because multiple devices are likely to be operating on the same Wi-Fi connection and reducing the available bandwidth. Secure remote access is also a consideration here.

If possible, you should connect via your private home or business Wi-Fi network. If your connection is still spotty, position your workstation closer to your router for a better connection. As you move farther away from the router, you’ll notice the signal between it and your computer worsens. If this is the case, consider setting up a hotspot for your business.

2. Echoes

A conference call echo is typically caused when multiple participants have speaker mode on. As a result, it sounds like the speaker is saying everything twice. 

Solution: To avoid an echo, instruct all participants to mute their microphones when they aren’t talking. If you are expected to be the only one speaking, such as during a presentation, you have the option to mute all other participants. Also, when possible, each participant should use a high-quality headset and microphone for HD voice and audio output. 

3. Background noise

When you work remotely from home or in a public space, there’s bound to be noise around you. From a neighbor firing up their lawn mower to a barista grinding coffee beans, these noises can distract everyone on the call from what you’re saying. 

Solution: You and all your attendees should try to keep background noise to a minimum by finding a quiet room, turning off your mobile devices and, if necessary when working from home, asking family and neighbors to keep the noise down during your meeting.

FYIDid you know
Many headset and microphone combination headsets on the market now use AI to dampen background noise and make speaker voices clearer.

4. Everyone speaking at once

When several participants want to respond to a question or are engaging in a lively conversation, it gets difficult to hear what everyone has to say. While this may be a sign of a fully engaged team or staff camaraderie, it makes for a chaotic business meeting. 

Solution: Choose a moderator and, if available, use the software’s tools to limit who can speak and when. In Zoom, for example, you can set up the call so that all participants are muted by default and only the moderator can unmute them. Participants can click the Raise Hand button if they would like to speak. This helps keep online meetings orderly and make sure each voice is heard. 

5. Participants unable to connect to the call

It’s very common for conference call attendees to have trouble connecting. This can be the result of a poor internet connection, the wrong dial-in number or access code, or a software issue, such as a required update. 

Solution: When sending meeting invitations, moderators should include a link to a troubleshooting guide that participants can use to fix problems on their own before alerting others. Also, participants should dial in a few minutes early to ensure they have a solid connection and there aren’t any issues before the meeting starts.

6. Absent team members

While most video conferences and phone calls are scheduled ahead of time, a team member may have an urgent matter pop up at the last minute that prevents them from attending. As a result, they miss the discussion or information shared in the meeting. 

Solution: Most conferencing software applications allow the meeting organizer to record the meeting and then send the audio or video file to anyone who missed the call, keeping all team members up to date with discussions. [Read related article: 7 Powerful Tips for Highly Productive Online Meetings

Bottom LineBottom line
Other than just for conference calls, downloading patches for your software and hardware is an important feature in many cybersecurity programs.

What if conference calling problems persist?

If your business relies on virtual meetings to communicate with team members or clients, it’s critical to quickly pinpoint the potential issues to get the most out of conference calls. You should discuss these issues with your IT staff to troubleshoot and resolve your problems more quickly. One option is to optimize your VoIP network, most of which can now carry video as well as audio traffic.

If your business does not have IT staff, you should contact your conferencing service’s customer support to resolve the issue. If your current software continues to cause problems, consider finding another conferencing service provider. 

“The first step is to try and identify a specific problem,” said Adam Sanders, founder of The Relaunch Pad. “If you’re unable to do so and multiple people are having the same issue, there is likely a software problem that requires technical support.”

What is the best business phone system for conference calls?

Conference call systems now offer companies the option of admitting hundreds of people to an online meeting without having to reserve space first.

Some are now beginning to use AI-driven speech recognition software to transcribe conference calls and summarize them. You can also use them for webcasting to hold sales and marketing seminars, as well as streaming live events to social media followers.

In our review of RingCentral, you can see how, in order to take on unified communications providers and productivity app providers, this company has built in task management functionality to its platform.

Mark Fairlie contributed to this article. Source interviews were conducted for a previous version of this article.

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Joshua Stowers, Senior Writer & Expert on Business Strategy
Joshua Stowers is an entrepreneur who knows firsthand the ups and downs of running a small business. As the owner of a creative services company, he helps businesses with their PR and marketing strategies, with an emphasis on creativity. He advises on ad campaigns, web design, external communication and more, with clients including Dow Jones, WeWork and more. Stowers has also taken what he's learned in business and finance over the last decade and uses his experiences to provide fellow entrepreneurs with actionable guidance. He's developed practical how-tos and resources on everything from employee retention to the must-have tools for everyday business operations.
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