With videoconferencing more popular than ever, the complex science of audio cannot be underestimated. The inability to communicate can have a number of effects on your organization. From loss of productivity to loss of actual dollars, insuring the A in A/V is up to par is of utmost important.
In Revolabs Academy of Communication, Julian Treasure explains how sound has always been the basis for effective distant communication. “We talk about videoconferencing and most of the budget tends to go on impressive visuals - the “V” outweighs the “A” because we can see it on the wall. But if the sound fails, what are you going to do? Use sign language? Hold up pieces of paper? If the video fails and you have good audio, the meeting can carry on almost unaffected. Sound is critical. Video is nice to have”.
The justification for great audio is actually biological in nature. We have to work so much harder to understand someone when the sound quality is poor or choppy, and that work takes up brain power that needs to be devoted to understanding and absorbing the message, not just discerning the words. This unnatural, unnecessary work causes the listener to become fatigued during calls, and ultimately, less mentally alert during and after the call.
Did you know that sound can affect your physical behavior? Sound actually affects us in four ways.
Physiologically: Sound changes hormones, breathing, heart rate, even brain waves. Sudden sounds, interpreted as threats, will produce stress hormones. In reverse, calming sounds can soothe us.
Psychologically: Any sound with associations can change our feelings. For example, a ringtone associated to a certain person causing excitement or the voice of a difficult client evincing immediate fear. Straining to understand during a conference call can quickly create frustration and anger.
Cognitively: Noisy open offices or multiple people talking at once make it harder to focus. Background noise or unclear sound can make it harder to understand and properly think during a meeting.
Behaviorally: We will move away from unpleasant sound if we can. In conferences we desire to physically leave, but in most cases we mentally check out.
In an age when consumer devices and applications make it easy for people to connect anytime using text, audio and video, the workforce is expecting the same from business solutions. With the right mix of audio solutions and the right environment, conference sound can be as clear and intelligible as two people talking to each other in the same room.
So how can you insure you’re selecting the right equipment? Ideally we recommend working with a knowledgeable vendor who understand A/V and acoustics. No matter what, you should always keep these things in the back of your mind: the room size, number of attendees, shape of the room and who needs to be heard. Do your research and ensure the equipment you use aligns with your needs.
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Learn more about Revolabs Academy of Communication here.