How to Adjust For Feedback on a Conference Call

One of the calls we get often is about feedback on conference calls.  It's a big problem, aside from being annoying and loud, because it disrupts the business you're trying to get done.  What a lot of people don't know, is that feedback can usually be solved quickly and easily without having to make a second call for assistance.
Here are five ways to troubleshoot the feedback on your conference line:

  1. If your phone currently is on a speaker or headset (including hands-free cell devices) try removing the device from that mode into a regular hand-set phone mode and see if the feedback goes away.
  2. When on a speaker phone, adjust the volume of the phone to cut back on echoing and feedback, especially when you're in a smaller room. Think about the noise that is made when a microphone gets too close to a speaker at a concert; it's the same thing with a speaker phone. The microphone is right by the speakers on a conference phone (like a PolyCom, for example). In a smaller room, your voice will be more likely to bounce off the walls and back into the microphone when speaking.
  3. If that still doesn't work, try muting your phone line using the mute function on your keypad. Each conferencing provider should include a list of keypad commands to control your conferences, so be sure to figure out which one mutes your line before you start conferencing.
  4. Digital feedback can also occur on a conference call. This noise is best described as a burst of sound on the conference that sounds like nails tapping on glass, and is a sound created when your cell phone is receiving data. This kind of feedback comes from having your cell phone too close to the speakerphone. You can prepare for this kind of feedback by turning your phone completely off while in the meeting or keeping it in your pocket, away from the speaker phone.
  5. Have only one phone in the room dialed into the conference call. The more connections from individuals you have in a room, the more likely there is to be an echo. There's a delay with the travel of information so the risk of echo increases when you have multiple lines in the same room on one conference call.

Feedback is a nuisance on any conference call, but it's easily fixed with some simple steps that can be applied without having to stop everything and call back into your conference.  If none of this works, you can always call your conference provider and let them help you troubleshoot. Feedback is usually something that can be fixed by muting the correct line or adjusting the volume on a speaker phone.  Correcting feedback quickly makes your conferences more efficient and productive, and alleviates the annoyance to your other parties.

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