Conferencing advice

I’ve been involved with A/V conferencing for the majority of my career. As a user, systems integrator, and developer. With COVID-19 I’ve often been asked for input. This is my subjective take on the most important aspects.


Don’t embarrass yourself in front of 15 colleagues and waste their time. Especially as a host. Practice extensively beforehand. Don’t make any assumptions about network, sound quality, desktop sharing, interactive collaboration and test what you intend to do in advance. Start your client a couple of minutes early to check that everything is working.


  • Cable over wireless, Battery will fail. Bluetooth will fail. You’re dongle will go missing.
  • USB over analogue. Avoid bad audio jacks and missing ground. USB variants have a convenient mute button, instead of finding the app and using your mouse.
  • Headset with boom mic. Avoid using your webcam, laptop, or earpiece microphone. See sports commentators. Get it near to your mouth, but not directly under your nose.
  • Use a dedicated webcam. Using additional screens, your laptop will always be placed awkwardly. And dedicated webcams still provide a better picture quality.
  • Light source from the front. Try and have your face flooded with natural light from the front. All cameras work better with more light. Avoid bright lights and windows in the background.

Experimenting is fine, but these brands will deliver. Preference based on compatibility, affordability, build quality:

Headsets: 1. Logitech, 2. Plantronics (now Poly), 3. Jabra

Webcams: 1. Logitech, 2. Microsoft


If you don’t want to go the simple route of investing in a $40 USB headset, there is plenty of advice out there. It can become a time sink as well as a source of frustration and joy.