by maria

Study finds high-quality audio key to conducting successful virtual meetings, and Shure offers the solutions needed

Having the right equipment and technology to communicate remotely is more important than ever, now that a large portion of the workforce is working from home.

According to an Illuminas* study commissioned by audio technology company Shure, high-quality audio is not only important, but can impact virtual meetings more than high-quality video. With the majority of virtual meeting related frustrations stemming from sub-par audio, and the majority of meetings being held virtually, making sure you have the right audio equipment could actually play a role in being a successful employee and enhance collaboration with colleagues and clients

How audio influences what you are saying and how you are perceived

It has been proven that audio quality has a direct impact on a presentation, pitch, or meeting. The study “Good Sound, Good Research” by Newman, E. J., & Schwarz, N. (2018) found that those listening to a presentation with poor audio perceived the presentation as less important and the speaker as less knowledgeable. In other words, speakers lost credibility with poorer audio, or gained it with better audio.

This supports another previous study. In fact, psychological research has found that when messages are more difficult to process, they’re found to be less compelling (Schwarz, 2015; Schwarz, Newman, & Leach, 2016). Basically, high-quality audio is important when trying to convey a message.

The Importance of Audio in the Future Workplace

In today’s world, virtual meetings are an important aspect of most businesses. According to the study, 7 out of 10 meetings are already virtual, and that’s likely to continue to rise in an increasingly online world. It makes sense. The study also noted that a hefty 87% of employees found virtual meetings imperative to the success of their organization.

But some aspects of virtual meetings are more important than others. Flawless audio was found to be four times as important to meeting attendees than video. That’s not necessarily surprising – virtual meetings may be augmented by good video, but they can still easily work without any video at all. Almost never can they work without audio, or even low-quality audio.

Good audio can play a larger role than just in meetings. It can also help in things like staff training, customer demos, presentations, webinars, and more.

Audio Frustrations

Despite the importance of virtual meetings in today’s business world, those meetings are still far from seamless – specifically when it comes to audio. A massive 96% of professionals are frustrated with their virtual meetings, and 4 out of 5 business professionals’ frustrations in virtual meetings are related to audio. The top 5 issues with virtual meetings were found to be difficulty connecting, background noise, echo, audio cutting out, and not being able to hear each person.

In other words, solving the issue of inadequate audio will solve most technology-related issues associated with virtual meetings.

Technological frustrations during a meeting can impact other areas of work too. Business users reported a range of impacts of technical issues, including productivity loss, damage to reputation, lost customers, and lost sales.

Solutions from Shure

Shure offers a range of solutions that could dramatically improve the audio during a virtual meeting, presentation, or sales pitch. The newest of those is the new Shure MV5C Home Office Microphone, which leverages Shure’s vast experience in building high-end microphones, and is available from www.shure.com and select retailers for $99/£115. This microphone is built for video conferencing, is easy to set up with a Mac or Windows computer, and is compatible with third-party video-conferencing platforms, like Zoom and Microsoft Teams.

The Shure Aonic 50 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are another great solution. With a built-in microphone, these Bluetooth headphones make it easy to hear and be heard on a virtual meeting. They are an excellent option for those who want high-end audio for virtual meetings  and a premium listening experience with exceptional comfort and durability the rest of the time. The Shure Aonic 50 Wireless Noise Cancelling Headphones are available from www.shure.com for $299/£269.

The Shure SM7B is the perfect solution for those who want a podcast-ready and studio-quality microphone that can be used for recording podcasts, virtual meetings, and more. The SM7B is an appropriate microphone for all kinds of different situations, thanks to its smooth, detailed frequency response. The Shure SM7B is available from www.shure.com for $399.

The Shure MV7 Podcast Microphone is the way to go for those who want studio quality without needing any additional equipment. The MV7 has both a USB and an XLR output, as well as headphone controls and microphone level controls built right into it. The Shure MV7 is available from www.shure.com for $249/£259

About the Newman, E. J., & Schwarz, N. (2018). Good Sound, Good Research: How Audio Quality Influences Perceptions of the Research and Researcher. Science Communication, 40(2), 246–257.

*The Illuminas study on the Current and Future State of Meetings was commissioned by Shure and conducted with 401 participants from enterprise organizations, in the form of 15-20 minute online surveys. The study included both buyers and users of AV solutions. It was conducted between July 29, 2019 and August 23, 2019.

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