Wanting to eat our own dog food and wash it down with a big tumbler of kool-aid, my team recently held a meeting of nationally dispersed attendees and used the GoToMeeting VoIP features. I’m not kidding when I say I haven’t heard that much reverb, distortion and echo since the last time I listened to “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn.” As our first attempt, we spent quite a bit of time complaining to each other about the sound quality and asking each other to place our devices on mute. By the way, did you know that the default setting in the GoToMeeting preferences is to always save chat logs? The following is an extract of the recorded GoToMeeting chat that occurred. Names have been changed to protect the innocent.

B (to All - Entire Audience): the voice quality is terrible
K (to All - Entire Audience): you have a lot of reverb and I can’t understand what you’re saying
R (to All - Entire Audience): can someone mute their mic
R (to All - Entire Audience): massive echo
V (to All - Entire Audience): Click on the green mic icon and you can mute it
B (to All - Entire Audience): cant understand a word this other speaker is saying

I don’t have specific stats yet as to how many people were on “regular” phones vs. using computer mics, but judging on the icons in the attendee list it was a nice enough mix of what one would probably reasonably encounter in this scenario at other companies.

Now, I’m used to using our stuff before it’s released and dealing with the intricacies of things that don’t quite work yet, but in this case it’s not the application - it’s the settings. In this case it’s just a matter of understanding that one-size does not always fit all. Turns out if we had done a little pre-meeting training and all made some quick and easy settings adjustments to our individual GoToMeeting installations, we could have had a much more satisfactory experience.

When in doubt, read the friendly manual

If you’ve experienced similar issues or haven’t tried this feature yet, there’s a good article in the GoToMeeting online help to mitigate this -

GoToMeeting VoIP Audio Best Practices

First, what device are you planning to use? Check out the chart in the link above for recommendations. A USB headset connected to your computer will offer the best quality experience, while using your laptop’s built-in microphone and speakers will give you a poor experience, especially if your mic is picking up what’s coming out of your speakers – echo city.

And here’s an additional excerpt that may help:
VoIP Audio Setup - PC

  1. Right-click the GTM icon in the PC system tray and select Preferences.
  2. Select Audio.
    Microphone Setup - It is recommended that you test your microphone. To test, select your microphone device from the drop-down menu and speak into your microphone; if it is connected correctly, the sound meter will light up green. If the green meter does not light up, select another device listed in the drop-down menu and repeat this test.
    Speakers Setup - It is recommended that you test your speakers. To test, select your speaker device from the drop-down menu and click Play Sound; if connected correctly, you will see the sound meter light up green and hear a soundtrack through your speaker device. If you do not hear sound after clicking Play Sound, select another device listed in the drop-down menu and repeat this test.
    Advanced - GoToMeeting automatically adjusts audio levels. We recommend you keep this checked. If you uncheck this selection, you must manually configure your audio settings through Windows Sounds and Audio Devices. If your attendees can’t understand you because your voice is distorted, try unchecking “Microphone boost.”
  3. Click OK.

I strongly recommend that you read the rest of this article, consider using a USB headset and adjust your microphone and speakers settings before joining your next GoToMeeting VoIP call for a much better experience.

If all else fails, the meeting organizer can mute/unmute all participants by selecting *5

Have a happy meeting!