Get to Know Skype

VoIP based applications have nestled their way into the business world. VoIP isn’t just a technology that is used by everyday people communicating inexpensively with friends and family from afar. Business leaders and their workers are taking take advantage of VoIP and its terrific features, such as video-calling, in the professional arena.

There are many kinds of VoIP applications, each with their own interface, unique features — and of course, pros and cons. The VoIP app that most people are aware of is Skype, an application that can be installed at no charge. Use of Skype’s basic features is also free. But, Skype offers plans for those who would like to use the premium features. Skype is available for almost every popular device in the market — for Windows and Mac platforms, plus the iPhone 4 and later, the iPad 2, many Android-based phones and tablets. It was announced, at the E3 Expo last May, that Xbox will soon have its own Skype app. Having such integration practically ensures that nearly everyone has a device which can support Skype.

The features found in the Skype’s free version alone are enough to keep anyone entertained. By utilizing a webcam or the built-in camera on your phone or tablet, you are able to make video calls in real time to other Skype users for free. You are also able to use other features, such as Skype-to-Skype phone calls and instant messaging, at no cost.

If you haven’t used Skype before, it may be a good idea to give it try for a few reasons. More and more, businesses today are utilizing various unified communication technologies, such as Skype, for real-time collaboration. Many meetings these days take place without having all of the participants in the same room. Even small businesses are using video-calling and conferencing to communicate with clientele and colleagues alike.

Millions of people — especially in the business world — have already started using Skype. Therefore, it is important that you familiarize yourself with this software. Getting on the bandwagon will allow you to become proficient with Skype, which can actually reflect on you positively as a professional. Many employers will assess you based on how you use Skype. If you’re fumbling around, can’t seem to get your camera or microphone to work
or fail to intercept the call, your actions may make you appear inept. That could
cost you anywhere from a few brownie points to a high-dollar business deal.

When you meet someone for the first time, the impression you make will be the most profound. The same is true for your business-related Skype experiences. Be conscious of the following:

  • Lighting. A shadowy figure on the other end of a video call may give an ominous video. Setting up a small light source (preferably incandescent) behind the camera can usually handle most lighting needs.
  • Posture. Sit up straight. If you’re standing, giving a presentations for example, stand up straight.
  • Camera Angle. Pay attention to yourself on your own screen feed. If you’re using a mobile device, position it and yourself where you will remain visible throughout your call. Make sure the other participants can see your facial expressions and not too much of the background.
  • Audio. Depending on your device, checking your audio will be a different process. Windows 7 and Mac OSX, for example, have built in microphone managing software. Create a short recording and listen to the recording to check the audibility and clarity of communications from your end.

About the author  ⁄ Dan

A veteran of the dotcom boom, Dan has worked with leading tech companies and startups, and is the author of several books and articles. Dan has been contributing to for several years.

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