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How to get more out of Skype in 7 easy steps

How to get more out of Skype by Elisabeth van Delden

Have better conversations and more productive meetings on Skype

Working in the wool industry means working on a global scale with colleagues and customers all around the world. Services like Skype have helped us connect, see and talk to each other despite the distance. I personally don’t want to miss Skype and cannot imagine what it would be like not to have this kind of service available anymore. I use Skype every day to talk to my clients and to record interviews for my podcast. However, by using the tool so much I noticed some hidden gems and realised that we are not using Skype to its full potential. In this article, I would like to share with you 7 tips and tricks to get even more value out of Skype.
  1. Share your screen

    Sometimes seeing each other on video is not enough because you also need to go through a document together or you need to present a design or presentation which is either impossible or difficult to do remotely. That is why I got excited when I found the ‘Share screen’ option in Skype. Just by the click of a button, you can let everyone who is part of your video call see your own screen where you can then go through whatever document you need to discuss together.

    How to get there: Start a video conversation. Next to the red disconnect button, you find a button with a plus sign on it. Once you click on the plus sign you get several options including the share screen button. Click on it and voila. If you have two screens connected to your desktop you can select which screen to display.

  2. Send documents and images

    There are many ways of sharing big files nowadays and Skype is one of them. This is especially handy when you want to share a file while you are in a conversation. Instead of sending it through email or putting it in a shared folder which will get everyone distracted from the call, you can just add the document into the chat box. If you share images, they will pop up in the conversations. Documents need to be accepted by the other person you are sending it to.

    How to share files: During a video call, click on the button with the plus sign and then select send file. If you are just having a conversation, then select the button ‘send file’ or ‘send image’ that is displayed in the chat box.

  3. Organise group chats and calls

    There are many sophisticated conference systems, but Skype can also be of help here. You can add up to 10 people to a video conference and up to 25 to an audio conference only. Skype also offers group chats for when you don’t need to have a call but just chat to several of your colleagues about something.

    How to organise a group call or chat: Select the contact details of the first person you want add to your group. Next to the blue video and phone button is a button with a person and a plus sign. Click on that and start selecting the people you wish to add to your group. Once you selected everyone, click on ‘create group’. Once this is done you have the option to either give them a video or audio call or start chatting to them. Side note: the person with the strongest internet connection and processor should host the call as that will ensure a stable sound and video during the meeting.

  4. Add credit to call mobile phones and landlines

    Skype is also great to call people on their landline or mobile number. I often do this so that I can have my hands free to take notes and save costs as my phone provider does not offer me cheap rates to make calls overseas. Skype offers different packages or you can just add a certain credit amount that you can then just use up as you need it.

    To choose a plan or just  add credit you need to log into your skype account online by going to the skype.com website and then click on rates.  Once you have this sorted out, you go back to Skype on your desktop and click on the call button that is shown above your contacts next to the home button. The window that opens up will show you your personal credit and lets you enter a phone number. Be sure to select the country code of the country you wish to call.

  5. Create a caller ID

    If you follow tip number 4 by adding a credit to call mobile phones and landlines, then I recommend that you also implement this tip. Skype lets you create a caller ID, which means that your number will be displayed on the screen of the person you are calling. This looks more professional compared to a scammy-looking ‘caller ID suppressed’. The additional benefit is that the person you were calling can call you back in case you didn’t reach them before.

    How to create a caller ID: Log into your account on the Skype website.  Click on ‘Caller ID’ under ‘Manage Features’. You can choose your mobile phone or landline number as your caller ID. Skype will send you a confirmation code by SMS (also works on landlines), type in the confirmation code to confirm your number and then you are set.

  6. Make a free test call

    Many of my skype calls start with ‘Can you hear me?’ or ‘I can hear you but I cannot see you, can you hear me?’. Most of the time we sort out the difficulties and can then start the meeting, but this kind of start is not necessary. Skype offers you to do a fee test call where you can test if your microphone and speakers are working properly before you start that important call with you client.

    How to do a test call: On your skype menu click on ‘Call’. From the drop down menu click on audio settings. A new window opens up. On the bottom of this window, you will find ‘Make a free test call’. The call is automated, so no worries, there is no actual person who will answer your test call.

  7. Skype etiquette

    Skype offers many great features to support you in having better conversations and being more productive. However, there are also a few things you can do to make your conversation better.

    Use headphones and you will see how much better your audio quality will be
    Using an external microphone will also take your conversation up a notch.
    Mute yourself during a group call, this will make it easier to listen for everyone as it reduced background noise.
    Turn off software programs that you don’t need during the call to ensure skype can use as much of your processor’s capacity for better quality of your call.

Do you have another trick on how to get more out of Skype? I would love to hear about it in the comments section. Also, let me know if you found this article helpful.

 
 
 

About the author, Elisabeth

Elisabeth is the founder and host of the Wool Academy Podcast. She also runs her own consulting business where she supports wool industry businesses with strategic communications and project management.
Elisabeth used to work as the Secretary General for the International Wool Textile Organisation where she developed her passion for wool and the wool industry. Her previous education and work experience equipped her also with a broad set of communications skills.

Elisabeth vision is to see the wool industry thrive which is why she supports wool industry businesses communicate successfully.

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