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In Adobe Connect Essential Training, author Tim Plumer, Jr. explains how to deliver and host interactive web meetings, webinars, and e-learning tutorials using Adobe Connect. The course covers the software's many tools for streamlining communication and engaging participants, such as the screen sharing, full-screen, and whiteboard features. Also included are tutorials on recording presentations, video conferencing, and using Connect with an iPhone or Android-based smartphone. Exercise files accompany the course.
Any meeting that you hold will likely require audio. And although you can use the telephone for the audio and then just use Connect for the visuals, Connect has an option built-in called Voice over IP that you may want to use. It's really handy especially in situations where you have meeting participants who can't tie up their phone or they just don't want to use the phone for whatever reason. To use Voice over IP is very, very easy. All you need to do is give yourself access to the microphone, turn it on. But if you want to encourage others to be able to talk, then you'll want to activate the microphone for them, and that's what we're going to cover here in this lesson.
So first off, I'll activate it for myself and show you how that works because it's incredibly easy. Up here in the menu, you'll see a little picture of a white microphone. The fact that it's white means that it's there and available, but it's not turned on. To turn it on, I'll simply click it. And once I've clicked the microphone, I can tell that I'm speaking because there are little waves emanating from the microphone, sort of an indication of sound going into the microphone I suppose. If I want to turn my microphone off because I'm done speaking, I can just go ahead and mute it. I could also do the same thing from the pull-down menu here with the additional capability of being able to adjust the microphone's volume.
This is really handy because microphones come in a wide variety of shapes and sizes, some are cheap, some are expensive, and all of them seem to have a little bit of a different response to the sound of your voice. So by selecting Adjust Microphone Volume, you'll be able to attenuate that so that you're not either too quiet or destroying the eardrums of your poor participants. When you're using the microphone to speak, it's handy to be able to present to others this way, but if you want to invite others into the process, then you may need to take a couple of steps to make that happen.
First off, if the people in your room are simply participants in the room, they may not have access to the microphone right-away. If you look down here at Olivia Nepolitano, you can see that she's got a little picture of a microphone right next to her name. That indicates that she has rights to the microphone and I can grant those very easily to any participant by hovering over their name. And then in this case, I'll select Disable Audio because you can see that she had microphone rights. Or I can hover over it if she doesn't have them and then Enable Audio. It's that simple.
However, if you have a meeting filled with participants and it's really going to be a collaborative session, it can be quite cumbersome to have to go over everybody's name, enable their microphone separately, because A) you might forget somebody, someone might come in late, and frankly it's just an added step that you shouldn't have to worry about. And you don't. If I go up here to the Audio menu, you can see that I have the ability to add Microphone Rights for Participants. So I'll hover over that and click it. Nothing will look like it changed here, but anyone who now enters the room as a guest, as a host, or as a presenter, will have access to the microphone and they can go ahead and use it.
So now we basically have an open situation where anyone in the room can talk to anyone else in the room. And although that's very handy when you have a group of people who will play right, it can also be quite cacophonous, especially if you have people with barking dogs or crying babies or ringing telephones in the background. You may want to take a little bit of control over that and you can do so. Under the Audio menu, I'll select Enable Single Speaker Mode which is there at the bottom of the menu. What that does is it sort of emulates an in-person meeting where you have a baton and you hand the baton around, and the only person who can speak is the person with the baton.
A lot of first-time groups have to do that so that they don't cross-talk or over-talk each other, and it just provides a way to make sure that the person who is speaking can actually be heard. When I do that, and if you look carefully next to my microphone, there's a little star or an asterisk there. That indicates that I'm in Single Speaker Mode and what that means is that because I have my microphone activated, nobody else can speak. Now if I turn my microphone off for a second and Olivia activates her microphone, so I'll go ahead and I'll do that, when she activates her microphone, you'll see that my microphone will gray out.
And that means that I can't in any way click on the microphone to start talking. So she is going to go ahead and activate her mic. And once she does, you can see that my microphone is grayed out. I can click on it all I want but nothing will happen. In fact, if I look carefully, I can see that it says Microphone unavailable at this time, Single speaker mode is ON. Now this can have its own set of frustrations. If say Olivia got up and walked away from the computer and left her microphone on, we wouldn't be able to use the solution to talk anymore. But I have a level of control over that too.
As a host in the room, I can hover over the Audio menu, I can click, and I can simply select Release Mic From Speaker. That pulls the Single Speaker Mode away from Olivia, making it available to me and to anyone else who might want to use it. That's really, really handy, especially in first-time meetings when people might not realize that the conversation they're having is being heard through the microphone and creating significant distraction. Now all of this stuff is wonderful, but I have to say using the computer as a way to talk from one person to another, if you're over the age of 20, is somewhat new.
And so what you might want to do is to help people to prepare their system for this. I'll also add that even though you can have them prepare their system for this, they may not have experience with it. And so it's not a good idea for your very first meeting to sort of whip this out on everybody and expect them to be able to use it. It might not be a bad idea to set up a practice session. And during that practice session, the first thing that you'll want to do is introduce people to something called the Audio Setup Wizard. The Audio Setup Wizard is found under the Meeting menu. It allows you to basically walkthrough your system's Audio Settings to make sure that they're appropriate for using Voice over IP.
And all you need to do is follow the instructions on screen. Click the Next button. You could play a sound to hear how your computer speakers are sounding. You can click on Next to make sure that in this case you have a microphone set up and you can choose the right microphone. And then to make sure that Connect can actually hear you, you can click on Record. And what you're looking for is the Sound Indicator to go back and forth. That means that it's hearing you. And you want to see that you're not always all blue or always a little bit of blue.
that gives you an indication of level. And then last but not least, it's a good idea to Test Silence. This establishes something called room tone. What that does is it just makes sure that Connect hears what the room sounds like without you speaking and it can filter it out. When all is said and done, you can look at the information here to see the volume level or whatever. But basically, click Finish and then Connect will be set up so that it can use the microphone and speakers correctly. Now one final note that I want to throw in here, if you're allowing people to speak and you yourself are preparing or you don't want to hear them speaking, you can always turn your own speaker off by simply clicking the little speaker icon.
That gives people the ability to chat without you having to be distracted by it as you're setting up a part of the presentation or doing something other than listening to the participants as they speak. So there you have it! You can use Adobe Connect as a way to allow people into your meeting to hear you, but also as a way to allow people to fully participate in the meeting, and with just a little bit of configuration, they'll have a really good experience while doing so.
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