1 of my Favorite Communication Tools

Communication tools make our ability to do things so much better. Technology is changing so rapidly that it is hard to keep up. This post will give you some tips as to how I have optimized my work and office.

Frequently, I am asked about how I use Skype. I wrote this post to tell you more about it. I changed the photo in that post because it was misleading. The old photo had a little boy looking at family with a webcam. Webcams work with Skype and can add a dimension but it is not how I use Skype.

Disclaimer: this is not an affiliate post. I just love these products and thought you might benefit.

The headset at the left is the one I use with Skype. It’s a Logitech Headset 360 and connects to my laptop through the USB port. By the way, $39.95! I originally asked about cordless models but for international calls, I learned from Jim Connolly, that the clarity is much better with the corded version.

Since Skype and headsets can be a little funky at times, if you have trouble hearing someone or can’t connect, try unplugging and replugging the USB cord. If someone uses the same headsets to watch YouTube, it can cause a clash with Skype. You might want to check out the Call Quality Guide found under the Call menu area on Skype.

This headset makes my Skype experience much better. I can carry on a conversation with my clients with my hands-free. Since I starting using Skype, I have had numerous conversations with colleagues and clients world-wide and love the ability to work and collaborate with so many new friends and clients.

The other aspect of Skype that I love is the ability to share screens. Many people wonder how I do that.

Above is a screen shot (via Snagit) – another not an affiliate, just a cool tool… The screen shot shows you the message or chat area of the screen.You can use it to send instant messages to people, hold full chat messaging conversations, or share links you want to reference.

There is another aspect to the message area. In this area, you can pick smiley faces or use the share tool. Your choice is to share selection or share full screen. I always share full screen with people. On their end, they need to expand to full screen or everything is too small and generally fuzzy. Most Skype connections give you a fairly clear screen but not identical to your home screen. There is always a degree of fuzziness.

When the sound or picture gets messed up, I generally end the call and start over. If you think of all the connections that we are counting on to work between computers, telecommunications, and the tools like the headsets, I still marvel that it works at all!

Soon I will talk about another of my favorite tools, my new Plantronics headset for my Motorola Backflip cell phone, stay tuned!


  1. Kimba Green on September 14, 2010 at 10:07 am

    I use the Plantronics DSP 400 headset with skype. Just like yours it connects to my computer through the USB port. I also use it for my Dragon Naturally Speaking 10. Could not live without it!

    • Julie Walraven on September 14, 2010 at 10:13 am

      You’re ahead Kimba, I don’t know about Dragon Naturally Speaking yet… I have thought about it but I am still keyboard tied… But the only way we learn is to try new things, right?

  2. Kimba Green on September 14, 2010 at 10:20 am

    You must try Dragon! The new version (11) just came out a week ago. I have been using it for a few years now. Worth the purchase. Trains to your voice in minutes. Helps when writing off the top of your head.

    • Julie Walraven on September 14, 2010 at 11:39 am

      I’ll put on my investment list… 🙂 I have way too many things on that list… Good to hear, though!

  3. Danny Brown on September 14, 2010 at 10:32 am

    Skype is such an underused piece of communications, especially for SME’s, Julie. I haven’t tried any headsets (I use the old mic and laptop set-up at the minute), but will be checking out this headset, looks pretty damn cool 🙂

    • Julie Walraven on September 14, 2010 at 10:46 am

      Thanks for visiting, Danny! Skype expanded my world dramatically. I love the usefulness of collaboration and bet you with your love for technology would have fun with it too! There have been weeks where I have more Skype interactions than phone calls.

      Today, I meet with a client in Greece at 1pm to see what new targets she found and then at 7pm, I meet with a local executive who agreed it made more sense for him to go home and Skype with me from the comfort of his home than meet and then have to drive about 40 minutes to get home afterward.

  4. Kirk Baumann on September 14, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    Skype is a fantastic tool for making calls and chatting with others. It’s amazing how well it works. I had a call with three people last week from Ghana, the Netherlands, and China. Not to mention, when in Asia a couple of years ago, I used it to call my wife at home. The reception was better than cell or landline. AAAAANNNDDD (here’s the best part), it was FREE! Our world gets smaller and smaller each day.

    If you’re not using Skype, why not? Try it out. I bet you’ll love it. 🙂

    • Julie Walraven on September 14, 2010 at 1:52 pm

      Exactly, Kirk! I bet I Skype chat or Skype talk every day. I’m actually talking to someone in Louisiana as I write this on Skype chat… we communicate so many different ways these days, don’t we?

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