If possible try to situate yourself in a small office or bedroom. Large open spaces tend to create a lot of echo. (I literally record in a closet.)
Before the call try to do whatever you can to cut down on background noise. (Close doors and windows, silence phones, turn off fans and AC, remove pets from the room, etc.) During the call try not to do anything that will get picked up by the microphone such as typing on your keyboard, clicking your mouse, tapping on the desk, shifting around in a creaky chair, etc.
Avoid using headset mics or mics that dangle on a cord except as a last resort. The built-in mics in most laptops usually work fine.
To Record Your Audio:
If you’re on a Mac go to Finder -> Applications and find the QuickTime Player. Open it, then select File -> New Audio Recording. Press the red button to start recording. Once you start recording the red Record button will change to a black Stop button. Hit Stop to stop recording, then go to File -> Save to save the recording as an M4A file.
If you’re on a PC there’s a free audio recording program called Audacity that you can download from https://sourceforge.net/projects/audacity/. Download the program, open it, then press the red Record button to start recording. Press the yellow Stop button to stop recording. Go to File -> Export and select the option to export the recording as a WAV file.
The resulting audio files are quite large, so we typically share them using Dropbox or Google Drive. (Both require you to create an account, but most people have either a Dropbox account or a Google account, which is the same as Gmail.)
To share a file using Dropbox go to dropbox.com and click Upload. Select the audio file and click Open. Once the file is uploaded to your Dropbox account, double-click on it, then select Share. Type in my email address — “email@example.com” — and click Share.
To share a file using Google Drive go to google.com and click on the Tic-Tac-Toe board in the upper right hand corner of the screen. Click on the multicolor triangle that says Drive. Click New, then File Upload. Select the audio file and click Open to upload it. Click Recent. Find the file and double-click on it. Click the three vertical dots in the upper right hand corner of the screen, and select Share. Type in my email address — “firstname.lastname@example.org” — and click Send.
If You’re Using Skype:
Make sure to wear earbuds during the call so that your microphone is only picking up your voice. Turn down the volume level in your earbuds so that it’s as low as possible (while still being able to hear me).
Make a test recording before we get started to make sure that your microphone is working properly. Try playing a song or podcast in your earbuds while you’re recording to make sure that the sound from your earbuds isn’t getting picked up by your microphone.
I find I have the best luck with Skype if, before the call, I remove any large files from my Desktop, Trash, and Downloads folder, then turn the computer off, then turn it back on again. (Actually turn it off, don’t just “restart” it.)
One of your Skype contacts is “Skype Test Call.” You can call this and record a short message and have it played back to you. Please do this before the call to make sure that Skype is working properly.