International conferencing provides business professionals, entrepreneurs, investors, celebrities, journalists, and other individuals with international contacts a cost-effective means of collaborating with their associates in other countries.
Using an international conferencing service provider allows for feature-rich collaboration, low per minute calling rates, and crystal clear connections. Whether you need to host international conferencing events on a regular basis or periodically, you can receive numerous benefits when you start holding conference calls.
As with most everything, a few downsides exist. However, the advantages outweigh the disadvantages of international conference calls.
The Advantages of International Conferencing
Less Time Traveling – More Time Collaborating: While meeting in person is certainly desirable, it’s not always practical. With international conferencing, you can interact with your global contacts in a group environment without having to leave the country. Instead of spending a good portion of your business week in airports, on international flights, and in expensive hotel rooms, pick up the phone, hold your teleconference, and get to the heart of the matter. Your call can last as long as you need it to last. Even if you spend eight full hours in a teleconference, you’ll still be ahead of the game thanks to the ability to make the call from your office.
Dramatically Lower Collaboration Costs: Obviously, eliminating international travel also eliminates international travel costs, making international conferencing economically appealing. In addition to cutting your own travel expenses, you won’t need to rent meeting room space to accommodate attendees. Everyone simply dials into the international conference call from their own offices, homes, or other locations.
Review and Share Your Teleconference: You can record your international conference call with just a button click. Use the MP3 file to review the conference later or share it with colleagues who were unable to attend the call at its scheduled time. Depending on the nature of the call, you might even want to create a podcast out of it or package it into an informational or coaching product.
International Conferencing Allows for Real-Time Collaboration
Many international collaborators rely on email for corresponding with others due to time zone differences. While email gets the job done, there’s often a large lag time. Using international conferencing, you can collaborate with others in real-time. Unfortunately, this is also one of the cons of international conferencing in that some participants may need to participate in the call outside of their normal business hours.
Teleconferencing Allows for More Personal Interactions: Being able to communicate with others over the phone allows for more personal interactions. Not only can you break the ice and get to know one another over the phone, you can hear each other’s voice inflections. Voice calls result in fewer misunderstandings than email.
The Cons of International Conferencing
Clearly, international conferencing is an excellent choice for anyone who regularly communicates with international contacts. However, there are a few disadvantages you should be aware of. Fortunately, these disadvantages of international conferencing can be overcome.
Since there are nearly 230 countries in the world, no conference call company can provide a local access number everywhere worldwide. That said, if your global conference call plan has a worldwide dial-out feature, the chairperson can easily call the participant through the international bridge and instantly add that guest to the call.
All that’s required is the participant’s international phone number, landline or mobile to dial-out to.
Below are the toll-free and local access number countries offered with the Expanded International Conference Call plan.
This plan also includes the global dial-out feature so there is never a reason to be concerned about whether an access number is available in a country because the moderator can always dial-out to any country.
Time Differences Can Make Scheduling a Conference Call Challenging: If you’re in Los Angeles and the people you need to meet with are in London, Australia, Japan, and India, scheduling international conferencing is going to be challenging. Some attendees will need to call into the teleconference at a time that is outside of their normal business hours. However, attendees do not need to remain in their offices late at night in order to participate. They can call from any phone, anywhere they may be.
Dialing Conventions Vary from Country to Country: Your international collaborators are used to dialing phone numbers a certain way. Giving them an international phone number to call can cause confusion, require operator assistance, and potentially deter participation due to cost concerns. You can overcome this disadvantage by using an international conferencing service that issues local access numbers or local toll free numbers. Each participant will be given a phone number local to their country. Opt for toll free access if you do not want your participants to pay to participate in the conference.
Calling Rates are High for Some Countries: As the host of an international toll free conference call, you’re right to be concerned about the per minute calling rates for some countries. You may be used to paying less than a nickel per minute for long distance calls and be shocked at some of the rates for other countries. Check the rates for the countries involved in your teleconference and highlight those that you consider too high. For those, use the moderator dial-out feature instead of having those participants call your toll free number. Moderator dial-out means you will call them (and you’ll pay quite a bit less as a result). You can pre-program moderator dial-out so that you do not need to scramble at the last minute to gather everyone into your teleconference.
International Conferencing Can Get Loud: Imagine a conference call with 20 people, all with co-workers chatting, phones ringing, or dogs barking in the background. That call would indeed get noisy. Fortunately, mute and unmute features are easy to use and teach to the group. If any users fail to mute their lines when not speaking, the moderator can mute those lines individually.
As you can see, the advantages of international conferencing definitely outweigh the disadvantages. Plus, the disadvantages are easy to workaround with the right international conferencing plan.