How to Use Handouts During an International Audio Conference Call
Preparing and distributing handouts prior to an international audio conference call adds a visual dimension to your group audio call. By including handouts, your participants can follow along as well as reference any materials you deem necessary. Distributing them in advance can help streamline the call as well since everyone should have the materials at their fingertips without having to wait for you to find and email them to the group. Below are a few ideas to help make the process as smooth as possible.
What to Include
Handouts can be anything you’d normally distribute at an in-person meeting including the agenda, reports, bulletins, reference materials, graphic designs, project documentation, proposals, estimates, or even a PowerPoint or video presentation. You’ll want to ensure that the files you prepare and send are in a universal format, such as PDF, so that everyone can easily open and view them. For international calls, it may be helpful to have multi-lingual versions of your materials available.
How to Distribute Your Audio Conference Handouts
If you intend to share a lot of handouts, consider creating a designated shared folder for your call in a file-sharing application such as Dropbox or Google Drive. Consider pre-pending the file names with a number that corresponds with your agenda items. For example, if agenda item one is “Australia export legislation,” then your materials related to that should have file names such as “1_export_rules” and 1_impact_analysis.” By using a numbering and naming scheme like this, you and your participants will more easily be able to open the appropriate documents at the appropriate time.
You’ll want to distribute your handouts before the global conference call, ideally at the time you send the invitation. You can also send them in a reminder just prior to the call.
Referencing Your Handouts
Refer to your documents in the same manner in which you named them. For example, when you’re discussing the legislation, you might ask participants to refer to the document labeled 1_export_rules rather than “the legislation document.” This makes it easier for everyone to find the file in the shared folder.
Your agenda should also note the handouts for each agenda item, making it easy for attendees to pull up the appropriate materials during the discussion.
After the international conference call, keep the MP3 recording and the handouts together in a folder dedicated to the call. This creates a neat historical record of the call for future reference as everything will be stored together and readily accessible.
Handouts fill the gaps in any meeting and are just as useful to participants of a global audio conference call as they are to participants of a live meeting. Though you’re located worlds apart, technology bridges the gap.