International Conference Calling Best Practices

International conferencing is notoriously difficult to coordinate, and you may be asked to call in at an unusual time of day.

International Conferencing Best Practices
International Conferencing

International Conference Calling Best Practices

Whether you will be hosting international conferencing calls or have been invited to one, an international conference call’s success depends in large part on how it’s been planned and organized as well as on the etiquette of its attendees. If you are a host, avoid holding a poorly planned teleconference by following these best practices for international conferencing hosts. If you are a participant, use the best practices tips for international conferencing attendees to ensure that you can contribute to the call’s success.

Best Practices for International Conferencing Hosts

Choose a high quality international conferencing service provider. Not all international conferencing services use high quality telecommunications networks. Poor connections, noise on the line, echoes, and other sound quality issues will adversely affect your global conference call. If the sound quality is bad enough, attendees will struggle to hear, or worse, abandon the meeting.

Schedule the international conferencing with convenience in mind. This isn’t always possible, but it should be attempted when possible. Use a world time zone map or world meeting planning tool to determine which block of time falls within business hours for most attendees.

Determine who needs to attend the call in real time. Not all international conferencing participants need to actively participate in real time. Consider who will be asked to speak and whether there will be an opportunity for questions and answers or other interactive exchanges. For example, you may decide that you want your regional sales managers present so that they can provide input and get their questions answered; however, their sales teams may not need to participate in the live call and could benefit by listening to a recording at their leisure. By limiting the call this way, you could reduce the number of participants on the call while offering them a more convenient means of obtaining the information that was discussed. This also reduces the overall cost of the call.

Treat international conferencing as you would treat a meeting. It’s helpful to create an agenda for the call and to actively monitor the call as it progresses. If you’ve allotted ten minutes to discuss a new regulation, for example, and fifteen minutes have passed, your call will likely run longer than expected unless you take action to keep the meeting on track. As the host of the call, it is your duty to keep the meeting on track.

Get familiar with the international conferencing tools available to you. For example, do you know how to mute a noisy phone line if the participant is unaware of the excess noise being blasted to the group? Do you know how to quickly and discreetly get operator assistance while running an international conference call? Do you know how to record your conference call? You may even want to practice using your international conferencing plan with a friend or colleague before you go live for the first time.

Best Practices for International Conferencing Attendees

As a conference call attendee, your duties are less involved than that of the host. However, you do play a role in the success of the call. Below are a few best practices for participants.

Prepare for the conference call. If the host has distributed an agenda or outline for the call, take a look at it a few days in advance. Think about the topic and how it applies to you. What do you expect to learn from the call? What ideas do you have that you might be able to contribute? What questions do you want to ask if the host doesn’t address them? If you’ve been asked to speak during the call, gather any supporting documents you may need (such as sales reports, study results, customer satisfaction ratings, etc.) and prepare your statements. Ask for clarification if you are unsure about what’s expected. For example, if you’ve been asked to discuss customer satisfaction ratings but weren’t told how much time you’ve been allotted to speak, ask the host how much time you have.

Be on time. International conferencing is notoriously difficult to coordinate, and you may be asked to call in at an unusual time of day. Even if you’re expected to call in at midnight, you should be prompt and ready to contribute.

Use a landline if possible. In some countries, the per minute cost of a call is dramatically higher for calls made using mobile phones. While the host may provide you with a toll free number, if you have access to a landline, using it instead of a mobile phone is a courteous gesture that can reduce the cost of the call for the host.

Find out how to mute and unmute your phone line. With potentially dozens of participants on an international conference call at once, background noise is a major problem. Each participant is expected to know how to mute their phone line when not speaking and then unmute it when it’s their turn to speak. It’s usually a simple matter of pressing *6 on your phone’s keypad.

Be respectful of the group. Most international conference calls are scheduled with an agenda that leaves room for questions at the end of the call. Write your questions down and  wait until the end to ask them. While it would be nice to be able to go through your list of questions one after another, make sure to give other people the chance to ask their questions as well. Because time is limited and you may not be able to ask all of your questions, determine which questions are the most urgent and ask those questions first.

International conferencing is a group effort. Whether you’re the host or an attendee, do your part to make the call a success.

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Using International Conferencing for Overseas Vendor Collaboration and Status

Using International Conferencing for Overseas Vendor Collaboration and Status

Overseas Vendor CcollaborationUsing International Conferencing for Overseas Vendor Collaboration and Status

With vendors located all over the globe, international conferencing becomes a vital tool in your supply chain management process. While numerous communications methods exist, being able to speak with multiple parties at once can ensure that nothing is overlooked or left to chance. At the same time, being able to hear each other’s tone of voice can prevent misunderstandings and lead to more personal relationships.

Why Use International Conferencing for Vendor Collaboration and Status?

If you only need to speak with one vendor located in another country, using a traditional phone will do the job. However, when other parties such as other vendors, trade consultants, freight forwarders, brokers, and regional team members need to join the call, a traditional phone system may not be the best choice. For starters, your phone system may not be able to support more than a handful of callers at once. In addition, your vendors may face hurdles or restrictions in dialing an international phone number.

An international conference call can overcome these problems. With an international conferencing plan, you can host low-cost global conference calls with as many participants as you would like.

International conferencing overcomes international dialing problems by offering local and toll free numbers for hundreds of countries around the world. This means that your vendors will dial either a local or a toll free number (depending on how you set up the call) that is local to their countries. If you opt for toll free international conferencing, you will be charged per minute, per participant based on each participant’s countries’ calling rates. Alternately, you could set up the international conferencing system to automatically dial each participant’s phone number at the scheduled time. This option works well when calling costs are high as it usually results in a lower per minute rate.

Not only does international conferencing overcome many dialing issues, using a teleconference to collaborate with vendors allows for real-time discussions in an engaging, productive environment. For example, if you need to solve a problem within your supply chain, a teleconference is perfect for asking questions, getting answers, clarifying expectations, and providing guidance.  It can also ensure that everyone is on the same page as well as prevent you from having to repeat yourself to multiple participants. You can also record your international conference calls to share with involved parties who might not have been able to participate in person.

Holding More Productive Vendor Meetings with International Conferencing

While international conferencing is easy to set up and use, your time, and the time of your vendors, is valuable. In addition to being respectful of time, holding more productive vendor teleconferences can reduce your international conferencing costs. Though international conferencing is a low-cost alternative to travel, you will incur costs with each conference call you host. Since you pay by the minute per participant, running an efficient teleconference can make a bigger difference than you may realize.

Start by determining the answers to the following questions:

▪ What is the purpose of the call? What is the desired outcome of the call?

▪ Who should attend? Will there be language barriers? Is a translator available?

▪ Will others need time to speak to the group? For example, an engineer may be better able to explain a component’s specs to a manufacturer than you would. If so, it makes sense to invite the engineer to address the vendors during the conference call.

▪ What questions do you need answered?

▪ Which tasks will be assigned and to whom?

▪ What supporting documents should be distributed prior to the call?

▪ How much time should the call last and is this sufficient for the call’s purpose?

▪ What countries are involved? What time zones? What time and date is the most practical for those involved?

▪ Would a recording of the teleconference be helpful to attendees after the fact?

The answers to these questions should guide you in designing an agenda for the call and scheduling it. By defining the purpose and expected outcome in advance, you can then create a focused agenda that moves the teleconference strategically from one key point to the next.

Once you’ve identified who should attend the teleconference, determine if their attendance is absolutely necessary. This can help you in scheduling the call around the most important participants’ schedules and time zones. For example, if you have several vendors in China who absolutely must attend and a warehouse supervisor in Long Beach whose attendance would be nice but not mandatory, you may want to coordinate timing with the vendors in China first to ensure a workable time period for the teleconference. For those secondary individuals who may not need to attend the call in person, consider sending them an MP3 recording of the call to listen to later.

Using international conferencing to communicate with vendors overseas

It is a great way to collaborate and build stronger working relationships. It is also an affordable choice that does not require any travel or specialized equipment. By spending some time planning your international conferencing agenda, you can guide the group through the meeting with focus and purpose.

In addition, a well-planned teleconference respects everyone’s time and keeps international conferencing costs within your desired budget. Make sure everyone is on the same page by using international conferencing regularly for overseas vendor collaboration and status.

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International Conferencing Planning Tools

Some participants may even need to call into the conference from their homes or in the middle of the night to join others in different time zones on the call.

International Conference Call PlanningInternational Conferencing Planning Tools

One of the biggest challenges of international conferencing involves finding a convenient time for the call. With participants located in various time zones, your global call may not fall within normal business hours for some participants. In fact, some participants may even need to call into the conference from their homes or in the middle of the night. There are several methods you can use to plan and schedule international conferencing. Below are a few to try when planning your next conference call.

WorldTimeServer.com – This site has a number of world clock and time zone tools including its World Meeting Planner. Simply enter up to five countries or cities and the desired date and then click on the Submit button. The results page will show 24 hours for the date selected for each country. These times are presented in a color-coded grid. Green times are those that occur during business hours, yellow times are those that occur in the morning or evening, and red times are those that occur at night. By viewing the grid, you can quickly identify blocks of time that could work across multiple time zones.

The times are displayed with individual blocks representing each of 12 hours. The current time is circled so that you can easily see what time it is locally as well as in each of the countries you will be international conferencing with. This tool also uses color to represent business hours (light yellow), morning and evening (light blue), and night (dark blue). Again, the goal is to try to find a block of time for all countries that falls under business hours.

It’s a nice choice for those who prefer plotting points on a map. However, it is useful once you have a time in mind and need an accurate way to tell participants what time the international conference call will be in their local time. For example, once you enter the time and date in your local time, you can then click on the various cities and countries involved will then display a list of all corresponding dates and times for each country.

TimeandDate.com‘s Meeting Planner App – Timeanddate.com has an online meeting planner tool for international conferencing that’s similar to the ones offered by World Time Server and World Time Buddy. However, it also offers a mobile app. The app is available on iTunes for the iPad and iPhone. It allows you to quickly plan international conferencing around various time zone constraints. Like the other tools, color-coded times make it simple to find a time that should work for most participants. You can also save meetings within the app, which is helpful if you frequently hold international conference calls with the same group of people. Once you’ve found a good time and have decided to schedule your teleconference, this app allows you to send the international conferencing time and date to participants via email.

Scheduling international conferencing is challenging, but these tools make it easier. In addition to scheduling the call, you may want help in calculating the cost of your call. While conference call calculators are available for U.S. and Canada conference calls, international conferencing involves so many factors. In order to determine how much you might pay for an international conference call, you may need to do a few calculations on your own.

Start by identifying the countries involved and looking up their per minute calling rates (https://www.aitelephone.com/conference-international-access.html). Once you have this information, you can then multiply the per minute rate for each participant times the expected length of the call to get the cost of the call per participant. From there, add up the cost per participant to get a final dollar figure.

One way to do this is to use a spreadsheet as shown below.

Country Rate Minutes
 
Cost
Participants Cost
China dial-out

$0.09

    10

$0.90

2

$1.80

USA

$0.049

10

$0.49

3

$1.47

Australia

$0.11

10

$1.10

2

$2.20

Total Cost

$5.47

As you plan your call, you will likely find that some countries have higher per minute rates than others. If a country’s rates are higher than anticipated and the call will be long enough (or if enough participants are from that country) for those rates to make a big impact on the total cost of the call, consider setting up automatic moderator dial-out for those participants. Doing so allows you to take advantage of lower dial-out rates.

The next time you need to schedule international conferencing, use a time zone planner to find the optimal time for your teleconference. If you want to take your planning one step further, use a spreadsheet to calculate the estimated cost of your conference call.

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International Conferencing and the Legal Industry

Not only can you host conference calls with numerous participants from around the world, you can do so without overseas travel.

International Conferencing and the Legal IndustryLegal Industry Conference Calls

International phone conferencing provides attorneys with a robust communications solution to costly international flights. If you need to fly in an expert witness from another country or travel to another nation to negotiate a contract, consider using an international conferencing service instead. Not only can you communicate with numerous participants from around the world in a teleconference, you can do so without the hassles of international travel.

Types of Events Suitable for International Conference Calls

Teleconferencing is an excellent choice for busy attorneys who want to conserve both time and resources. Many routine meetings can be handled via an international conference call including the following:

  • Client meetings – If your firm has clients located around the world, clients who travel frequently, or attorneys who travel frequently, international conferencing allows for group phone calls with all involved parties no matter where they may be located. Whether you have a new client located in France, an attorney on vacation in Belize, and a senior partner working out of New York City, everyone can gather together in a private teleconference at the appointed time.
  • Expert witnesses – Need to interview an expert witness from Europe as you build your case in the United States? Using international conferencing is an affordable choice that does not require any special equipment on anyone’s part. Each participant uses a standard or mobile telephone, dials the access number, and is joined into the conference call. You and your colleagues can ask questions, get clarification, and get a feel for the witness’s tone of voice and demeanor without having to travel. In addition, you can record the call or even have a court reporter present.
  • Audio depositions – Can’t wait until a witness returns from an overseas trip to hold the deposition? Consider using an international conference call to hold an audio deposition. Again, you, the deponent, a court reporter, and other attorneys may be located in different countries. However, by using international conferencing, you can also speak to one another in a group conference call.
  • Contract negotiations – If you need to be involved in multiparty contract negotiations, you may be able to accomplish a great deal of work in an international conference call. Not only can everyone involved join in the call from whichever country they may be in at the time, you can record the call for later as well as have the MP3 recording of the call transcribed if desired.

Meetings, interviews, depositions, and contract negotiations are just a few of the many ways that you can use international conferencing in your law firm. Other possibilities include collaboration with senior partners and overseas vendors, training and motivational sessions, strategy planning sessions, and even sales meetings with prospective clients. The options are virtually endless!

The Benefits of Using International Conferencing

You can hold any number of group interactions using a global conference call. Doing so can lead to numerous benefits including the following:

▪Less travel – Less travel means reduced travel expenses and increased productivity. For example, if you need to fly across the ocean once a month to meet with a VIP client living abroad, international conferencing can save your firm thousands of dollars each month in travel expenses. In addition, since you won’t be spending several days in transit each month, you will have more hours available for other clients. Reduce costs and increase billable hours by choosing international conferencing as often as possible.

▪Easy international dialing – With international conferencing, participants can dial unique phone numbers to reach your teleconference. What makes these numbers so special? They are specific to the callers’ countries. For example, a caller in Spain can dial a toll free number that adhere’s to Spain’s dialing conventions while a caller in the United States might dial a U.S. 1-800 number to connect to the same teleconference. This is especially helpful in addressing qualms about international calling costs as well as in helping callers connect to a conference call without needing operator assistance.

▪Easy MP3 recordings – Recording an international conference call is simple if your calling plan supports MP3 recordings. Having a recording of the call allows attorneys to review the call later or get the call transcribed if desired.

What to Look for in an International Conferencing Plan when associated with the Legal Profession

As a member of the legal profession, you need a reliable communications method free of advertisements, interference, and expensive long-term contracts. Fortunately, it is possible to get a high quality international conferencing plan that does not require a contract or impose monthly minimum usage requirements. Depending on your intended use, you can either get toll free or local access numbers specific to each user’s country. Keep in mind that rates vary based on the countries involved and that some countries have lower rates than others. If a country’s rates are higher than expected, you can use moderator dial out to call participants in those countries and get a better per minute rate.

International conferencing is a cost-effective way for attorneys to communicate with clients, partners, vendors, other attorneys, and other people located around the world. Whether you need to collaborate, negotiate, or interview witnesses, choosing a pay-as-you-go international conferencing plan provides you with options.

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International Conferencing as a Sales Tool

With a toll free international conference call, each participant is assigned a toll free number to dial from their own country.

International Conferencing as a Sales Tool
International Conferencing as a Sales Tool

International Conferencing as a Sales Tool

Selling products and services to businesses located in other countries, by its nature, is more complicated than selling to a business located closer to home. While you may have the resources to travel occasionally or hire an in-country sales representative, there will be times when you need to pitch a new offer personally or intervene to close the deal from afar. Hopping on an airplane is an option, but it’s a costly one both in terms of money and time. International conferencing is a robust alternative that will save you both.

International conferencing is a teleconferencing service designed specifically to accommodate international participants. Access numbers to the teleconference are either local or toll free to each individual’s country, and call quality is exceptional despite extended geographic distance.

Determining When International Conferencing is Appropriate

Using international conferencing is easy for the moderator and participants alike, and it’s appropriate for any number of sales scenarios.

In general, consider using teleconferencing after you’ve warmed prospects up. In other words, it’s not the best choice for cold calling. Use other methods to warm the prospect up and schedule an extended sales consultation via international conferencing.

Teleconferencing is also suitable for introducing new products and services to existing customers, presenting progress reports, receiving feedback, resolving issues, and holding international focus groups.

You can also use global teleconferencing in conjunction with a face-to-face meeting with local sales rep from your company. For example, if your local representative needs support or additional information, holding international conferencing could be an excellent choice.

Who Needs to Be on the Call?

After determining that international conferencing is an appropriate choice, the next step is to determine who needs to be on the phone call. In the example above, your local sales rep, the customer, and you would come together in an international conference call. Do others need to be available? Are there other decision makers that need to be convinced? Are there other individuals from your company who can better explain your product’s unique features? Would it be helpful to have a translator present?

Take the time to determine exactly who should be present in advance as you will later need to schedule the teleconference around the participants’ hectic schedules. Because of time differences and other factors, some participants may not be able to attend the call live, so identify the key players who absolutely need to attend and those whose presence would be helpful but not essential.

The Importance of Toll Free Conference Call Access

When it comes to international conferencing, you have two choices as far as international access to the teleconference goes: toll free or local access numbers. In a sales environment, toll free access is crucial. Not only does a toll free number reassure your customers and prospects that they will not incur expensive international long distance charges, it looks professional. A toll free number shows that you’re serious about taking care of your customers. It also conveys the feeling that you do not want to inconvenience them.

In addition to providing a no-cost means of attending your international conference call, toll free access also makes it much easier for your international attendees to place the call. As you likely know, dialing conventions vary from one country to the next, making it confusing to place a call to another country. With a toll free international conference call, each participant is assigned a toll free number from their own countries. The number is immediately recognizable as being toll free and it’s familiar looking because it follows that country’s dialing conventions. Attendees do not need to think twice about dialing the call, nor will they need operator assistance.

Coordinating an International Conference Call

Once you have determined the purpose of the call, who needs to attend, and that you want to provide toll free access, it’s time to schedule the actual event. Use your list of participants that you identified earlier and write down which countries they will be calling from. Use a world time zone map or other tool to identify the time zones of each attendee.

Once you have the various countries and their time zones identified, look to see if there’s any particular time that you can schedule the call during business hours for all attendees. In many cases, this will be impossible due to geography, but in some cases it’s doable or nearly doable. Because the call involves a customer or prospect, make sure to schedule the call so that it is most convenient for the customer or prospect.

Ask your customer what time works best out of a short list of suggested times and then schedule the call around the customer’s choice. If this means that you need to set your alarm clock to wake you up at 3:00 AM in order to accommodate an international customer, then that’s what you’ll need to do. Schedule the call, distribute the call’s details to each participant (including time and date in local time, toll free access numbers, and PIN code), and prepare for the teleconference.

Using Your Plan’s Features

Finally, the time has arrived. Use the features of your international conferencing plan to enhance the call. For example, if some of the participants cannot make it to the teleconference, use the plan’s call recording feature to record the call for later.

Another useful feature to be aware of is muting. At the beginning of the call, instruct attendees how to mute and unmute their phones to eliminate distracting background noises. If someone forgets, you can manually mute a line using your live conference management tools. If you need technical help at any point during the teleconference, take advantage of operator assistance as needed. This allows you to return your attention to your customer while the operator assists you or other attendees.

International conference calls can quickly and easily bring together a diverse group for sales presentations, customer feedback, progress reports, focus groups, and other sales scenarios. It’s a cost-effective choice that saves both time and money while allowing you to communicate in a more personable manner.

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Connecting for a Cause with Global Conference Calls

For international collaboration and fund raising, a pay-as-you-go, no contract international conference call plan is a great choice for charities, look for plans offered by aitelephone.com

fundraising
Connecting internationally for a Cause

Connecting for a Cause with Global Conference Calls

Charitable organizations have a huge responsibility to keep their administrative costs as low as possible. At the same time, coordinating outreach efforts, holding fundraisers, and getting aid to the people who need it the most often requires global collaboration. In an emergency, there’s no time to waste, either. Global conference calls help charitable organizations contain their costs, coordinate relief efforts, and brainstorm ideas – and much more.

How an International Conference Calling Plan Can Reduce Costs for Charitable Organizations

Pay-as-you-go, no contract international conference calling plans are a great choice for charities. Since there’s no long term contract and no minimum usage requirements, these organizations can make global conference calls as needed without being locked into monthly fees which are incurred whether calls are made or not. For many charities, the need for global collaboration via international conference calling occurs sporadically, such as after a natural disaster. Why pay for a service you only use occasionally?

In addition, international conference calling can connect organizers and collaborators without requiring travel. For example, instead of traveling out of the country to meet with various emergency planning experts and incurring international travel expenses, your team could hold an international conference call, get the information it needs, and slash your costs.

Depending on which countries will be involved in any given global conference call, your per minute rates will vary. With an international conference calling plan, your rates will be surprising low. However, some countries do have high costs, especially when participants from those countries dial into your teleconference. One way to reduce the rate for participants in high-cost countries is to use your international conference calling plan’s moderator dial out feature. Rates for moderator dial out tend to be significantly lower than direct dial.

In fact, if you regularly hold global conference calls with the same group of people, you may want to set up automated group dial out. Simply enter your participants and their phone numbers and let the international conference calling system dial them automatically at the teleconference’s scheduled start time. This cuts your costs and ensures that no one forgets to call in.

Do you frequently repeat the same information over and over to new volunteers? Consider holding a new volunteer orientations session using an international conference call. Create an MP3 recording of the call and direct all new volunteers to an internal website where they can access and listen to the call. Doing so will provide them with the information they need (the same information all other volunteers have received) and free your time to focus on other tasks.

What Can Be Accomplished on a Global Conference Call

Charities can use global conferencing for any number of purposes. Below are just a few possibilities:

✓           Plan fundraising drives – Is your fundraising committee scattered around the globe? Are some team members located in other countries? Can your team adopt a successful fundraising campaign that was featured in another country? Using a global conference call is a great way to bring a diverse team together to plan your next fundraiser.

✓           Coordinate relief efforts – Whether an earthquake just struck, a wildfire just consumed a community, or some other natural catastrophe requires your organization to move quickly, holding an international conference call with regional coordinators, local politicians, emergency responders, or even the media could position your team to respond quickly.

✓           Learn more about a given topic – Exchange information with others using teleconferencing. Whether there’s an expert you want your team to hear, you want to explore how to handle various scenarios, or you need to conduct a training session, international conference calling is a cost-effective choice.

✓           Hold a meeting – While it’s nice to see your executive team in person, it’s also expensive. Instead of flying everyone into a destination and incurring a great deal of costs, use international conference calling to bring everyone together into a teleconference. Not only can you present vital information and ask and answer questions, you can also hold brainstorming sessions.

✓           Connect while on the go – Smartphones and tablets are changing how the world communicates. Use a smartphone app to quickly call an international conference call with your colleagues not matter where in the world you – or they – may be.

As a leader of a charitable organization, communicating with your team and achieving your organization’s mission requires flexibility and restraint. An international conference calling plan can help you to communicate with others around the world as needed without breaking the budget. Use global conference calls to plan fundraising drives, coordinate relief efforts, train your team, hold meetings, connect while on the go, and much more.

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Global access numbers for international conference calls

Expanded plan conference call country access
Expanded global access network for international conference calls

Global access numbers for international conference calls

With 100+ country access numbers, international conference calls with participants located in any country is here.

It’s never been easier to host conference calls with attendees in faraway places.

Even somewhat obscure country toll-free conference call access numbers are available such as Latvia, Zimbabwe, Vietnam, Tajikistan, Sri Lanka, Qatar, Oman, Saudi Arabia and many more.

This means that the geographical location of your conference call guest is becoming less important because of expanded toll-free and local access number availability worldwide.

View the Legacy Plan 65 Countries – country list and rates

View the Expanded Plan 105+ Countries – country list and rates

How to host Global Conference Calls

Host a Global Conference CallHosting Global Conference Calls

Whether you’re overseas and urgently need to speak with your team back at home or have associates scattered around the world, hosting an international conference call is a fast, affordable way to have a conversation with a group of two or more people.

However, making an international conference call isn’t as simple as making a traditional phone call. Rest assured, it’s still easy, especially if you have a reliable, no-contract-required international conference call plan.

Why Choose a No-Contract international conference call?

Conference calling plans typically come in two flavors: contract-based and no contract plans. With a contract-based plan, you must sign up for a specific time period and pay a monthly fee for a predetermined number of conference calling minutes. With a no contract plan, you are not locked into a plan or required to maintain the plan in any way; you simply pay as you go. If you only need to make one international conference call a year, a no contract plan allows for this without penalizing you. If you need to make a 100 international conference calls a month, you can do that too.

How to Initiate an International Conference Call

Once you have a calling plan, you can either preschedule your international conference call or hold an impromptu one. In either case, your attendees will need to be invited to the call. Start by scheduling the call in your international conference calling plan’s account management dashboard. Once scheduled, you can then email the call’s details to the people you’d like to attend.

These details will include:

  • The call’s date and time
  • The phone number to call in the guests country
  • The conference’s PIN number

Because of the global nature of the international teleconference, many of your attendees will be located in different countries. This brings a few challenges to overcome including: time zone issues and toll free access problems. Thus, you’ll need to address each.

For example, a 2:00pm call originating in Los Angeles will take place at 11:00pm in Rome. To further complicate matters, that same call will occur on a different date if you have participants located on the other side of the International Date Line. For example, it would be scheduled for 5:00am in Singapore. Not only is it important to be aware of these differences, you should provide attendees with the correct time and date for their local time.

The next issue to overcome is the actual phone number itself. If you plan on offering toll free access to the international conference call, you can’t simply give everyone the same American 800 number because that number won’t work internationally. Instead, each country has its own toll free numbers. Therefore, your callers in Rome will dial a different toll free number than your callers in Singapore.

The numbers used to access your teleconference ring into the service providers conference calling bridge. In order to connect your attendees into the correct “conference room,” a PIN or access code is used. Each attendee must tell the conference calling bridge which conference room they want to join; they do so by entering the PIN or access code assigned to your conference when you originally scheduled it.

If this sounds complicated, don’t worry. Your international conference calling plan handles most of this for you. You’ll be given a list of toll free numbers and PINs to share with participants.

Alternately, you could use the automated group dial-out feature to pre-program the phone numbers of your call’s attendees. When it’s time for your conference call to begin, the automated group dial-out tool will automatically call all of your participants and prompt them to join the teleconference.

Recording Your International Conference Call

Many conference call hosts choose to record their calls. Recording calls ensures that attendees have the opportunity to review the call later if desired, and it also allows absentee participants to listen in after the fact. In some cases, call recording is used for documentation purposes whereas in others, it’s used as a training or educational tool.

For example, if your international conference call is intended to provide your team with formal training, it makes sense to record the call and the reuse it later when new team members need to participate in the same training. This can free the facilitator of the training from having to conduct a second (or third, fourth, fifth, etc.,) training session covering the same information. It can also ensure consistency as all team members will hear the same message.

Hosting an international conference call is a great way to stay connected with a globally diverse group of people. Not only is it an affordable option that’s available on a no contract, pay-as-you-go basis, it’s easy to use. Extra features such as auto dial-out and MP3 recording make using an international conference call system even easier and more beneficial.

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International Conference Calling Tips for Moderators

International Conference Calling Tips
International Conference Calling Tips for Moderators

International Conference Calling Tips for Moderators

You’ve just signed up for an international conference calling plan, now what? You’re officially a global conference call moderator. As the moderator of an international conference call, you have several roles and responsibilities. Use these tips to make your first, and subsequent, global conference call, a success.

Get to Know Your International Conference Calling Plan

As with any type of service, it’s smart to get to know the various features your new international conference calling plan offers as well as how to use them. Spend time exploring your online account management dashboard, read any tutorials or quick start guides offered, and set up a test call. By getting to know your international conference calling plan in advance, you’ll be less likely to stumble when you need to make your first conference call.

Don’t worry, international conference calling is easy to learn and use. Spend a few minutes getting acquainted.

Plan Your Conference Call in Advance

Whether you’ve moderated hundreds of global conference calls or are about ready to host your first one, planning your call in advance is advisable. Think about what the call’s purpose is, what needs to be discussed, and who needs to attend. By determining these three crucial points, you can then figure out how much time to allot for the call (based on the purpose and discussion points) as well as which countries will be involved in the call (based on who needs to attend).

Allotting sufficient time for the call is smart as you must manage costs and be respectful of your participants’ time. Ideally, you’ll want to stay within your budgeted timeframe without going overtime.

Identifying the countries involved in your international conference call helps you to schedule the call so that it’s as convenient as possible for the bulk of your participants. You can also use your country list to see if it makes sense to use moderator dial out to some countries. Some countries have dramatically higher rates for callers to call into your global conference call than it would cost for you to dial them directly. Look up your international conference calling plan’s rates for each country and choose moderator dial out where it makes sense. You can set up automatic dial out to these participants. At the appointed time, the system will dial them and connect them to your teleconference.

Take Advantage of Your Plan’s Tools and Features

Once the global conference call begins and all participants are on the line, begin your conference. While you could conduct the call successfully from this point forward, your international conference calling plan has several tools and features that can enhance the conference. Make sure to use them!

For example, what if one of your participants calls into the call from a noisy environment and doesn’t know how to, or has trouble with, mute the phone? Instead of subjecting all participants to background noise, you can mute the participant’s noisy line. You can also mute all participants’ lines except yours when you speak if desired. This is ideal for teleconferences where the moderator presents content to an audience of listeners.

Your international conference call can also be recorded for future use if desired. Create an MP3 recording of your call with just a few mouse clicks in your online conference call management dashboard. After the call completes, you can use the MP3 recording as you see fit. For example, you could make it available to participants who were unable to attend the call live, you could create a podcast, you could post it on your internal website for your employees to listen to at their leisure, and more. Many global conference call users use conference calls to create information products and then sell their MP3 recordings to interested parties.

If you need help during your international conference call, a live operator can help. Make sure to take advantage of operator assistance as needed. By handing off a problem to the operator, you can resume your presentation. For example, if a participant has emailed you informing you that for some reason she cannot connect to the conference, you could have the operator attempt to connect her to the call. This way, the teleconference is not unduly delayed due to a small hiccup affecting just one caller.

Holding a global conference call is a great way to communicate with participants located all over the world. It is also extremely affordable. With a pay-as-you-go international conference calling plan, you can hold conference calls as often as needed without minimum usage requirements. Make the most of your plan by taking the time to get to know it, planning your calls, and taking advantage of the tools and features available to you.

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International Conference Calling for Healthcare Professionals

Conference calls for Health Care Professionals
Conference calls for Health Care Professionals

International Conference Calling for Healthcare Professionals

International conference calling is an important tool for healthcare providers around the world. Whether you’re a hospital administrator, doctor, nurse, dentist, chiropractor, researcher, insurance professional, or lab technician, international conference calling allows for cost-effective global collaboration no matter where you, your patients and your colleagues happen to be located.

What is International Conference Calling?

International conference calling is conference calling for participants located around the globe. While your facility may have a sophisticated phone system with conference calling capabilities, international conference calling brings its own set of challenges that your hospital PBX is not likely set up to handle.

For example, if multiple participants are located in different countries, many will have difficulty dialing an international phone number. International long distance fees may also be a concern, potentially stopping some participants from calling. While you could give participants your toll free number, it won’t work internationally, eliminating that as an option.

With international conference calling, these issues are handled. First, you’ll need to sign up for an international conference calling plan with a telecommunications service provider. Don’t worry, international conference calling plans are available on a pay-as-you-go, no contract basis with low per minute rates to hundreds of countries.

Once you have a plan, you can set up international teleconferences easily using an online account management dashboard. Simply select a time and date and schedule the call. You’ll be given a list of international phone numbers to distribute to attendees. If you opt for a toll free international conference calling, each participant can dial a toll free access code that will work in their countries. No matter which international phone number each participant is given, all will be connected to the conference calling “bridge” where an auto attendant will prompt them to access the conference call’s PIN number (which will be provided to them with the phone number). From there, your international conference call begins.

Is Conference Calling Still Relevant in the Instant Messaging Age?

Conference calling is a tried-and-true technology that continues to be relevant despite instant messaging, email, and video chats. There’s no need for anyone to use a computer in order to participate in a teleconference. In some countries, your colleagues may have limited access to the Internet, making Web-based conferences impossible. In addition, if you intend to hold a conference with a large group, using conference calling is the easiest option that can accommodate a huge number of participants.

Ideas for Using International Conference Calls in the Healthcare Industry

There are many terrific potential uses for international conference calling in the healthcare industry. Below are just a few ideas of how you might be able to connect with colleagues in a teleconference:

Consult with specialists – Do you have a patient with an unusual condition? You could hold an international conference call with leading specialists from around the world and get your questions answered. Likewise, if one of your patients is overseas and suffers a medical emergency, you could consult with his or her doctors as needed using an international teleconference.

Hold training sessions or workshops – Teleconferences are a great way to exchange knowledge. Whether you need to discuss new medications, sales techniques, practice management concepts, or insurance billing, an international conference call could be an effective medium for bringing a diverse group together.

Collaborate with healthcare professionals around the world – Traveling to other countries and touring healthcare facilities has its value, but it also has its costs both in terms of time and money. By using international conference calling, you can continue learning about other countries’ healthcare systems in an intimate, but less expensive, setting.

Speak with other researchers – Compare notes with other researchers no matter where in the world they may be. Whether your colleagues are conducting field research or you want to reach out to other experts, holding an international conference call is a cost-effective way to connect with others.

Stay connected with your team when traveling beyond borders – Whether you’re in Haiti on a humanitarian mission or in Italy on vacation, international conference calls allow you to speak with two or more team members from around the world.

Not only can you use international conference calling for global collaboration in a variety of scenarios, you can also record your teleconferences for future reference or use. You could use MP3 recordings of the call to refresh your memory, have the recordings transcribed, or make them available to your colleagues as appropriate. Recordings are also useful for training-related conferences because everyone can hear the same material both now and in the future.

Using an international conference call is easy, cost-effective, and beneficial to healthcare professionals who need to communicate with others around the world. How will you put international conference calling to good use?

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How to Keep Your International Conference Call on Track

Keep Conference Calls on Track
Keep Conference Calls on Track

How to Keep Your International Conference Call on Track

When it comes to international conference calling, your calls can easily run over your allotted time. Not only can individual speakers dominate the conversation or send the conversation off track, questions and answers sessions at the end of a global collaboration call can quickly gobble up valuable conference calling time.

While you certainly want to answer everyone’s questions, international conference calls that continue beyond the scheduled timeframe can quickly become more expensive than planned for. After all, you pay per participant, per minute.

In addition, participants may be reluctant to join future international conference calls based on fears that their time won’t be respected. Keeping your budget intact and your participants willing to join you in the future requires managing your international conference call to keep it on track.

Create a Global Collaboration Agenda

In order to stay on track, you will need a solid plan for the international conference call. The best approach is to create a global collaboration agenda and map out every topic you want to discuss. Your agenda could be as formal or informal as you need it to be.

For example, you may prefer to keep it simple by listing topics of discussions and assigning time limits to each one such as the following:

• Introductions / icebreakers – five minutes
• Discuss sales figures for quarter 1 − ten minutes
• Brainstorm ideas for increasing sales – ten minutes
• Training opportunities – five minutes
• Company news – five minutes
• Questions and answers – ten minutes

If you prefer more details, your global collaboration agenda could include the names of individual speakers, descriptions, and exact times such as the following:

8:00am – Introductions / icebreakers: Nancy introduces herself and asks each participant, one by one, to do the same.

8:05am – Discuss sales figures for quarter 1: Bob presents first quarter sales figures for the company as a whole. Recognizes Region 2 for top sales performance.

8:15am – Brainstorm ideas for increasing sales: Nancy guides the team through brainstorming session.

8:25am – Training opportunities: John from HR introduces new online learning portal and recommends the social media selling course for each regional manager.

8:30am – Company news: Nancy discusses pending acquisition, reassures team that it’s a beneficial move that brings more opportunities for personal growth.

8:35am – Questions and answers: Nancy and Bob to field questions.

8:45am – international conference call ends.

No matter how detailed you prefer to make your international conference calling agenda, the  most important task is to identify the topics and allot sufficient time for each one.

Share Your Agenda with Participants

Agendas are valuable planning tools for international conference call moderators. However, they’re also useful for your call’s participants. If, in the example above, Nancy were to keep her agenda to herself, Bob and John might not realize that they’re expected to discuss first quarter sales results and training opportunities.

In fact, they’ll likely arrive unprepared because it’s impossible to read Nancy’s mind. Bob may need to excuse himself for a few minutes to find, download, and briefly analyze the latest sales figures. Meanwhile, John, who’s on the spot and unprepared, may discuss the wrong training program.

By sharing her agenda with Bob and John, Nancy is taking another proactive step to ensure that the global collaboration call moves efficiently from one topic to the next and that the exact topics she wants to address are discussed.

In addition to sharing the conference’s agenda with other speakers, consider sharing it with all participants in advance. This gives them a chance to prepare as well, and it shows them how their conference call time will be spent.

Use a Timer during the Conference Call

Use either a stopwatch or a timer during the conference call to ensure that each topic stays within its allotted time period. As the call’s moderator, you should take an active role in managing the call. For example, Nancy might prompt Bob that he has two minutes left to wrap up his presentation by saying, “Bob, this is fascinating.

You have about two minutes left. Would you mind telling us which region had the most sales this quarter and how other regions might emulate their success?”

Allow for Questions and Answers

Scheduling time for questions and answers at the end of an international conference call provides participants with the opportunity to ask questions. It also allows you to revisit topics that may not have had enough time to explore thoroughly earlier.

Make sure to schedule a Q&A session into each international conference call. Doing so gives you a little extra padding should your call run longer than expected. At the same time, if there are no questions, or if the Q&A session ends early, you can release participants from the call a few minutes early. No one appreciates a meeting that runs long, but most everyone appreciates getting out early.

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Virtual Team Collaboration with an International Conference Call

Virtual Team Collaboration
Virtual Team Collaboration

Virtual Team Collaboration with an International Conference Call

As part of a virtual team, you may be called upon to work with people scattered across a wide geographic area. When that area crosses international borders, simple phone calls suddenly become more complicated. Hosting an international conference call is one way to facilitate global collaboration amongst your globally diverse team. Here’s a quick look at how you can use international conference calling without spending a fortune.

  • Start by signing up for an international conference calling plan. These plans are available on a no-contract, pay-as-you-go basis. By choosing a no-contract plan, you have the flexibility you need without getting locked into a yearly service that you may or may not need.
  • Schedule an international conference call. You can schedule your calls in advance or hold an impromptu international conference call if desired. Once your call is scheduled, you’ll need to let your virtual team members know which phone number to call in order to join the conference. With an international conference call, participants receive a local or toll free number to call that is specific to their countries. This addresses several concerns your team members may have about joining an international conference call. For example, the phone number will be local to each individual; no one needs an operator to help them connect to your call. In addition, your team members won’t need to worry about incurring expensive international long distance charges on their personal phones (the host of a toll free international conference call call typically pays for the call).
  • Hold the international conference call. At the appointed time, everyone dials their assigned phone number, enters an access code, and collaborates. Optionally, you can set up the system to automatically dial participants. Moderator dial out features are useful in several ways. For example, not only can you preprogram participants’ phone numbers into the system and initiate automatic dial out, you can also dial some participants individually in order to take advantage of lower per minute calling rates. This simple act could save you nearly 20 cents per minute depending on the countries involved. Moderator dial out also helps to ensure that no one forgets about the call.

In addition to selecting an international conference calling plan on a no-contract, pay-as-you-go basis, you can reduce your global collaboration costs by actively managing your conference. Use the tips below to squeeze the most value out of each international conference call you host.

1 Create and follow an agenda. Agendas are a terrific time management tool that help keep meetings and teleconferences on track. Using an agenda forces you to determine what to discuss and how long to discuss it. In order for an agenda to keep a teleconference from going over its time limit, you must actively follow it. Use a stopwatch, clock, or timer to time each segment of your international conference call. When the time limit is reached, move to the next agenda item. Leave a few minutes at the end of the teleconference for questions or to further discuss items that ran out of time.

2 Invite the right people. Because you pay for an international conference call per minute, per participant, you’ll want to make sure that you’re inviting the right people to attend. While your virtual team may consist of 20 members, is it necessary for the entire team to join every conference call you hold? For example, if you need to hold a conference call to brainstorm ideas for your company blog, your accountant, office manager, and legal advisor may not need to attend.

3 Record your teleconferences. If you decide that it’s not necessary for every team member to join your live international conference call, consider recording the call and making it available to the other team members to listen to at their leisure. Call recordings are also useful for participants who missed the live call or who live in time zones where live attendance would have been impractical.

4 Ask participants to use landlines rather than mobile phones. Calling rates are generally less expensive for traditional landlines than they are from mobile phones. If your virtual team is on a budget, asking participants to call from a landline instead of a cell phone is one way to reduce your call’s cost. You can check rates online to see which countries have the largest gap between landline and mobile phone rates.

Global collaboration using an international conference call is an affordable way for virtual teams to communicate. Affordable, no-contract plans are available loaded with desirable conferencing features including moderator dial out and MP3 call recording. How will your virtual team put international conference call to good use?

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Using an International Conference Call – Global Collaboration Made Easy

Global Conference Calling
Global Conference Calling

Using an International Conference Call – Global Collaboration Made Easy

Do you need to brainstorm ideas, go over project work, or introduce new products to a group of two or more people around the world? With the help of a low-cost international conference call, global collaboration is a simple matter of dialing a local or toll free number, entering an access code, and speaking with your collaborators.

Not sure you need an international conference call for global collaboration thanks to your phone system’s conference calling feature? While many corporate phone systems have complex PBX systems loaded with calling features, including conferencing, challenges arise when your collaborators are located around the world. For example, if your main phone number is an American 800 number, your collaborators located outside of North America won’t be able to connect using that 800 number. Sure, you could give them the standard local phone number to dial, but it will be unconventional looking to international callers accustomed to their own country’s dialing conventions. Plus, your callers will likely be concerned about the potential long distance costs they’re likely to incur.

How International Conference Calling Works

With an international conference call – global collaboration plan, you can overcome these challenges. With an international conference call, each country involved in the call a unique phone number for participants to dial into the conference. For example, your participants located in Italy will dial either a local Italian phone number or a toll free number for Italy while your participants in India will dial an Indian local phone number or toll free number for India. Local or toll free access depends on how you set up your international conference call.

Global collaboration using local numbers is one option. However, participants could still incur toll charges when dialing a local phone number in their country. For example, in a large city such as Los Angeles, dozens of calling regions exist as do multiple area codes. Simply ordering a Los Angeles phone number doesn’t guarantee that it will be local to your Los Angeles participants. With that in mind, most businesses opt for toll free international conference call – global collaboration plans.

There are hundreds of toll free access numbers to countries around the world. If your international conference call – global collaboration plan does not have a toll free number for one of your collaborator’s countries, an easy workaround is available: moderator dial out. Moderator dial out allows you to dial a given participant, or group of participants, directly. Their phones ring and they are connected to the international conference call. Global collaboration really is as easy as that!

Estimating Your international conference call Costs

As the host of the international conference call, global collaboration costs are billed to your account. In general, you will incur costs on a per participant, per minute basis. Per minute rates vary based on the country of each participant. For example, rates for callers located in the United States will be much lower than for callers located in the Philippines. Another factor that influences the rate charged for a given participant is whether or not the caller dialed from a mobile phone or landline as calling costs for the different phone types can vary.

You can look up international conference call calling rates to get a better idea of how much you will pay per minute for each caller based on the caller’s country. From there, you can estimate the cost of your overseas conference call if desired.

The cost of your international conference call is far less expensive than holding a face-to-face meeting. Holding an international conference call meeting is much easier, too. With a low-cost international conferencing plan, you can collaborate with others as needed with minimal hassles and dramatically lower costs.

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Tips for Better Communication during an International Conference Call

Conference Call Tips for the Moderator
Conference Call Tips

International collaboration using a conference call is a cost effective choice that allows you to accomplish many tasks without the high cost of travel. For example, you can negotiate deals, conduct training, conduct creative brainstorming sessions, get feedback, conduct research, and much more with an international conference call. Just about anything you can do face-to-face, you can do on a teleconference. However, with audio-only conference calls, you may miss non-verbal cues such as facial expressions. In addition, not all callers will recognize one another’s voices. Use these tips to enhance communications during an international conference call.

  • Ask each participant to announce their names and departments before speaking – While you may recognize Glen from accounting’s voice, other participants might not. Asking each participant to quickly say their name and department or job role before they speak helps give context to their comments.
  • Use active listening techniques – Some participants may be difficult to hear or understand for any number of reasons. As the moderator of the international conference call, part of your job is to ensure that everyone is heard and understood. If the sound is muffled or a person’s accent heavy, it’s helpful to repeat what you believe was said and ask the speaker to confirm. For example, you might say, “Barbara from our San Diego logistics office just said our freight contract expires in two weeks. Did I hear that correctly Barbara?”
  • Allow a few minutes for questions and answers at the end – At the end of the international conference call, open up the meeting for questions and answers. As you wrap up the call, thank participants. You might even leave the lines unmuted for a few minutes, allowing for a little friendly banter which builds a sense of camaraderie.

Many international conference calls suffer needlessly because of telephone system quality issues. Many communications problems can be avoided by choosing an international conference calling plan known for quality connections.

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Strategies to inspire attendance of International Conference Calls

International business people communicate via global conference calls
Inspire Global Conference Call Attendees

Strategies to inspire attendance of International Conference Calls

Hosting an international conference call involves more than signing up for a teleconferencing account, scheduling the conference, and inviting participants. It also means keeping conference call attendees engaged and interested. If you’ve ever attended a boring or useless conference call, you know the pitfalls of poor planning. Use these tips to plan an engaging international conference call.

  • Determine what you want to accomplish before you schedule the call. By planning your topics beforehand, you’ll have a better idea of how much time you need. If you only need 20 minutes to accomplish the goal of the international conference call, schedule accordingly. Your participants would prefer a short, on-task meeting over an overly long one with no clear direction.
  • Create and distribute an agenda for the call in advance. Again, your attendees will appreciate knowing what to expect and how much time they’ll be required to invest in the teleconference. The agenda will also be helpful for potential attendees to determine if their attendance is necessary.
  • Adhere to the agenda’s topics and time limits. If you’ve designated 10 minutes for an individual to speak on a given topic, you may need to jump in if the speaker goes over the allotted time period. As the moderator of the call, it’s your job to moderate the pace of the call. If a speaker doesn’t use up the entire allotment, you can either use that time for questions and answers or wrap up the call a few minutes early. It’s helpful to have a list of alternate topics to discuss if time allows.
  • Use icebreakers at the beginning of the call. With an international conference call, you’ll have participants from around the globe. A quick icebreaker game or a short round of introductions can be fun and interesting to callers. For larger groups, individual introductions are time-prohibitive. In this case, a few shout outs, such as “We have callers from Hong Kong, Canada, London, and South Africa.” If you’re using the chat tool in conjunction with your international conference call, you could also prompt attendees to enter their names and locations in the chat box.
  • Offer an incentive to stay on the conference call. Staying on task and delivering relevant content are vital to your teleconference’s success. However, people often sneak out toward the end of the call for any number of reasons. One way to keep them tuned in is to offer an incentive at the end. It could be as simple as randomly awarding a $10 Starbucks card or offering a special offer on a product of interest to your attendees.

With advance planning and a solid agenda, your next international conference call can be a resounding success!

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Engaging International Conference Call Attendees

International Conference Call Hosting
International Conference Call Hosting

Engaging International Conference Call Attendees

Holding an international conference call can be a one-to-many experience with the call’s host doing most of the talking or it can be much more collaborative. In either case, the success of the call often relies on how engaged attendees are. For example: Is the content relevant to them? Is the pace appropriate? And do attendees have the opportunity to share their thoughts or ask questions? Use the tips below to create a more engaging international conference call:

  • Prepare all participants – Everyone should understand the purpose of the call as well as their individual roles. Create and share the conference call’s agenda in advance so that all participants can prepare accordingly. If you expect individuals to contribute, let them know so that they understand your expectations and can arrive prepared. For example, if you expect the graphic designer to share three concepts during the call, the designer may want to upload PDF files of the design to a file-sharing site in advance so that the files are readily available to call participants during the teleconference.
  • Acknowledge attendees throughout the teleconference – You certainly don’t want to feel as though you are talking to an empty room; and your attendees don’t want to feel as though they’re not present. One way to avoid this is to use the interactive chat feature included in your international conferencing account. For example, you might encourage attendees to enter their questions in the chat box. If you do, have a co-moderator monitor the chat. Your co-moderator may be able to answer some of the questions in real time. Likewise, the most relevant questions can be selected to discuss during the Q&A section.
  • Respect everyone’s time – Finally, a bored audience is a disengaged audience. Keep your teleconference on task and relevant. Stick to its agenda and end the call on time – if not earlier if you’ve accomplished everything earlier than expected.

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How Do Companies Use International Conference Calling

International Conference Call Sales Tool
Conference Call Sales Tool

How Do Companies Use International Conference Calling?

Companies use international conference calls for all kinds of purposes. For some, the international conference call is a cheap way to keep virtual teams connected. For others, teleconferences are a convenient way to share ideas with a global audience. Some sales professionals use conference calls to pitch their products or negotiate deals. The possibilities are endless. Below are a few ways that businesses of all types have used international conferencing:

  • School is in session – Virtual schools, charter schools, colleges, and other educational institutions often use teleconferences as part of their distance learning programs. For example, students may be required to attend weekly teleconferences where they’ll be able to hear the instructor’s lecture, get their assignments for the week, and have the opportunity to ask questions. Schools also use international conference calling for administrative purposes such as staff meetings and as alternatives to in-person meetings.
  • Legal proceedings – Court reporters, lawyers, and litigation support services firms often use international conference calling to conduct some legal proceedings. Not only does doing so eliminate travel, it’s possible to record conference calls and the calling plan can create an accurate record of who was present during the call.
  • Board meetings – From charitable organizations to Fortune 500 companies, many businesses use international conference calls to hold virtual board meetings with attendees scattered around the world. This saves on travel expenses while accomplishing the agenda items.
  • Mentoring and coaching – Many businesses and entrepreneurs use teleconferences to mentor and coach others. One of the benefits of using an international conference call to host a mentoring or coaching session involves recording the call for later use. Not only can the original attendees benefit from the session, future ones can listen to the call and receive the same information.

These are but a few of the many ways that businesses use international conferencing. How will you use your international conference calling plan?

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Conference Calling and the Virtual Team

Virtual International Conference Team
Virtual Conference Team

Conference Calling and the Virtual Team

Virtual teams are made up of team members who typically work independently of one another. Some team members may work from home while others might work in various branch offices. Some may even belong to other companies. For example, a virtual team of volunteers coordinating a charity even may have team members from multiple organizations.

While face-to-face team or committee meetings are often held, they can also be impractical especially if the team is scattered across a large geographic distance. To solve this problem and facilitate communication, many virtual teams use international conference calling.

With conference calling, each person simply dials a designated phone number, enters an access code, and begins collaborating. No one needs to travel, and the international conference call can be as long or short as necessary. In addition to these obvious benefits, conference calling also allows for:

  • Call recording – By recording the call, individuals can go back and listen to it as needed. In addition, the call recording can be used as “meeting minutes” or be transcribed. Absent team members can listen to the call after the fact. Superiors and colleagues could also be invited to listen to the call after if appropriate.
  • Collaboration and team building – While email solves many communications challenges, it doesn’t necessarily build camaraderie. By holding regular conference calls, virtual team members can get to know each other on a more personal basis.
  • Anytime, anywhere conferences – With a pay-as-you-go teleconferencing plan, you can hold virtual team meetings anytime, day or night. There’s no need to preschedule your conference, allowing you to hold impromptu conference calls as needed.

Virtual team members often have conflicting work schedules, especially when working across multiple time zones. While some international conference calls may require some participants to attend at odd hours, they can do so from their homes or other remote locations. There’s no need to dress up, either.

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Top Four International Conferencing Features

Four Most Important Features
Four Most Important Features

Top Four International Conferencing Features

If you have an international conferencing plan, you also have a host of features that you may or may not know about. The following four conferencing features are among the most useful. Use them to control the cost of your international teleconference, find out who is in attendance, record your conference for later use, and eliminate background noise.

  • Moderator Dial-out – Moderator dial-out allows you to dial participants directly rather than requiring them to dial into the international conference call. While you may not want to do this for every single attendee, it makes sense to do it for some. For example, dial-out rates are typically less expensive than toll free charges. If a participant lives in an expensive country, it could make sense to dial that participant directly. You can even preschedule dial-out and let the international conferencing plan dial a group of attendees simultaneously.
  • MP3 Call Recording – Recording your teleconference provides you with options later on. For example, you can share your MP3 recording with participants who were unable to attend the live call or who want to re-listen to the call. You could even repurpose the audio by using it as the basis of a podcast or informational product.
  • Attendance Tracking – Most international conferencing dashboards provide you with a real-time display of the conference call – including a list of attendees. Use this feature to document attendance.
  • Background Noise Control – Did you know that you can mute noisy callers? In some cases, you may want only one line open, the line of the person currently speaking. In others, you may want everyone’s line open so that the entire team can brainstorm ideas. While you can instruct everyone of how to mute and unmute their phones as needed, inevitably someone will forget. When this happens, distracting background noises such as computer chimes, ringing telephones, nearby chitchat, and even barking dogs disrupt the conference. The responsible caller may be unaware of the problem (or may even have stepped away from the phone). As the moderator, you can identify the source of the noise and mute it directly from your account dashboard.

These international conferencing features are easy to use, and they deliver important benefits. Make sure you know how to use them before your next international conference call.

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The Benefits of Recording Conference Calls

Record Conference Calls
Record Conference Calls

The Benefits of Recording Conference Calls

Recording conference calls is a simple matter of clicking a button in your conference calling dashboard (if this feature is offered by your service provider). While you may not have given much thought to this feature, there are many benefits to recording conference calls. Below are just a few creative ideas to prompt you to click that button the next time you host a conference call.

  • You can include participants who were unable to attend the live event. By recording conference calls, you make it possible for those with schedule conflicts to listen in after the fact. For example, if you held a conference call and one of your law firm’s attorneys could not attend because she was in court all day, she could listen to the call later that night, the following day, or at some point in the near future. Recording conference calls allows absentee participants to receive the full value of the teleconference despite schedule conflicts. This also reduces your burden because you do not need to rehash everything that was discussed.
  • You can use conference calls to create reusable resources. Conference calls are often used for training purposes. By recording these teleconferences, you can reuse them indefinitely. Not only can this save time and resources, it also ensures that future trainees receive the same exact training and guidance that the original participants received.
  • Participants can listen at their leisure. By recording conference calls, you can offer participants a convenient option for receiving information. Not only can they choose when to listen to the recording, they can do so from virtually anywhere. MP3 recordings, for example, can be downloaded onto portable music players. Your participants could listen to your conference call while jogging, working out at the gym, or commuting to or from the office.
  • You can create podcasts with a conference call. While you may see your conference calling plan as an internal communications tool, your marketing team may see other possibilities. For example, you could create podcasts by recording conference calls and saving them as MP3 files. From there, you can upload them to iTunes or your website if desired. You could even create a series of audio recordings for a paid membership site.

Recording conference calls creates a valuable, reusable resource that you can use time and time again. You can use your MP3 conference call recordings internally or create podcasts for a wider audience. The possibilities are endless!

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