Planning a global conference call? Whether you’re hosting international conference calls with over 100 participants or just a handful, planning your call is the key to success. Use this global conference call checklist to ensure that nothing is left to chance.
✓ Determine the goal of the global conference call. A successful conference call is a focused conference call. Long before you schedule the conference, you should know exactly what you want to achieve. This will drive everything from who you invite to what’s on the agenda.
✓ Choose a reliable, high quality global conference call service provider. Next, you’ll need a means of conducting the teleconference. While you may have a conference room and a reasonably equipped phone system, global conference calls are tricky to pull off without a dedicated service. For starters, your phone system may be able to handle just a few callers at once. Hence, many international companies choose to ‘outsource’ their global conferencing needs to a third party service that specializes in overseas conference calls.
In addition, international calling costs could deter some participants from calling in. With a global conference call service provider, participants can dial local or toll free phone numbers to reach the conference room. Make sure to choose a global conference call provider that offers the highest quality connections such as PSTN network connections rather than VoIP.
✓ Get familiar with the conference calling tools available to you. As the moderator of the call, you will be responsible for the behind-the-scenes technical details. For example, you may notice that there’s a lot of background noise coming from one participant’s phone line during the call. By familiarizing yourself with the tools in advance, you’ll know how to mute that caller’s line with minimal disruption to the conference.
✓ Create your participant list. Create a detailed list of the global conference call’s participants. Include name, position/department, phone number, and country. Evaluate this list against your goal for the call to make sure that you are inviting the right people.
✓ Evaluate possible times for your global conference call. Again, look at your list of participants. Which countries are involved? Which time zones have the most participants? Which times would be convenient for the majority of the group?
✓ Decide whether to provide local or toll free access. The goal of your call as well as its audience will play a role in whether to provide toll free access. For example, if the call is a sales presentation to international customers and prospects, then toll free access is a must.
On the other hand, if participants are from your branch offices, a local number may be just fine. Your global conference call service provider will provide you with the appropriate access numbers for participants around the globe. Make sure to choose a service provider that supports the countries involved.
✓ Decide whether you want to record the call. Most conference calling services include a way to record the overseas conference call. You can record the call for your own purposes or make the recording available to others after the fact. For example, if the conference call is a training call, future trainees can listen to the original call in the future.
✓ Identify participants who live in countries with the highest calling rates. Rates vary from country to country, with some countries being dramatically more expensive than others. If you have some participants in these high-cost countries, consider dialing them directly using the global conference call service’s dial out feature which usually has much lower costs. You may even be able to preprogram numbers and dial times.
✓ Create an agenda for the global conference call. Next, review your goals for the call and create a timed agenda. If others will be presenting, communicate with them and let them know how much time they’ve been allotted and the topic you’d like them to address.
✓ Recruit a co-moderator. It’s helpful to have a co-moderator during the global conference call. Your co-moderator can take notes, keep track of time, and help participants who may be having technical difficulties.
✓ Invite attendees. Next, it’s time to invite your participants. Your invitation should include all of the pertinent details such as the time and date of the call (expressed in local time), access numbers and PIN codes, goal of the call, agenda, and who to contact should they have any trouble (your co-moderator or the global conference call service provider’s 24/7 operator).
✓ Conduct the call. Finally, it’s time to conduct the global conference call. Having already done all of the above, you should be well prepared and ready for a successful teleconference.