Though newer technologies such as email and online collaboration tools have emerged, they haven’t completely replaced international collaboration by phone — nor should they. In fact, these technologies can work together.
For example, email and online file sharing tools are fantastic for sharing files or quickly leaving a message despite time zone differences. They’re less attractive, however, for brainstorming, discussing complex topics, and communicating important missives.
In addition, email discussions can take days, if not weeks, to move forward. When real-time dialogues need to occur, international collaboration by phone is the way to go.
Benefits of International Collaboration by Phone
International collaboration by phone allows team members to discuss projects, brainstorm ideas, clarify instructions, and much more in real time. With a phone call, misunderstandings can be avoided.
For example, verbal cues, such as voice inflection or tone, are absent in email and online discussion boards yet readily available in phone conversations. At the same time, international collaboration by phone is incredibly efficient. The conversation takes place, questions are answered, tasks assigned, and the next meeting scheduled.
Considerations When Collaborating Internationally
First, you’ll need a means for international team members to connect on the phone. We recommend using an international conference call service. With such a service, you can issue country-specific local or toll free phone numbers for participants to dial into the conference room.
For example, Americans would dial a toll-free number for USA while Australians and Chinese callers would dial Australian and Chinese toll free phone numbers. All would be connected to the same conference room regardless of the number they dialed to get in.
Next, you’ll want to schedule a convenient time for international collaboration by phone. This isn’t always possible when participants live around the globe. However, if your team regularly collaborates by phone, you can rotate conference call times and let each team member serve as the “host.”
Call quality is another major consideration. Interference, dropouts, static, tinny sound quality, and delays are unacceptable. Look for an international conference call service that uses a global PSTN network for the best sound quality possible.
Another consideration involves international conference calling costs. International collaboration by phone is a cost-effective choice, but it does incur costs. You can contain these costs by choosing a pay-as-you conference calling plan with no minimum usage requirements or monthly fees.
Another way to contain costs is to use the service’s moderator dial out feature to dial participants directly. This is especially useful when some participants live in countries with high international calling rates. By using the dial out feature, the call will be billed at the much lower dial out rate.
Your team should know when it makes the most sense to use each international collaboration tool available. Consider issuing guidelines describing which collaboration tool to use under which circumstances.
International collaboration by phone is a straightforward and affordable choice for real-time communications. A number of cost-effective international conference calling plans are available including pay-as-you-go plans with no monthly fees, long term contracts, or minimum usage requirements.