International Conferencing Planning Tools

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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One Response to International Conferencing Planning Tools

  1. Business Development Philippines says:

    Hello, just wanted to mention, I loved this blog post.
    It was inspiring. Keep on posting! Lauren

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