After all, you want to come across as polite and professional, right? An international conference call brings with it a few additional challenges including some that are unique to the medium such as muting and unmuting the line as needed.
Use the tips below to mind your international conference call manners.
1. Learn how to use the international conference calling system in advance. In general, international conference calling involves using regular and mobile phones, a telephone number, and an access code or PIN.
You don’t need any fancy software or equipment. However, you should be familiar with how to mute and unmute your phone line so that you can block out any distracting noises from your environment while someone else is speaking. If you are the moderator of the call, you will have more features available to you; make sure to learn them before the international conference call and not during it.
2. Remember that you represent your entire organization. Whether you are hosting an international conference call or participating in one, you may be the only person representing your organization.
Your demeanor reflects the entire organization. Even if your role in the call is minor, how you present yourself is of utmost importance.
3. Use professional, clear language. One of the biggest problems associated with international conference calls involves language. After all, participants come from around the globe.
Not only should you use professional language and avoid profanity and slang, you should also try to be as clear as possible. Your international colleagues may not be familiar with expressions and colloquialisms common to your culture.
4. Avoid humor and controversial topics. Humor is hard enough to pull off with participants from within your own country, and even more so with an international crowd.
It is too easy for a seemingly harmless joke to turn offensive or insulting. Politics and religion are also extremely touchy subjects and should be avoided.
5. Be on time – if not early. Being on time shows other participants that you are prompt, reliable, and respectful of their time. Ideally, you should be dialed in, connected, and ready to begin several minutes before the official start time.
Go ahead and dial in five minutes before the conference begins and enjoy some light reading while you wait. This ensures that you’re on time and ready. In addition, you may have the opportunity to chat with other participants before the international conference call officially begins.
This is a great way to build rapport with other participants with whom you may not have the opportunity to speak with one-on-one.
Another reason to be on time is that you don’t want to miss anything. If you’re a participant, the international conference call will start with or without you and you’ll miss out.
On the other hand, of you’re the call’s moderator and you’re not on time, your participants are likely to be upset and unlikely to hang around for more than a minute or two for you to arrive. They may not give you another chance to coordinate a global teleconference. Even worse, they may question your ability to meet deadlines or serve their needs.
6. Be prepared. If you’re the moderator of the international conference call, then you should have an agenda prepared and you should be prepared to keep the call on track. As a participant, you should know what your role is in the call and prepare accordingly. For example, if you’ve been asked to share feedback about a certain process or product, you should gather information well in advance of the call and outline the key points that you’d like to discuss.
7. Use mute and unmute. Teleconferences have multiple participants, each calling in from their own potentially noisy environments.
When you’re not speaking, make sure to mute your line. That way, any background noise will not interfere with the international conference call. When you need to contribute to the conversation, simply unmute your line and speak freely.
8. Pay attention to the clock. If you are the teleconference moderator, it’s up to you to manage the clock and moderate the discussion as needed to ensure that the teleconference stays within its scheduled time allotment.
If you are a participant who has been allocated a certain amount of time to speak, you’ll also want to be mindful of the clock. For example, if you’ve been allotted 5 minutes and you’ve already spoken for 10 minutes, you may need to wrap up your presentation or ask the moderator if it’s okay to speak a little longer.
Moderating or participating in an international conference call requires advanced preparation
Hosting or attending an international conference call needs some advanced thought, professionalism, and attention to detail. Be prepared, polite, and mindful of others and your next international conference call is sure to be a success.