After signing up for an international conference call plan, you have access to a valuable communications tool that can bring your entire global team together. While most conference calling services are generally easy to use, time differences can make scheduling a conference call challenging. Below are a few tips to help you schedule a global teleconference that accommodates most of your team.
- Identify all countries and states/provinces involved in the international conference call. Use either an Excel spreadsheet or a piece of paper to list each country that will be involved in your call. This list may be overwhelming at first, especially if you have a lot of countries involved. If you have participants from large countries such as the United States or Canada, your list will need to be broken down further into states and provinces to accommodate different time zones. At this point, don’t worry about the size of your list; it will become more manageable as you break it down into time zones.
- Use a world time zone map. GreenwichMeanTime.com has a world time zone map that you can print. Use a highlighter and mark each country. Not only will you be able to see which time zones your callers are in, you may also see clusters of callers in the same general time zone. This will make it easier to choose a time that’s most convenient for the majority of participants. Look for clusters that span an eight-hour time period as you may be able to schedule a call that occurs during business hours for all of those countries.
- Choose a convenient time of day for the majority of your participants. While your company may be based in New York, if the bulk of your international conference call participants are located in Naples, Italy, it may be best to schedule your call during normal business hours in Naples. Note that there’s a five-hour time difference between New York and Naples. This means that you could schedule an international conference call that takes place during normal business hours for both countries. In this example, a call that takes place at 9:00 AM New York time would be convenient for your Naples participants because it would be 2:00 PM local time for them.
Finally, use MP3 recording to record your international conference call so that participants who cannot participate have the option to listen in after the fact.