Planning an international conference call can be challenging when participants are scattered across North America, Europe, and Asia due to the different time zones and languages involved.
When planning an international conference call with multiple countries and large time differences, you will need to make some important decisions.
Determine Who Really Needs to Attend the International Conference Call
The first step is to identify all of the key people who need to attend the conference call. At this point, don’t include those whose attendance would be helpful but is not mandatory. By focusing on the key attendees, you will have a better idea of the main countries involved.
For example, you may find that most of your key attendees aren’t as scattered as expected which could simplify the rest of your planning. On the other hand, if you find that your key people are located across Europe, North America, and Asia, this confirms that you will need to plan your international conference call’s time in such a manner that makes the most sense for the majority of key participants.
Decide on the Most Appropriate Language
An international conference call with participants from Europe, North American, and Asia will likely involve speakers of multiple languages including English, Spanish, French, Italian, Chinese, Japanese, Portuguese, German, and more. Which language will be spoken during the call? Will you provide translators? Does it make sense to hold several different calls to accommodate the different languages of the participants? Is there a single language common to all?
After deciding on the language, make sure to communicate the international conference call’s language requirement to all participants along with any alternatives (such as post-call translations, MP3 recordings, or transcripts) that you may have decided on. You may also want to suggest the use of translators to those who are not fluent in the designated language.
Consider Pre-Conference Call Strategies
In order to minimize disruptions and maximize the time you have on your international conference call, think about what you can do before the call. For example, is it possible to record a pre-conference announcement?
Using your international conference calling plan’s MP3 recording tool, you could record a conversation between a few key participants and distribute that recording to your participants to listen to before the scheduled international conference call.
This would provide participants with background information that they could listen to at their leisure as well as allow for either a shorter live call or time for more in-depth discussions.
Distribute Country-Specific International Conference Call Access Numbers
Another challenge involves dialing international phone numbers and sky-high international calling costs. You can circumvent this problem by using an international conference calling service that issues country-specific access numbers and has low international long distance rates. You can also use toll free international conference call numbers.
Either way, each caller in each country would dial a country-specific access number to connect to the international conference call. Callers in Spain would dial a Spanish phone number while those in the United States would dial one specific to the USA.
Because these phone numbers conform to their country’s calling conventions, there’s no need for operator assistance and no unfounded fears associated with calling someone in another country. By issuing toll-free international conference call numbers, you’ll eliminate cost concerns completely.
Communicate Call Details as Clearly as Possible
If you have just a few participants in Europe, USA, and Asia, it’s not overly difficult to calculate the call’s start time and date in local time for each participant. However, the more participants and the more countries involved, the more difficult this task becomes. Make sure to communicate the call’s time and date in UTC time and provide participants with a link to a UTC time converter so that they can find out the call’s actual time in local time.
Planning an international conference call with participants in Europe, North America, and Asia – and beyond – is challenging. That said, it’s far easier and much less expensive to hold a global teleconference than it is for everyone involved to travel to an international meeting. Use international conference calls and stay connected without excessive costs.