Delegating International Conference Call Tasks

Planning an international conference call does not need to be a one-person job. Determine which tasks you can delegate to others and then seek help from your team.

Delegating International Conference Call TasksHolding international conference calls on a regular basis can bring your global team together and improve collaboration.

However, coordinating international conference calls requires a great deal of work. Delegating some of this work can free up some of your time as well as improve participation. Use the tips below to improve your global team teleconferences.

1. Identify what tasks need to be done. Though task lists vary, some tasks are fairly common to all conference calls such as creating an agenda, scheduling the call, inviting participant’s and distributing the call’s details, recording the call and later sharing the recorded file, and keeping track of time and agenda items during the call.

Once you’ve identified each task, figure out which tasks can be automated, which ones you absolutely must handle yourself, and which tasks could be assigned to someone else.

2. Ask for volunteers. A few weeks before your next international conference call, ask for volunteers to help you coordinate it. Briefly explain what you need help with and what’s involved. For example, if you need a time keeper, explain that the time keeper will use a stopwatch to time each agenda item and will provide notice when the speaker has three minutes left to wrap up the discussion.

3. Assign a different “host” team each month. An alternative to asking for volunteers is to rotate responsibilities amongst different “host” teams each month. For example, you could put your Italian team in charge of scheduling and coordinating your team conference call in January and then have your Brazilian team do the same the following month.

By rotating responsibilities, each team could bring its own unique talents to the call and experience the various challenges involved in scheduling global teleconferences. With each team experiencing some of these challenges firsthand, you may find that teams become more accommodating and more invested in making the teleconference a success.

4. Ask for feedback. Efficient global teleconferences don’t happen by accident. They’re the result of careful planning and continuous improvement. Ask your delegates what they thought of the planning process. Ask them what they might do differently and why.

Planning an international conference call does not need to be a one-person job. Determine which tasks you can delegate to others and then seek help from your team. Doing so provides others with the opportunity to contribute to your team-building efforts and can improve participation.

It may also improve their own team communications and collaboration skills. Your team members may suggest some creative ideas that you can incorporate into your future calls as well.

Managing Time During an International Conference Call

Meetings, whether they take place in person or are held remotely, are notorious amongst participants for taking up too much time. Whether you’ve rented a conference room or are holding an international conference call, each participant likely has time constraints.

With an international conference call, each minute of your meeting impacts the meeting’s total cost as well. Plus, many participants will be calling in outside of their normal work hours, making the call an infringement on their own personal time.

Managing an international conference call’s time is respectful of your participants’ time as well as economically smart. Use the tips below to keep your next international conference call on track.

  • Hold shorter, more focused conference calls more frequently rather than “catch-all” conference calls at longer intervals. A tightly focused conference call often requires fewer participants and will have fewer agenda items. Thus, the meeting will be more relevant to those who attend, and it will take much less time than a more generalized international conference call. In addition, participants will appreciate short international conference calls that only take a few minutes each time instead of long, involved calls that require several hours of their time.
  • Limit the number of participants. The more participants on any given international conference call, the more difficult it becomes to manage both conversations and time. Consider inviting just a handful of leaders to each international conference call and then distributing a MP3 recording of the call to others who need to know the information that was presented.
  • Create a timed agenda. Holding short, tightly focused international conference calls requires staying on track. A timed agenda is a great way to ensure that your call doesn’t last longer than scheduled. If you’ve allotted 15 minutes to the call, then your agenda needs to reflect that. Write down each agenda item and assign a realistic time limit to each one. During the call, keep track of the time as you move through the agenda.
  • Share your agenda in advance. Each participant should know what to expect before the conference call so that they too can prepare. Email each participant a copy of the agenda and let everyone know what’s expected of them. For example, if you need input about a recent change, let them know that’s what you’re looking for so that they can gather their thoughts and ask their teams if they have any suggestions or feedback.
  • Start and end your international conference call on time. If you have a 15-minute teleconference scheduled and you wait five minutes for a latecomer to call in, your meeting just became a 20-minute meeting. Five minutes may not seem like much, but it is multiplied by the number of participants left waiting. Waiting for latecomers also sends a signal to those who were on time that the latecomers’ presence is valued more than theirs. Let the latecomers pay the consequence for their tardiness, not those who arrived on time. Again, you can record the call and let those who missed out catch up later.
  • Become comfortable with your international conference call service before you use it. You may want to hold a few practice calls with a co-worker before holding your first live international conference call. This can help you avoid any time-consuming mistakes.

Because conference calls are usually billed per minute and per participant, managing time can also keep your meeting within its budget. Keeping your meeting focused, following a timed agenda, being selective about who you invite, recording the call, and starting and ending your meeting on time are but a few easy steps you can take to improve your next global conference call.

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International Conference Calling Best Practices

International conferencing is notoriously difficult to coordinate, and you may be asked to call in at an unusual time of day.

International Conferencing Best Practices
International Conferencing

International Conference Calling Best Practices

Whether you will be hosting international conferencing calls or have been invited to one, an international conference call’s success depends in large part on how it’s been planned and organized as well as on the etiquette of its attendees. If you are a host, avoid holding a poorly planned teleconference by following these best practices for international conferencing hosts. If you are a participant, use the best practices tips for international conferencing attendees to ensure that you can contribute to the call’s success.

Best Practices for International Conferencing Hosts

Choose a high quality international conferencing service provider. Not all international conferencing services use high quality telecommunications networks. Poor connections, noise on the line, echoes, and other sound quality issues will adversely affect your global conference call. If the sound quality is bad enough, attendees will struggle to hear, or worse, abandon the meeting.

Schedule the international conferencing with convenience in mind. This isn’t always possible, but it should be attempted when possible. Use a world time zone map or world meeting planning tool to determine which block of time falls within business hours for most attendees.

Determine who needs to attend the call in real time. Not all international conferencing participants need to actively participate in real time. Consider who will be asked to speak and whether there will be an opportunity for questions and answers or other interactive exchanges. For example, you may decide that you want your regional sales managers present so that they can provide input and get their questions answered; however, their sales teams may not need to participate in the live call and could benefit by listening to a recording at their leisure. By limiting the call this way, you could reduce the number of participants on the call while offering them a more convenient means of obtaining the information that was discussed. This also reduces the overall cost of the call.

Treat international conferencing as you would treat a meeting. It’s helpful to create an agenda for the call and to actively monitor the call as it progresses. If you’ve allotted ten minutes to discuss a new regulation, for example, and fifteen minutes have passed, your call will likely run longer than expected unless you take action to keep the meeting on track. As the host of the call, it is your duty to keep the meeting on track.

Get familiar with the international conferencing tools available to you. For example, do you know how to mute a noisy phone line if the participant is unaware of the excess noise being blasted to the group? Do you know how to quickly and discreetly get operator assistance while running an international conference call? Do you know how to record your conference call? You may even want to practice using your international conferencing plan with a friend or colleague before you go live for the first time.

Best Practices for International Conferencing Attendees

As a conference call attendee, your duties are less involved than that of the host. However, you do play a role in the success of the call. Below are a few best practices for participants.

Prepare for the conference call. If the host has distributed an agenda or outline for the call, take a look at it a few days in advance. Think about the topic and how it applies to you. What do you expect to learn from the call? What ideas do you have that you might be able to contribute? What questions do you want to ask if the host doesn’t address them? If you’ve been asked to speak during the call, gather any supporting documents you may need (such as sales reports, study results, customer satisfaction ratings, etc.) and prepare your statements. Ask for clarification if you are unsure about what’s expected. For example, if you’ve been asked to discuss customer satisfaction ratings but weren’t told how much time you’ve been allotted to speak, ask the host how much time you have.

Be on time. International conferencing is notoriously difficult to coordinate, and you may be asked to call in at an unusual time of day. Even if you’re expected to call in at midnight, you should be prompt and ready to contribute.

Use a landline if possible. In some countries, the per minute cost of a call is dramatically higher for calls made using mobile phones. While the host may provide you with a toll free number, if you have access to a landline, using it instead of a mobile phone is a courteous gesture that can reduce the cost of the call for the host.

Find out how to mute and unmute your phone line. With potentially dozens of participants on an international conference call at once, background noise is a major problem. Each participant is expected to know how to mute their phone line when not speaking and then unmute it when it’s their turn to speak. It’s usually a simple matter of pressing *6 on your phone’s keypad.

Be respectful of the group. Most international conference calls are scheduled with an agenda that leaves room for questions at the end of the call. Write your questions down and  wait until the end to ask them. While it would be nice to be able to go through your list of questions one after another, make sure to give other people the chance to ask their questions as well. Because time is limited and you may not be able to ask all of your questions, determine which questions are the most urgent and ask those questions first.

International conferencing is a group effort. Whether you’re the host or an attendee, do your part to make the call a success.

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Tips for Better Communication during an International Conference Call

Conference Call Tips for the Moderator
Conference Call Tips

International collaboration using a conference call is a cost effective choice that allows you to accomplish many tasks without the high cost of travel. For example, you can negotiate deals, conduct training, conduct creative brainstorming sessions, get feedback, conduct research, and much more with an international conference call. Just about anything you can do face-to-face, you can do on a teleconference. However, with audio-only conference calls, you may miss non-verbal cues such as facial expressions. In addition, not all callers will recognize one another’s voices. Use these tips to enhance communications during an international conference call.

  • Ask each participant to announce their names and departments before speaking – While you may recognize Glen from accounting’s voice, other participants might not. Asking each participant to quickly say their name and department or job role before they speak helps give context to their comments.
  • Use active listening techniques – Some participants may be difficult to hear or understand for any number of reasons. As the moderator of the international conference call, part of your job is to ensure that everyone is heard and understood. If the sound is muffled or a person’s accent heavy, it’s helpful to repeat what you believe was said and ask the speaker to confirm. For example, you might say, “Barbara from our San Diego logistics office just said our freight contract expires in two weeks. Did I hear that correctly Barbara?”
  • Allow a few minutes for questions and answers at the end – At the end of the international conference call, open up the meeting for questions and answers. As you wrap up the call, thank participants. You might even leave the lines unmuted for a few minutes, allowing for a little friendly banter which builds a sense of camaraderie.

Many international conference calls suffer needlessly because of telephone system quality issues. Many communications problems can be avoided by choosing an international conference calling plan known for quality connections.

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Things to consider before opting for conference call provider

Conference call services have deeply penetrated into the business world and have greatly contributed to their growth. This is the reason why more and more businesses are expanding their business operations and going beyond their national boundaries without much of a hitch. Those days are history when businesses used to go with the traditional ways of carrying out their business operations.

But with the advent of technical breakthroughs and the presence of so many competitors, businesses have been forced to acquire new policies and mediums through which they can cater to their clients. Outsourcing conference call services have made it easy for businesses to expand their business and conduct meetings with their international customers and associates without investing a hefty amount on any capital investment for conferencing equipment which can be significant.

Instead of a growing international business spending thousands of dollars for an internal conference calling platform e.g. equipment, software and personnel, they simply outsource international conference calling to a good conference call company and pay a competitive per minute rate on a ‘pay-as-you-go’ basis.  This makes for much better use of capital that could be used elsewhere in the enterprise.

With the advent of technological advancements the conference call line providers have also become able to meet every possible telecommunication requirements of businesses around the world. If you too want your business to flourish and record growth that you always desired and have made your mind to take the benefits of conference call then there are many things that you should take into consideration that will help you to opt for the best conference call provider:

First and the foremost thing is that you should do a brief analysis of your conference call requirement. It will help you to avoid over budgeting.

If you want to access conference call on frequent basis then there are numerous affordable plans to choose from or if you want to access conferencing as and when you want then also there are plans to meet your requirement. So decide and choose the best that suits you.

Search for the best conference call provider that has a reputation of providing cost-effective yet sound services.

Prior availing conference call services it is necessary to take feedback of the service provider that suites your requirement.

Take into consideration whether you want video conferencing services or audio conferencing. If you require audio conferencing then ask your service provider about the maximum number of participants that you can involve in your conference call.

Also consider whether the service provider offer 24*7 customer support.

It is necessary that you should keep the above mentioned points in your mind because these will guide you to avail the best possible conference services.