International Collaboration by Phone

For example, Americans would dial a toll-free number for USA while Australians and Chinese callers would dial Australian and Chinese toll free phone numbers.

International Collaboration by PhoneIf you have a team scattered around the world, international collaboration by phone is essential to your team’s success.

Though newer technologies such as email and online collaboration tools have emerged, they haven’t completely replaced international collaboration by phone — nor should they. In fact, these technologies can work together.

For example, email and online file sharing tools are fantastic for sharing files or quickly leaving a message despite time zone differences. They’re less attractive, however, for brainstorming, discussing complex topics, and communicating important missives.

In addition, email discussions can take days, if not weeks, to move forward. When real-time dialogues need to occur, international collaboration by phone is the way to go.

Benefits of International Collaboration by Phone

International collaboration by phone allows team members to discuss projects, brainstorm ideas, clarify instructions, and much more in real time. With a phone call, misunderstandings can be avoided.

For example, verbal cues, such as voice inflection or tone, are absent in email and online discussion boards yet readily available in phone conversations. At the same time, international collaboration by phone is incredibly efficient. The conversation takes place, questions are answered, tasks assigned, and the next meeting scheduled.

Considerations When Collaborating Internationally

First, you’ll need a means for international team members to connect on the phone. We recommend using an international conference call service. With such a service, you can issue country-specific local or toll free phone numbers for participants to dial into the conference room.

For example, Americans would dial a toll-free number for USA while Australians and Chinese callers would dial Australian and Chinese toll free phone numbers. All would be connected to the same conference room regardless of the number they dialed to get in.

Next, you’ll want to schedule a convenient time for international collaboration by phone. This isn’t always possible when participants live around the globe. However, if your team regularly collaborates by phone, you can rotate conference call times and let each team member serve as the “host.”

Call quality is another major consideration. Interference, dropouts, static, tinny sound quality, and delays are unacceptable. Look for an international conference call service that uses a global PSTN network for the best sound quality possible.

Another consideration involves international conference calling costs. International collaboration by phone is a cost-effective choice, but it does incur costs. You can contain these costs by choosing a pay-as-you conference calling plan with no minimum usage requirements or monthly fees.

Another way to contain costs is to use the service’s moderator dial out feature to dial participants directly. This is especially useful when some participants live in countries with high international calling rates. By using the dial out feature, the call will be billed at the much lower dial out rate.

Your team should know when it makes the most sense to use each international collaboration tool available. Consider issuing guidelines describing which collaboration tool to use under which circumstances.

International collaboration by phone is a straightforward and affordable choice for real-time communications. A number of cost-effective international conference calling plans are available including pay-as-you-go plans with no monthly fees, long term contracts, or minimum usage requirements.

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Best Rates for International Conference Calls regardless of Attendee Location

Using the dial-out feature also can reduce the cost of your call, you’ll also have fewer absentees and be able to call participants on demand without waiting for them to dial-in.

Best Rates for International Conference CallsWant to reduce the cost of your international conference calls? If your international conference call service provider charges you per participant per minute, the best way to reduce your costs is to use the lower dial-out rates.

Why use the dial-out feature on a Global Conference Call?

There are two basic ways to connect international participants to a global conference call:

Let the participants dial in or use the leader dial out feature. International conference call services that support dial-out tend to charge lower per minute rates for dial-out calls than for toll-free inbound calls from international countries.

For example, if a caller dials in from a high cost country with rates of 50 cents per minute, a ten minute call for that participant would cost $5.00. However, if rates for dial out were just 10 cents per minute, that same call would cost just 50 cents. The savings could be dramatic, especially if you have multiple callers from high cost countries.

The same is true of callers using mobile phones in some countries. Rates for mobile access could be significantly higher than expected. In many countries, mobile phones are more widely used than landlines as well.

Pay attention to the various per minute and mobile rates listed for the countries your participants will be calling from and consider using the free dial-out option. This simple step could reduce the cost of your global conference call dramatically.

In addition, some countries do not have toll free access numbers. If this is the case, your participants will either have to dial an international phone number to reach the teleconference — and they will be stuck with the international long distance charges associated with doing so. Using the dial-out feature solves this problem. The system enables the chairperson to dial their international phone number through the conferencing bridge.

Moderator Dial-Out

If you have a single participant in a high cost country, you could use the moderator dial-out feature to call that person directly at the time of the call or add a participant at any time during the call.

Using the dial-out feature also can reduce the cost of your call, you’ll also have fewer absentees and be able to call participants on demand without waiting for them to dial-in.

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Conducting Your First International Group Audio Conference

With an international teleconference, it’s often difficult to schedule a time accommodates everyone due to time zone differences.

Holding a group audio conference is a fantastic way to communicate with a geographically diverse team or group.

Group International Audio ConferenceNot only are group conference calls less expensive than meeting in person, they are much more convenient for everyone involved. If participants are located around the globe, you’ll appreciate the savings and convenience. However, holding international conference calls is a little different than holding domestic ones. Here’s what you need to know to make your first international group audio conference a success.

1. Start with an international conference call service provider. Since you’ll have participants calling from around the world, each will need a convenient method of reaching the conference. As you know, each country has its own dialing conventions. You want each participant to feel comfortable dialing your group audio conference. Working with a service provider who specializes in group international conferencing gives you access to local and toll free numbers for each of the countries involved.

2. Take advantage of “dial out” rates for high cost countries. Rates vary by country with some countries being dramatically more expensive per minute than others. For those with high costs, use the service provider’s “dial out” service to dial participants in those countries directly. You will almost always get a substantially lower rate per minute when you do this. In addition, you can preprogram these numbers so that the system automatically dials participants at the appointed time.

3. Familiarize yourself with moderator controls before the call. Invariably, someone on the call will leave his or her microphone unmuted, subjecting the entire group to distracting background noise. Fortunately, you can mute callers. Make sure you know how before the call begins.

4. Have an agenda. A group conference call is a cost effective alternative to other types of conferences. However, you will still be paying on a per minute, per participant basis in most cases. In order to ensure an efficient meeting, map out an agenda in advance and stick to it. Not only will this help you stick to your budget, your participants will appreciate a well-organized group conference call that respects their time.

5. Record your group audio conference call. With an international teleconference, it’s often difficult to schedule a time accommodates everyone due to time zone differences. However, if you record your call, you can later distribute the recording to those who were unable to attend in person.

Holding a group audio conference is relatively easy to set up and execute — if you choose the right international conference call service. Look for a provider that supports the countries involved, offers the best audio quality, and offers user-friendly calling features such as MP3 recording and automated dial out.

aitelephone.com does all of the above and more. With low calling rates, toll free support for over 100 countries, 24/7 operator assistance, and no contract, term requirement, or monthly fees, your next group audio conference is sure to be a resounding success!

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Global Conference Call Checklist

Planning a global conference call? Whether you’re hosting international conference calls with over 100 participants or just a handful, planning your call is the key to success. Use this global conference call checklist to ensure that nothing is left to chance.

           Determine the goal of the global conference call. A successful conference call is a focused conference call. Long before you schedule the conference, you should know exactly what you want to achieve. This will drive everything from who you invite to what’s on the agenda.

           Choose a reliable, high quality global conference call service provider. Next, you’ll need a means of conducting the teleconference. While you may have a conference room and a reasonably equipped phone system, global conference calls are tricky to pull off without a dedicated service. For starters, your phone system may be able to handle just a few callers at once.  Hence, many international companies choose to ‘outsource’ their global conferencing needs to a third party service that specializes in overseas conference calls.

In addition, international calling costs could deter some participants from calling in. With a global conference call service provider, participants can dial local or toll free phone numbers to reach the conference room. Make sure to choose a global conference call provider that offers the highest quality connections such as PSTN network connections rather than VoIP.

           Get familiar with the conference calling tools available to you. As the moderator of the call, you will be responsible for the behind-the-scenes technical details. For example, you may notice that there’s a lot of background noise coming from one participant’s phone line during the call. By familiarizing yourself with the tools in advance, you’ll know how to mute that caller’s line with minimal disruption to the conference.

           Create your participant list. Create a detailed list of the global conference call’s participants. Include name, position/department, phone number, and country. Evaluate this list against your goal for the call to make sure that you are inviting the right people.

           Evaluate possible times for your global conference call. Again, look at your list of participants. Which countries are involved? Which time zones have the most participants? Which times would be convenient for the majority of the group?

           Decide whether to provide local or toll free access. The goal of your call as well as its audience will play a role in whether to provide toll free access. For example, if the call is a sales presentation to international customers and prospects, then toll free access is a must.

On the other hand, if participants are from your branch offices, a local number may be just fine. Your global conference call service provider will provide you with the appropriate access numbers for participants around the globe. Make sure to choose a service provider that supports the countries involved.

           Decide whether you want to record the call. Most conference calling services include a way to record the overseas conference call. You can record the call for your own purposes or make the recording available to others after the fact. For example, if the conference call is a training call, future trainees can listen to the original call in the future.

           Identify participants who live in countries with the highest calling rates. Rates vary from country to country, with some countries being dramatically more expensive than others. If you have some participants in these high-cost countries, consider dialing them directly using the global conference call service’s dial out feature which usually has much lower costs. You may even be able to preprogram numbers and dial times.

           Create an agenda for the global conference call. Next, review your goals for the call and create a timed agenda. If others will be presenting, communicate with them and let them know how much time they’ve been allotted and the topic you’d like them to address.

           Recruit a co-moderator. It’s helpful to have a co-moderator during the global conference call. Your co-moderator can take notes, keep track of time, and help participants who may be having technical difficulties.

           Invite attendees. Next, it’s time to invite your participants. Your invitation should include all of the pertinent details such as the time and date of the call (expressed in local time), access numbers and PIN codes, goal of the call, agenda, and who to contact should they have any trouble (your co-moderator or the global conference call service provider’s 24/7 operator).

           Conduct the call. Finally, it’s time to conduct the global conference call. Having already done all of the above, you should be well prepared and ready for a successful teleconference.

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