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.