The basics are essentially the same between a domestic conference call and an
international conference call. Each typically has a host or moderator and, of course, the participants or guests.
Everyone calls an access phone number and enters a passcode and then all involved are connected together and can
converse. Aside from these basics, there are some important differences when you go global versus a conference
where all invitees are on the same continent.
Overseas Syntax and Phone Dialing
Some users find it daunting at first when they are confronted with making an international call from their country.
If you are inside the US or Canada the code to dial another geographical region in the US or Canada is to simply
enter a '1' prior to the area code. If you are making a call to the US or Canada from the United Kingdom, you must
first dial '00' before the '1' for North America. However if you are instead calling TO France from the US or Canada,
you would dial '011' then the country code for France which is '33' and then the local France phone number.
International Time Zone Issues
Hosting an international conference call may include some calculations as to time zones. There are tools easily
found on the Web that can assist with determining what the time will be at x location if the time is y presently.
This will become evident should you be planning on asking participants located in Asia, the US and Europe to all
dial-in at the same time. It will be tomorrow in Asia, and late in the day perhaps in Europe. But with Microsoft
Outlook and the proper plugin from your conference call provider, it all becomes pretty simple.
A very useful feature is 'recording' the international conference call, if appropriate. By doing so, the host can
make the MP3 available to anyone that may have been unable to attend the actual call, in case there were insurmountable
time zone obstacles. They can still listen to the call later.
Other Differences with Attendees from another country
It may payoff, if you are planning a conference with attendees
you don't know well, to determine if there are cultural issues that may need to be addressed. Can you be casual
in your conversational language structure or do you need to be more formal with your verbiage, for example. The
basic idea is to not offend anyone due to what could be construed as disrespect even though it was unintended.
Is the conference call with close friends or is the call with an unknown but very important potential client. Do
you want to address a participant by a first name, or would they expect you to call them Mr.or Ms. Smith.
Send an Outline of the Conference
It always a great idea to provide to the participants a conference call plan. In other words, send them a step-by-step
itinerary or outline of what the call will be about. Just a little planning will produce an excellent result versus
just winging it.