One great part of working on the Web is that you aren’t limited by geographic boundaries. You can work with anyone, anywhere in the world. This opens up a whole new set of opportunities for anyone who works online, from the freelancer to the small business owner.
Because of low cost, instant access and international availability, teleconferences are a very appealing way to work with others located around the world. Of course being without geographical limitations doesn’t mean you won’t face some of the other challenges that are common with international business relationships during teleconferences. Different languages, communication preferences and cultural customs can all play a role in the success of a teleconference with members from across the globe.
Here are some tips for getting around these challenges so you can communicate effectively during international teleconferences.
- Use time zone tools like the World Clock Meeting Planner to coordinate meeting times in different time zones.
- Provide the appropriate time in all relevant time zones when sending out confirmations and reminders for the call.
- Make sure your conference line supports international calls.
- Have an alternate way to access to the meeting for participants (i.e. know the local dial-in number if the toll-free number doesn’t work).
- Select a moderator who is most familiar with all participants.
- Know the proper way to address the participants.
- Advise participants to use a landline when possible to cut down on static and other interference that when combined with accents can make it difficult to understand each other.
- Be aware of any other global customs, and business or phone etiquette that can come into play during the meeting.
- Anticipate and accommodate any language barriers.
- Get to know the participants ahead of time, including communication styles.
- Record the call and transcribe or distribute the recording to all participants so everyone has the same understanding of what was discussed.
The tips outlined here are geared toward the international element, but don’t forget that all of the other tips for successful teleconferences, from planning for the meeting to what to do once it concludes, still apply.
Do you frequently conduct teleconferences with international participants? What have you done to make the call go smoothly and effectively?
Image credit: spekulator