As businesses continue to expand internationally, organizations big and small need to be in constant contact with people around the world. If you have ever tried to set up an international conference call, you’ll know that it’s not as straightforward as you may think. So, to save you some trouble, we’ve put together a checklist to help you avoid a minor mistake that could lead to a major problem. Imagine having your boss and executive team lined up to close an important business deal and you’re caught without the right dial-in numbers and at the wrong time of the day (remember time zones!). Follow these simple steps and you’ll be able to get everyone together at the right time and with the right details, even if they are spread across the world.
1. What time will you be on?
Before you start arranging a meeting time, it’s best to know exactly which time zone you will be calling, so this should be the first thing that you find out.
2. Calculate your timings
Now that you know where everyone will be, calculate the time zones for each participant. Beware of calculating a time zone yourself; while it is possible, remember that time zones change seasonally and some other countries around the world also change their clocks back and forth. So, a city that was 5 hours behind yesterday may not be tomorrow. Confused? Worldwide time zone calculators can be extremely helpful, like this handy Time Zone Converter.
The best time zone calculators not only allow you to calculate the time across multiple cities, they will also allow you to calculate these times on a specific date, so you don’t have to worry if or when the clocks may change in another country.
3. Suggest times
Try to suggest times that everyone is likely to be able to make. If you have parties in both the USA and the UK for example, it may be possible to schedule a conference call during everyone’s office hours. While this may not be possible if you have participants further afield, such as Australia, still try to be as kind as possible with your scheduling. It’s the polite way to do business!
Remember to list the exact times in every time zone that you will have people dialing in from. It sounds obvious, but people do get confused, so give them a helping hand. For example, if you are organizing a conference call with New York and want to suggest a few date/time options, be a clear as possible like below:
Wednesday 13th April 2016
4pm (London Time)/11am (New York Time)
5pm (London Time)/12:00pm (New York Time)
Thursday 14th April 2016
3pm(London Time)/10am (New York Time)
5pm (London Time)/12:00pm (New York Time)
4. Confirm, Confirm, Confirm!
So, you have a time that everyone can make; now it’s time to confirm the call! Make sure you include everything in one clear email so that people can refer to one piece of information with everything that they need.
Firstly, make sure that you say that the call is confirmed! Finding a time everyone can make can take a while and multiple emails, so make sure that people know that the call is, in fact, finalized.
Include the date, time (for all time zones) and the dial-in details. Remember that some conference call services have local call numbers for different countries, so check what kind of service you have and if necessary, list out the telephone numbers that everyone needs for where they are. Having your participants use a local call number specific to their country will reduce costs with these services. Otherwise, if you do not have local international numbers or there is not a number for a country that a participant is in, make sure that you use the international version of the dial-in number, so that no matter where people are, they don’t have to look up the international code. For example, the international telephone code for a company in China will begin with +86.
You may also want to send out a calendar invite using a service like Microsoft Outlook. Outlook will localize the diary invite to the correct international time, depending on where people are. But just in case, still list out what the meeting time will be in each time zone. In the invite, also include all of the dial-in details that everyone will need.
If you are dialing international numbers regularly for business, check out our national plans to get affordable and trusted international and cross-country rates for your company. So whether you’re holding a conference in the USA between Mexico, China or India, keep your company connected to the international world of business with Lycamobile.