A conference call is a just a phone call that involves a group of participants who dial into a conference bridge that is hosted by the teleconferencing service provider. Participants dial a phone number and then punch in an access code that will then connect them to the appropriate teleconference. International and domestic conference calls share many similarities, but there are also many key differences about an international call.
International conferencing solutions are provided by most major conference call service providers. The principal difference between domestic and international phone conferencing is the fact that different countries have different dialling conventions. You first need to dial the country code for the international destination followed by the phone number. You may check with your conferencing services vendor about the exit code that you need to dial to make an international voice conference call.
When you are telephone conferencing with international participants, you also need to consider the date and time differences. If you start call conferencing in the morning in the UK, your counterparts in India would be attending the call in the afternoon. It is absolutely essential that you are aware of the differences in date and time because confusion regarding this may lead to missed calls.
When you are teleconferencing with international participants, it may be impossible to get everyone on the call at the same time due to the time difference. So record the call so that it can be played later for the benefit of participants who could not attend.
Be aware of the potential language and culture barriers that an international call conference brings. When you are conferencing within your own country, your pre call preparation would be more or less restricted to the content of the call. But in an international conference call you also need to consider the cultural differences. How formal or informal should the approach be? How do you address your participants? If you take some time to research the business etiquette of the country that you are dialling into, it is time well spent. This will help you gain a better understanding of the expectations of participants. Try and avoid humour and slang, because often the subtle nuances are lost on participants form another country and they may take offence.
Conference calls are great to reduce travel and accommodation expenses and they help you communicate with anybody in any corner of the world within a moment’s notice. Prepare well for your international conference call to reap its full benefits.