International Calling Tips
Calling across borders and time zones can be tricky. Be sure to cover these essentials before you launch your call with international participants.
Be On Time to Your Conference Call
Typically in the United States, you have a grace period of 10 minutes before being considered late. In other countries, being just five minutes late is enough to upset a colleague. If you are late to your conference call, be sure to apologize and briefly explain your tardiness, but the best rule of thumb is to be on the teleconference ahead of your guests.
Check for Complete Phone Numbers
An international telephone number will look different than a number within the United States. It will have an international code, a country code and a city code before the local number. These codes vary in length, so accuracy is difficult to determine at first glance.
Be Aware of the International Date Line
Crossing the international Date Line can cause confusion. Be sure to determine the correct date for any international location.
International Time Zones
It is important to know the time of the call in both the United States and all international locations.
Americans typically speak faster than other cultures. Be aware of how fast you speak, especially if a language barrier is present. Make a conscious effort to speak clearly and slowly, and stop periodically to ask your colleagues if they are following along.
Many business people might boast about their ability to converse in foreign languages. However, technical ‘business speak’ and technical jargon are a whole different ball game. Therefore, don’t leave room for miscommunications. All Conferencing can arrange for translation in more than 100 languages.
No Comedians Allowed
Be conscious of your use of humor, slang and colloquialisms, as they do not translate well. This also applies when you are doing business with people who speak the same language as you. If they are not familiar with your culture, people often take what you say literally.
Prior to a conference call, e-mail relevant presentations or notes, as it helps teleconference participants with language barriers to have something to read ahead of time. It will also help them prepare and give them more confidence to ask questions.
The rules for international business etiquette change from country to country. Therefore, if you want to make a great impression, take the time to research and learn about a particular country’s culture. Are formal or informal presentations customary? Should you use first or last names when addressing colleagues? These small efforts can reap big rewards.
Provide Alternate Access
Sometimes no matter how much planning is done, it is impossible to arrange a convenient time for all international parties to meet on a conference call. International teleconference participants can access a recorded conference at their convenience and even leave messages for all parties to respond to at a later time.