International Audio/Video Conferencing Do's and Don'ts

Best Practices to Improve Your Conference Calls

International business is exploding across all industries as new technology makes the world a smaller place. Although more international business opportunities exist than ever before, communicating effectively with parties in different countries can be a challenge. Different physical locations, different time zones and long travel durations combine to create strong barriers to communication. Audio and video conferencing are powerful ways for geographically distributed groups of people to collaborate effectively. They allow multiple participants to communicate as a group and create real time teamwork where it otherwise could not exist. They can also allow sharing of documents, drawings, spreadsheets and even full motion videos, which aid the communication process.

As significant as the benefits of international conferencing may be, challenges to effective communication do exist. Accents from non-native English speakers can be difficult to discern. Some words and phrases have different meanings in different countries which can lead to confusion. With that in mind here are some do's and don'ts for international audio/video conferencing:

Do's for International Audio/Video Conferencing

  • Choose a time that works for everyone. Take time zones into consideration. A typical meeting time in the U.S. can be off-hours in Europe and vice versa. Ask participants in advance what times work for them.
  • Invite participants to pre-register for the event. Pre-registration captures data about participants that can be used to verify legitimate participation during the event and this is another way to confirm that the time works for everyone. Typically pre-registration is accomplished by emailing invitations. When a participant accesses the invitation they are given a link to a secure web page that gathers and stores their identifying data.
  • Test the connection in advance of the event. Make sure audio and video feeds are clear for an effective conference.
  • Notify participants that it will be helpful if they pause for a moment before speaking. This will ensure that speakers do not talk over one another on a connection that may have some latency due to long distances between participant sites.
  • Introduce all participants and identify their location.
  • Use tent cards that identify each participating location. This is an effective way to identify participants in a videoconference.
  • Monitor and manage the event. The conference host typically has an array of monitoring tools at their disposal and these should be used to ensure that everyone is having a satisfying and effective conference experience. The host is able to see who has joined the conference, who has left, who is raising their hand, asking questions, etc. It is important for the host to monitor the participants to make sure no unauthorized personnel have found their way onto the conference. The host has the ability to block and eject anyone who is not authorized to be in attendance. The conference host has the ability to mute and/or disconnect unauthorized participants.

Don'ts for International Audio/Video Conferencing

  • Don't talk over each other. This is easy to do in an international conference where there may be some latency in the connection due to long distances between participant sites. Remind all participants that it is useful to pause momentarily before speaking.
  • Minimize the use of jargon and acronyms. Non-native speakers of English may not be able to identify them or they may have a different meaning in different countries.
  • Do not assume everyone is hearing and comprehending what is said. Check with participants regularly during the conference to make sure everyone is on the same page.
  • Do not page quickly through a presentation if one is being shared. Remote locations a long distance away may not be paging as fast as you are. Always check to make sure everyone is looking at the same thing.
  • Do not allow background noise from any participant location. This can be particularly damaging to an international conference where there may be some degradation of audio quality anyway.
July 15, 2014 | Categories: , , , , , , , , | Tags: Audio and web conferencing services, Audio conferencing, Conference call, conference call moderator, Conference calls, Conference Service Provider, Conferencing, Conferencing service, Meetings, timed agendas, Two Rivers Conferencing, web conferencing, Webinars


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