Teleconference services are a wonderful way to shrink the world. Communication technology is so advanced now that when you call someone a million miles away it will sound like they are next door. Digital lines are clear and web conferencing requires no special equipment. You can share presentations, train staff, or collaborate on projects without leaving the comfort of your desk. There is no need for extensive travel anymore to connect colleagues, clients and suppliers.
A teleconference involving international participants can have its pitfalls however. If you use teleconferencing services to connect with business partners outside of Australia, there are important considerations to be aware of.
Here are some simple rules to follow to ensure your conference is successful:
- Speak slowly and clearly. Australians often speak faster than other cultures and can have interesting inflections! Participants with a language barrier will find it difficult to keep up and comprehend what is being said.
- Stop occasionally to ask international participants if they understand what is being said. Clarification on a particular point may be required and you’re better off doing this at regular intervals, rather than trying to summarise everything at the end.
- Avoid using slang, colloquialisms, jargon and metaphors. Business buzzwords such as ‘blue-sky thinking’, ‘hit the ground running’, ‘raise the bar’ and ‘outside the square’ may not translate well!
- Watch your humour and sarcasm too. Australians have a notoriously sarcastic sense of humour which is often misunderstood by other cultures – even the Americans and English don’t get it! If you have Asian, European, or Middle Eastern participants on your teleconference, misunderstandings can occur. You don’t necessarily want them to take you literally as offense may be caused at something said in jest.
- If there are serious language barriers you might want to hire an interpreter to ensure clarity.
- Consider providing handouts in the various native languages.
- Be sure that you double check time zones (including allowances for daylight savings) and send out teleconference invitations with the correct local time for each participant. This will help ensure everyone will be at the meeting on time.
- If you are concerned about rural or remote participants being able to dial in correctly, you can utilise an operator connect service. This is where an operator from your conference provider dials in all the participants on your behalf and announces everyone into the meeting.
Teleconferences are a wonderful way to connect people from around the world. With a few simple considerations your conference call will be highly successful for all participants.