5 top tips for your next international video conference

Posted by: Schepisi - Friday, May 15, 2015

Business is global – there’s no doubt about that. Technology lets us communicate beyond the four walls of our corporate offices, across states, the country, and the world. 

There are fewer logistical issues today than ever before, which means communicating with other nations is in our reach.

international video conferencing

What are the benefits of global business communication?

Put your business on a global scale and see how expanding into new markets can help you see how your business is viewed internationally. 

Your business on a global pedestal gives a fresh (and potentially new) outlook on your industry.

Regardless if you’re a B2B or B2C business, you can take advantage of a wider market. Quality of customer service needn’t suffer just because you’re located in another country. 

Technologies keep that connection accessible.

One of these technologies is video conferencing.

VC tools have completely changed the way we communicate. Real-time, face-to-face communication facilitates a true connection between vendor and buyer, and builds great international relationships.

Here are some tips for your next international video conference.

1. Choose your time wisely

The words ‘international’ and ‘time difference’ are synonymous with each other, especially for us here in Australia. They’re only two hours behind us in Beijing, six hours behind in Dubai, and eight hours behind in Rome. 

But anywhere further than that is when it gets tricky. (Think a 14-hour time difference to New York, or 17 hours to Los Angeles).

If you’re talking directly to just one location, then finding a suitable time mightn’t be too much of a challenge. 7am in Melbourne is 5pm the previous day in New York. That might be OK. 

You’re looking to inconvenience yourself rather than your counterpart (which may mean an early morning or late night!)

For multi-location meetings, determining a time will be a little trickier. But there’s a great tool that can help you out. This meeting planner allows you to input your city and up to twelve global locations to help you find a time that is suitable for all parties.

If you’re communicating regularly with certain locations, consider rotating the time so everyone has the chance to experience a convenient meeting time.

On a related note, don’t forget about the International Date Line! Ensure the date as well as the time is crystal clear for all participants in all locations.

2. Set up an agenda and send associated materials in advance

Just like any other video conference meeting, it’s sensible to set an agenda that clearly cites the important points of a discussion. 

This will also help the meeting stick to its schedule, keeping in mind that some participants are up late or early. 

They’ll appreciate a concise meeting that doesn’t drag on. (You’d expect the same courtesy, wouldn’t you?)

Send across any relevant documents, spreadsheets or quotes so people can go through them in preparation or as a refresher.

If you’re using a cloud video conferencing tool, ensure guests are presented well in advance with any relevant information needed (like an email or log-in) to access the meeting.

Relative to the next point, set aside a generous amount of time at the end of the conversation to factor in questions, clarifications and expectations moving forward.

3. Research culture and business etiquette

Some cultures request the use of salutations like Mr and Mrs or Sir and Ma’am while others are more relaxed and don’t mind a laid back and less formal approach (including casual conversation).

Research the business etiquette, and you might discover that you should avoid wearing yellow for a meeting with China (as it was reserved for the Emperor); punctuality is not a priority in Italy (so you’d best be prepared for a slight delay); and you should not use first names in France (until you have been invited to do so).

4. Speak clearly, slowly, and avoid slang or colloquialisms

This is particularly relevant if you’re speaking to those who use English as an additional language. 

Participants don’t have the time or the patience to work out your jargon, either. While you might think you sound super slick when you initiate members to “open the kimono” (“share information”), but you likely sound nonsensical and even a little bit creepy. Keep it short, keep it polite, and keep it easy to understand.

5. Body language speaks volumes

This is where video communication trumps audio. In addition to the words you use, gestures, posture and facial expressions can help convey a message effectively in a business setting. Body language, we know, is responsible for a huge portion of our overall communication. 

Find out more about video conferencing body language (and brush up on international body language signals here).

Above all, this is a video conferencing solution that’s easy to use

There are plenty of video conferencing solutions available all over the world for business. 

So why choose Lifesize? 

Beyond solving the problem of distance and reducing travel costs, it’s easy to use, is applicable to businesses of all sizes due to the availability of cloud and on-premise solutions.

Lifesize video conferencing solutions have really struck gold with this one. It’s easy to deploy and it’s easy to use. 

The hardest thing you will have to do stay up until midnight for that afternoon conference with London.

What now?

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