Arranging a meeting or conference call with people who are in different countries or time zones can be difficult and it very often is a tedious experience.
To help out we’ve created a simple excel based “international meeting scheduler” for you to use. Open the spreadsheet, select the location of each participant and it will highlight a set of suitable times – just look for a column where all the cells are yellow.
In the screenshot I’m looking for best time to arrange a call across three time zones – London in the UK, Madrid in Spain and Melbourne in Australia. There is only one column which is yellow (i.e. working time) for all three locations where the times will be 8:00am, 9:00am, 18:00 respectively.
I hope you like it, any feedback is appreciated. Click on the link to download the file – world conference call scheduling tool.
Here’s a few tips for you when arranging a conference call across different time zones.
1. People are usually fresher in the mornings so if you can get most of your participants a start time of around 10:00am this will make the session more productive. Do this even if it makes the time slightly more inconvenient for you.
2. When announcing participants on the conference point out to everyone else on the call where they are based. If you’re video conferencing you can put up a notice at the back of the meeting room to let other attendees know where people are attending from.
3. If you’re the organiser and you have the time – join the call early. It helps you get ready and greet/brief participants as they join.
4. The key to a great meeting is always for the facilitator to be organised, have a clear idea what needs to be achieved and to have the strength of character to keep everyone attending focused on what needs to done. This is true for an international conference call as it is for any other meeting.