Planning international meetings can be challenging at the best of times, and let’s face it; a global pandemic doesn’t exactly offer ideal conditions for travelling across borders.
But for businesses, the show must go on — and many Australian companies still need to be able to connect with colleagues, clients, and partners in other countries regularly. So, how do you best organise meetings with delegates in different geographical locations? And what tools and technology can you take advantage of to get around travel restrictions? We’ve got some ideas for you to explore.
Move your international business meetings online
One of the easiest ways to stay in touch with remote colleagues is using online tools. You’re most likely already using email and other communications technology for day-to-day business purposes. There’s no reason why you couldn’t set up client one-to-ones, team catch ups, divisional meetings, and even large-scale conferences online as well.
Travel bans aside, meeting international professional contacts and colleagues online, rather than in person, could save your business significant time and money as long as you’re prepared to invest in implementing the right tools.
Use an international meeting planner app
Meeting planner and scheduling apps like Doodle and FreeBusy make it easy to find a convenient time and set appointments up with internal and external contacts, wherever they are in the world. Go for a meeting scheduling app that allows you to integrate other services — like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace — so you can connect effortlessly with your calendar, email, and other tools.
Go for a meeting scheduling app that allows you to integrate other services — like Microsoft 365 and Google Workspace — so that you can connect effortlessly with your calendar, email, and other tools. Click To Tweet
Embrace international video conferencing
Video conferencing software services offer an affordable way to set up meetings and collaborate with international professionals, as well as internal colleagues in different locations, without the need for travel. It lets you see and talk to each other instantly, from the comfort of your own homes, local offices, or when on the road.
Besides saving money on expensive business trips, hosting meetings and events online can do wonders for your company’s carbon footprint. There are lots of business benefits to using international video conferencing services; from more flexibility and a better work-life balance to improved employee satisfaction and engagement — with 77% of telecommuters stating that they’re more productive when working remotely.
Video communications is on the rise and forecasts predict that video will represent 82% of all internet traffic by 2022. So, if you’re not already using video conferencing software for international meetings and internal team catch-ups, it’s high time you dip your toe in.
Consider an all-in-one solution for international meetings
When comparing software and apps that help plan international meetings effectively and facilitate cross-team collaboration, make sure you put your specific business needs up front and centre.
When comparing software and apps that can help you plan international meetings more effectively and facilitate cross-team collaboration, make sure you put your specific business needs up front and centre. Click To Tweet
A simple meeting scheduling tool or free video call app like Messenger or Google Meet might do the trick for small businesses. But if you’re a large company working closely with teams in various locations and time zones daily on joint projects, a more sophisticated platform would be a better fit.
Video calls, chat, file sharing and more
A fully-integrated, cloud-based communications system can combine video conferencing with call services, voicemail, instant messaging, file sharing, meeting scheduling, task management, and more — all in one, intuitive platform. Easy access via desktops, laptops, and mobile apps makes planning international meetings, team huddles or larger scale events involving global teams simple, from anywhere.
With the RingCentral app, you have all your conversations in one place, so you can go from setting up meetings, sharing ideas and project planning to delivering work seamlessly. It lets you switch from video to call in a click and offers built-in security that encrypts conversations and protects your business data at every level.
A checklist for international meeting planning
International video conferencing is an excellent way to keep in touch and collaborate with colleagues — especially if you’re using a solution that integrates functions like meeting scheduling and task management. We’ve pulled together a brief checklist that might come in handy if you have to plan and prepare international meetings online.
1. Get on top of the tech
Make sure all your colleagues have the right equipment and software, know how to use it, and test it beforehand. The last thing you need is someone missing the meeting because their laptop was playing up or they couldn’t figure out how to join the video call.
2. Be “time zone considerate”
If you have colleagues that are based in different parts of the world, it might not always be possible to find a meeting time that falls within normal working hours for everyone. Try to rotate times of regular meetings so that the inconvenience is shared fairly among the team.
3. Set and circulate an agenda beforehand
Avoid confusion and procrastination by agreeing and circulating a formal agenda before the meeting. This should outline all the key discussion points, as well as who is taking the lead on each item, and what everyone else is expected to contribute.
4. Appoint a moderator and set a time limit
It’s a good idea to appoint a meeting moderator whose job it is to steer the discussion, making sure you stick to the agenda — and work your way through it in a timely manner.
5. Agree and circulate clear action points
Agree on outcomes and actions for each agenda item. Task one of the meeting attendees with making a note of the action points, including ownership and deadlines for each, then circulating them to the whole team after the meeting.
Thinking about investing in new online meetings and communications software or upgrading your current platform? Find out more about how RingCentral could elevate your international collaborations game.
Originally published 08 Apr, 2021, updated 03 Aug, 2021