Are you trying to run a global business? When you take your organisation's activities to the international stage, you open yourself up to a multitude of business opportunities. With an exporter rank of 23 worldwide, Australia's presence on the international stage is booming.
Whether your business currently works with others abroad or you're exploring doing so, you'll soon find yourself awash with international communications. Thanks to Australia's geographic location, your conference calls could involve liaising with those eight hours behind, eight hours ahead, and everywhere in-between.
Rather than letting time zones get the better of you, turn to an online meeting planner. As an essential tool that makes creating an international meeting schedule easier, using one could save your sanity.
First, use an online meeting scheduler that figures out time zones
Thanks to the expansive land mass, Australia is home to an astonishing five time zones. Depending on where you are in the country, scheduling an international meeting with someone in Los Angeles could prove easier than talking to someone in London. When the differences between northern and southern hemisphere time changes are factored in, figuring out who is available at what time can feel a little confusing.
Fortunately, the same site providing those handy facts on Australia's timezone challenges also offers a World Clock Meeting Planner. When you enter your location into one ahead of a meeting, followed by everyone else's, you'll see the timezone differences instantly.
With the meeting planner, you can start suggesting appropriate meeting times to attendees. Thanks to its accuracy, you'll avoid the embarrassment that comes with suggesting that someone should participate at 3 am.
Agree on an optimal meeting time using Doodle
Even if you do suggest a time to your meeting's participants, there's a risk it won't be a crowd pleaser. To minimise said risk, try using Doodle.
According to one piece of research, management staff will spend around two days per week in a meeting. If you count yourself as management personnel, it's worth ensuring those two days result in positive outcomes.
Your conference becomes a positive experience once you successfully encourage participation. After finding out when everyone due to attend the meeting is likely to be awake, start making a shortlist of prospective start times. After narrowing them down, send them out via Doodle.
When participants receive their Doodle poll, they'll have the chance to vote on meeting start times. After everyone gives their input, Doodle will automatically email them with the results. Although you can't guarantee that everyone will agree on a start time, you can create a common consensus.
Use Calendly as an online scheduler that solidifies invites
Calendly is a tool that works alongside Google Calendar to send meeting invitations. Providing the recipient has Google Calendar too, their acceptance will add the meeting to their schedule.
If you really want to use Calendly to your advantage, you might want to take some advice from Caroline Webb. As a former business consultant and adviser to McKinsey, she's experienced more than her fair share of meetings.
According to Webb, setting a clear agenda from the start increases employee engagement. When people have a clear outline of the meeting's aims, they get more out of it.
When using Calendly as an online meeting scheduler, add details that outline your agenda. Such details can include:
- What you want to accomplish
- What the meeting's main focus is
- Anything you may want participants in different locations to contribute
If you're feeling really collaborative, ask your global participants to make agenda suggestions too.
Ensure regular international meetings are a success
Using NeedToMeet, you can create regular meeting schedules that ensure everything is ticking over in all of your branches. When you have a large project to work on, you might find that an irregular meeting schedule doesn't suit you or your global colleagues. As such, it makes more sense to meet regularity at a time that suits everyone.
After figuring out time zones and using Doodle for a meeting time vote, you can use NeedToMeet to schedule a regular meeting. The online scheduler also tracks who is going to attend for the meetings ahead. When you see the absence of a tick next to someone's name, you can reach out to them to see if there's any way to secure their attendance.
NeedToMeet also features a dashboard that allows you to enter, edit, and track meetings. With historical data, raising points of discussion becomes simpler.
Ensuring people attend meetings regularly could make your business more productive. With research demonstrating that workers receive 13 to 16 emails a day, there's a lot of scope for daily distractions when people don't attend. If you secure regular participation, you could help your employees receive fewer emails.
Streamline meeting agendas with IdeaFlip
Finally, everyone walks into a meeting with their own ideas. Seeing as they're all taking the time to attend, everyone deserves to have their ideas heard.
IdeaFlip is a piece of software that allows meeting participants to contribute ideas ahead of time. One of the software's other exciting features is the ability to continue adding ideas, which feels like a modern twist on taking minutes.
One famous entrepreneur who won't settle for meeting attendees not making themselves heard is Elon Musk. His approach to meeting participation involves asking people to leave if they don't pitch in with their ideas. In his view, their attendance is otherwise a waste of time.
Using software such as IdeaFlip gives participants the chance to put their ideas forward ahead of time, allowing them to make contributions at their convenience. If someone attending the online meeting finds their idea interesting, they'll address it too.
Would you like to stay up-to-date on the latest online scheduler tools? Are you keen to refine your online meeting techniques? At Express Virtual Meeting, we can help you with both, and more.