Conference calls can be tricky when you’re traveling. How do you ensure clear connections and smooth operations while you’re on the road? Here are a few tips.
- Pay attention to time zones. It can be especially difficult to keep track of time when you’re outside of your usual zone — especially if the call’s participants are scattered around the globe. When scheduling a call, use a time zone calculator to find the most convenient time for everyone involved. Set an alert on your mobile phone that will go off 15 minutes beforehand as a reminder.
- Make sure your phone reception is up to par. Whenever possible, use a landline or an internet connection (to plug into a VoIP service, such as Skype, via your laptop). If you must use your mobile phone, verify in advance that the area where you’ll be during the call has sufficient coverage; if it doesn’t, you may need to relocate. If you’re a bit of a MacGyver, you could also try WiseBread’s strategies for hacking your phone to boost reception.
- Get the right gear. Portable speakerphones, such as the Jabra Speak 410, can plug into your laptop for use during a VoIP call. If you’re calling from your car, purchase a Bluetooth speakerphone unit, or consider buying a GPS device that’s equipped with built-in Bluetooth hands-free call technology, such as the TomTom VIA 1535TM.
- Use the Mute button when necessary. If you’re at an airport or another busy locale, or if you’re getting a lot of static on the line, press your phone’s Mute button to spare your fellow conversationalists the background noise. Just remember to “unmute” when it’s your turn to talk!
- Record the conversation. If you’re unable to take notes during a call, consider recording the conversation so you can listen to it again later. (Note: By law, you’re required to inform fellow participants that you’ll be recording the call.) Use an app like MP3 Skype Recorder for conducting calls over Skype or PhoneTap ($4.99 for iPhone). For easy reference, you may then want to send your audio files to a transcription service, such as Scribie.