As businesses grow, they no longer remain within the confines of the same country. Due to the increase of global presence and need to communicate with others quickly and timely, virtual meetings is the clear solution. However, within virtual meetings, the differing time zones of individuals may pose a problem. The following tips are very useful for dealing with the most common time zone issues.
Tip 1: Knowing each individual’s time zone
The most important aspect in dealing with meetings that cross time zones is to know each individual member’s time zone. With that knowledge you will be able to understand each person’s point of view. If possible, this should be done during overlapping business hours. Overall this will enable the meeting to be scheduled at the most convenient time for all members of the team.
Tip 2: Schedule meetings well in advance
To help ease problems and conflicts with meetings across time zones, it is strongly advised to schedule all meetings well in advance. This will allow for all members to adequately prepare for the meeting, or schedule their day if they must attend it outside of business hours.
Tip 3: When mentioning dates, mention the time zone used
This is quite self-explanatory, and is a common source of confusion within meetings that span across time zones. Whenever times are mentioned, for scheduling deadlines or meeting times, make sure the time zone that is being used is specified. Otherwise, misunderstandings could occur as a result of poor communication.
Tip 4: Show consideration for those who have been inconvenienced by the meeting
Remember to show appreciation and understanding for those who have been inconvenienced, possible by having to attend the meeting at an odd time. Moreover, try to rotate the schedule so that no one is overly inconvenienced by meeting timings.
Tip 5: If possible, arrange meetings by time zone
If possible, to help reduce the need for members to meet outside of business hours, arrange meetings according to time zone. Group team members within the same time zone or geographical location could have meetings together. For example, those members in Canada have a meeting while the members in China have their own. Having geographically organized meetings compared to varied time zone ones will help save team members many time-zone-related hassles.
Tip 6: Use technology to keep everything organized
In order to do all the above points with efficiency and ease, there are several websites that have been designed. For example, to have access to all the world’s time zones, http://www.anuko.com/content/world_clock/index.htm is very useful. Moreover, once the necessary time zones are known, the final step is effective organization of the information in order to find an appropriate window for the meeting to take place. The website http://doodle.ch is great for this since it allows everyone to post their times of availability and then clearly displays the overlap. With these websites at your disposal, an effective online meeting is just a few short steps away.
Ultimately, remain considerate of meeting times with respect to time zones, be equitable to all members, and overall the meeting will be a successful one.