I’ve been working on the Launchpad team for a while, with most of that time being in Australia. Others in the team are in the US (red states & blue states), the UK, Germany, Brazil, Canada, New Zealand, Serbia, Lithuania and Thailand.
Here are some tips I’ve picked up for smoother online conversations, particularly around scheduling.
- Don’t say “summer” or “fall”. Say the month, or the range of months.
- Say “my morning” rather than “the morning”.
- Use 24-hour time.
- In real-time conversations, say “in 2 hours time” rather than “at 10”.
- Always include the timezone. Avoid using local abbreviations (e.g. PST), instead use offset from UTC.
- Better still, just give the time in UTC.
- Know your UTC offset.
- Use a timezone-aware meeting planner. You’ll get the arithmetic wrong otherwise.
- Say “Oct 7” rather than 10/7 or 7/10. Everyone speaks English, but not everyone uses your dialect.
- The time that you end a meeting is more important than when you start it. Thoughtfully consider the timezones of other attendees when you are planning for & participating in meetings.
Violating these rules isn’t a big deal, since people can generally figure out what you mean. Following them, however, can speed things along and sometimes even avoid tedious conversations.