Planning International Meeting Times

Well, we’re getting towards that time of year again… The “danger weeks” when locations start changing between Standard Time and Daylight Saving Time. Here in the United States, some states (or even localities within a state) may choose to use DST while others won’t. Meanwhile, standard offsets that you have memorized between cities you use a lot (like New York – London) will be wrong for two to three weeks as the US makes its shift two weeks earlier than UK/Europe and three weeks earlier than Australia.

But the challenge doesn’t just apply to March. In our globally connected world of online meetings and webinars, planning session times is a critical planning step. What time(s) should your webinar be held in order to reach the attendees in all your target locations? What time should you make your prep session in order to accommodate your presenters in various countries?

Never assume you know what time it will be in another location on any given date. Localities can adopt their own time zone and use of DST and change it at will. I have long relied upon www.timeanddate.com for its great collection of global time utilities, such as the Event Time Announcer that lets you copy a link with worldwide time equivalents for a given day/date.

Here’s a great way to keep a handy global time chart available to help you with planning an international meeting or webinar. It’s really just a way to speed access to the World Clock Meeting Planner on the above-mentioned website.

Start by setting up the cities you work with the most or that give you the best quick view across your target geographies. Feel free to start with my list of cities covering lots of time zones (apologies to Central/South America, Africa, and other areas not included in this list… It’s just a starting point!). Pick some date in the future. Save the resulting reference grid page as a bookmark in your web browser. I use mine so much, I put it right on my quick access bookmarks bar in Chrome, as highlighted at the top of this screen shot:

Now any time I want to plan an event, I can click the bookmark and change the date in the quick selector I highlighted in the middle of the screen shot. Voila… I get an easy to read chart that properly accounts for all local time zones and DST offsets in each location for the given date. No guessing and no assumptions.

No browser should be without it.