Tips for communicating with your SC members or project group

Tips and suggestions for:

  1. Group discussions and general tips
  2. International calls to individuals
  3. Alternatives to consider

You might find another service that works specifically for you. If you think other IFLA groups might benefit from knowing about it, write me a short message (Professional Support Officer)

The list is for information and does not imply that IFLA endorses the use of any of these services.

1. Group Discussions

The following are possible, useful tools.

Video conferencing


IFLA now has a subscription for using Zoom for online video conferencing (or for reliable voice-only conferencing).

  • Allows up to 500 video participants with HD and high quality audio and has proved to be stable for large numbers of participants.
  • Screen sharing and a full suite of collaboration features are available as options
  • Participants can join meetings using a mobile app, tablet, computer or telephone.
  • For those who can’t download the client or won’t have internet access at the time of the call, it is possible to join via telephone, often with the cost of only a local call.

Officers can read and download the instructions for booking a meeting in Zoom from the Basecamp project space for Officers 2016 - 2017 (login required).

Telephone conferencing

  • A free service but requires each individual on the call to pay for their own call to a local number.
  • Requires one person to set up the call and distribute the pin code needed to join the call.
  • Experience with international calls within IFLA has proved it to be stable and very clear.
  • Calls can be recorded by the host so that those not present can call and hear the conversation at a later date up to 6 months later.
  • Recorded calls can also be edited.

To help find a time and date on which to hold a meeting:

Doodle poll

  • Software to help find a date when you can meet/call.
  • Free to use but person who sets up the poll must register with an email address (though this doesn't seem to generate any spam).
  • Very easy to use.

The Time Now

  • Helps find out the times in different time zones around the world.
  • Meeting planner is useful in combination with Doodle poll.
  • Time zone converter lets you find out the corresponding time to your time in another zone.

2. International calls to individuals

  • Skype-to-Skype for free calls when both users use Skype. See above under Group Discussions.
  • Skype also offers cheap rates for calling mobile or landlines which depend on the country you are calling to (not the country you are calling from). You can pay online to Skype using Skype credit.
  • Google Hangouts for free calls when both users use Hangouts.
  • Other services exist that provide cheap international calls either from mobiles or from landlines. For example, I can use an over-ride service to call the UK from the Netherlands using a landline for a very small one-off connection fee (around 10 cents) plus a charge per minute (1 cent per minute) which is even lower than my local charge rate. There is no subscription or commitment so it can be used for one-off calls. To do this I just use my ordinary landline, dial a generic number first (based on the company that provides the over-ride service), then the number I wish to connect to. See this article for advice for callers from the UK. There are similar services for other countries - take a look online.

3. Alternatives to consider

Not all communication needs to be spoken and there are many other ways of sharing work or messages.

Some Standing Committees prefer to use a service with which they are familiar. There is nothing to stop you from using one of the following free services:


Google Hangouts

  • Free voice calls to other Hangouts users.
  • Group video chat with up to 10 people.
  • Instant messaging one-to-one or group.
  • Users need a Google account and have a computer with microphone and speakers or earphones.
  • How to get started

Google Hangouts on Air

  • Record your meeting so that those who could not attend live can listen later (this could help if you have problems finding a mutual time due to your spread of time zones)
  • Avoids the need to take minutes!
  • NPSIG reports good experiences with this.

Last update: 21 February 2017