What happens with two people are talking to each other over phone? Hmm...you can follow each other, maybe not get the tone of the speech but its fine. What happens if a group of people are meeting in a room and having a conversation. They could take turns talking, or there could be one member talking and others listening, or there could be a synchronous Q&A session or there could be a situation when each one is talking and there are many meetings in progress :)
Now what if this is meeting over phone across geographies and among large group of people having their own sweet accents. There are no protocols as to how to take over a conversation, who should talk, who should listen, how to pass a topic. Its a chaos.
I attended a Global Communication skills training few days ago. The above scenario is not new; been in this situation since I joined this line of work. But what I discovered were those subtle things that we miss out. For e.g. It would be so easier if each participant mention their name each time before they mentioned something. It seems funny but it so helps everyone. It gets awkward when you have to answer a query but you don't know who asked that question!!
Another conspicuous factor is the tone and frequency when you speak; in person or over phone. A tone in which you state can change the dynamics of a conversation. "HEY! THIS IS NOT RIGHT" can always be mellowed down and instead said "Hey, You know what? This is fine, but it might not work effectively in our scenario".
What else changed apart from the tone? The choice of words. Stressing on NO, DONT, NOT is so so negative. Its a contradiction. Instead of contradiction, challenge the case in the form of a question. Instead of a "No! I don't agree!" ask "How do you think this will help our case?" This shows you are willing to pursue provided you have supportive data!
The cultural differences plays a important role in communication. Keep silent in a meeting among group of Americans; they would probably think why doesn't he go take a nap if he has nothing to talk? Keep silent in a meeting among Japanese, they will appreciate and assume you understood it all and probably thinking!! See! :)
Use words that the majority of the crowd connects with. It makes it easier to present your case and make the crowd understand what you are trying to say. Last but not the least, small talk. Americans talk about weather and pets. Indians talk about traffic and food. So get into the groove and have fun! :)