Did you know that Robert Scoble does something that helps him improve his ability to connect to people around the world that Chris Brogan doesn't...yet? (Or at least didn't at the time I was writing this post in 2008.)
Scoble clearly recognizes that he is communicating with people from all over the world. How do we know this? It's reflected in the way he writes his telephone number (+1-xxx-xxx-xxxx). Scoble includes and indicates (by using "+1") the country code for the USA, the country where he telephone number is based.
As a comparison, Brogan omits the country code on the telephone number he lists his web site. It's an interesting example of how even those with considerable experience in global business and social media can miss a very simple but important thing that helps keep the conversations going.
I want to make it very clear that I'm in no way attacking Chris, whom I respect. A lot. Actually, I had a conversation with Chris about this posting as I was preparing it. Chris instantly got where I was going. By this time, he may have changed his phone number on his website, social networking listings and planned any new business cards to include his country code.
So why should you add your country code to your phone number?
Over the past few years, I've been paying close attention to how people verbally give out and/or write their phone numbers -- on their web sites, on social networking sites, on email signatures, on business cards, etc.
Most people in countries outside the USA include their country code when providing their phone number. However, people in the USA omit the country code all the time -- as if the world revolves around those of us living within"+1"!
To be fair, I've seen plenty of folks from other countries make the same mistake by omitting their own country code, but I find the omission of country codes embarrassingly prevalent in the USA, particularly among professionals in fields who ought to know better.
It is absolutely critical to include your country code in your phone number if you communicate with anyone outside your own country. It's essential information, just like area codes/ city codes are within countries.
To put it bluntly, the omission of a country code when listing your telephone number on a web site, social networking site, email signature or your business card is a subtle form of arrogance, cultural insensitivity and cultural imperialism. Consider what we are communicating to others when we expect people to "know" -- or, worse, force them to find! -- the country code for the country in which we (not they) live.
Is that a message that you want to send or an impression you want to give to others, especially those with whom you conduct business or other professional activities?
I've written a number of good hints about how to write your telephone and fax numbers -- and other information-- as part of my Global Tuneup™ series. Check it out!
Good luck with that Global Tuneup™! And let me know if you have other suggestions!
- The 11-digit local phone numbers: Families will have to dial full national code in radical telephone shake-up (dailymail.co.uk)
- Deciding On A Country Code Top-Level Domain (ccTLD) - .co.nz or .com...? (firstrate.co.nz)
- International SEO: Where to Host and How to Target - Whiteboard Friday (seomoz.org)
- Smart Dialing: Make your BlackBerry smartphone transcend area codes and countries (helpblog.blackberry.com)
- Irish Country Code High Risk For Business (internetnews.me)