Time it right: Give times for online events in GMT

It’s quite important to give times for events you are holding online in GMT.  GMT is the lingua franca of times, or the common denominator currency that lets people all over the world relate their local times to everyone else’s.

If I hold an event and tell you that it will be at 4 pm in the UAE, everyone who gets that message is going to have to work out the time in their zone.  Even if I tell you that UAE is GMT +4, that’s enough mental barrier to create doubt about when an event is.  Much better to simply give the time in GMT in the first place.

This means that everyone should know their time in GMT, but that’s not much harder than knowing the value of your currency in Euros or dollars.  If you tell someone that a price is 350 dirhams, that’s not going to mean much to many, leaving everyone else to have to do their individual conversions. Saying something will cost $95 makes it more immediately meaningful.

The moment that someone sees the message is often the moment they decide to buy or attend. The next moment they are off to the next message.  Giving out times in GMT makes it much more likely the person can make that decision on the spot, yes I’m free at that time, or no, I’ll be asleep. If they can decide right away, there is a much greater chance they will attend if they can.

One place to work out times is http://www.timeanddate.com/

View on screencast.com »

When you select Event Time Announcer you can fill in the details as shown

View on screencast.com »

And this generates a page with a URL showing the time of your event in dozens of locations around the world, like this:


For further convenience I usually make a TinyURL that will be more email friendly than the link from timeanddate.com

View on screencast.com »

to produce: http://tinyurl.com/2013feb24gmt1700

One more thing, don’t confuse GMT with London time.  London time leaps forward and falls back at certain times of the year.  GMT time is not always time in UK.  Confusing that has caused many to miss their online appointments.  However, GMT and UTC are equivalent, as far as synchronizing watches is concerned.

Final tip: This tutorial was produced by making screenshots in Jing <http://jingproject.com> and sending them into the cloud at screencast.com.  Then the URLs for the images were used in this Posterous blog post, and Posterous converted them to the imagery you see here.  No saving to disk or uploading files from there, just launch Jing, crop, post to the cloud, and paste the URL in your tutorial.  Quick, easy, and effective!


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