Global business expansion requires effective communications for success. An international communications strategy in a global company presents challenges such as time zone differences and language barriers. Here are nine best practices for effective B2B international communications.
Using Technology In A Beneficial Way
Businesses can use international communications software to connect teams across different time zones. Video conferencing tools like Zoom, Skype, or Google Meet allow companies to hold virtual meetings and ensure everyone is on the same page. These tools enable screen sharing, document collaboration, and discussion participation as if team members were in the same room.
Establishing Communication Guidelines
Businesses must establish clear communications guidelines for effective international communication across various time zones and languages. This includes specifying the preferred mode of communication and expected response times. Companies should also define preferences for the frequency of communication and whether email, instant messaging, or phone calls. It is important to specify what times are most acceptable for communications.
Setting clear goals and objectives
Clear communication is crucial for setting goals and objectives. Every team member must understand their role in achieving the organization's goals. Goals should be SMART - specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. When everyone is clear about their goals, it's easier to align efforts, keep everyone motivated, and track progress.
Bridging The Language Barrier
Language barriers pose a challenge for international communications. To overcome this, companies can use translation services or multilingual staff. Online tools like Google Translate can help, but they're not always reliable. For crucial internal communications, it's best to hire a professional translator.
Fostering A Culture Of Open Communication
Businesses must cultivate an open communication culture for effective international communications. Team members should feel at ease sharing their ideas and opinions. This fosters trust, ensures everyone is heard, and allows for constructive feedback. In global organizations, where cultural differences can impede communication, this is particularly crucial.
Establishing Regular Check-ins
Regular check-ins are vital for businesses to ensure everyone is on the same page and up to date on the latest developments, especially when working across different time zones. Daily or weekly meetings can be set up to discuss progress, share updates, and provide feedback.
Being Mindful Of Time Zones
When working across time zones, it's crucial to be aware of time differences. Establish a schedule that accommodates different time zones and respects people's time. Avoid scheduling meetings during non-work hours and be flexible with meeting times. Allow time for team members to catch up on missed communication.
Using Visual Communication
Visual communication is a potent tool for international communication. Graphs, charts, and infographics can aid in conveying complex ideas. It is especially useful when working across languages to ensure everyone is on the same page.
Providing Training And Development Opportunities
To achieve successful international communication, businesses should provide training and development opportunities. These may include language classes, cultural awareness training, and communication skills development. By investing in such training, businesses can ensure their employees have the skills and knowledge required to communicate in a global business environment.
Ronn Torossian is Founder & Chairman of 5WPR.