6 Ways To Improve Communication In International Business

 

With the popularization of remote work, a lot of companies started expanding on the international market. Some started opening offices in new locations, while others decided to give international remote work a try. Even though this sounds utopian in theory, international businesses tend to run into a lot of problems, the main one being communication!

 

 

 

Miscommunication and misunderstandings due to different cultural backgrounds and languages spoken within a team can lead to lower productivity and efficiency. So, what are some of the best ways to improve employee communication in international companies?

 

1. Be aware of the differences

Even though English is considered to be an international language, we mustn’t forget that there are millions of other people who speak other languages, like Mandarin, Spanish, or Hindi. The main language you’ll use for communication should depend on the locations in which you’re operating. Besides the language, you should also pay attention to cultural differences.

Did you know that thousands of distinctive cultures exist in the world? This can also severely affect communication. For instance, while chatting is appropriate in some cultures, others find it insulting!  Educate your employees on the differences between the cultures. You can organize culture nights where colleagues can represent their culture to others.

 

2. Set clear and concise rules

One of the best ways to avoid miscommunication is by setting clear and concise rules for all employees. Set behavioral expectations and goals for your team to achieve. This will shift focus from the differences to the common target everyone wants to achieve. But what happens if the communication within an international team is inadequate?

To make international assignments a success include individual goals and targets as well. Due to different time zones and language barriers, communication can become an issue. However, if each team member knows the rules and has a goal set, they are more likely to cooperate and get the job done!

 

3. Create a company culture

Multi-cultural companies with staff all around the world tend to be more successful. However, mixing up all cultures in one space can confuse a lot of people, which can result in unintentional misunderstandings. In cases like these, strong company culture is essential. It will help your employees understand rules and expectations better regarding their culture! But how can you implement it in such diverse teams?

Lead by example. It can help employees from all over the world grasp rules and expectations. On top of that, implement a mentoring program. Each newcomer, no matter where they are from, will have a mentor or a buddy that will teach them the way the company functions culture-wise. In the end, you should embrace flexibility. It will provide employees with a sense of freedom and acceptance.

 

4. Work on listening skills

To make international communication effective, it needs to flow. This means that your entire workforce needs to work on their listening skills! Active listening will not only improve the understanding of various cultures, but bond teams and create a more pleasant workplace. On top of that, your employees will be able to understand international clients, coworkers, and customers better. How do you build listening skills?

When talking to someone, give them your full attention. Minimize the distractions and focus on what the other person is saying. Highlight the importance of the conversation by asking relevant questions and trying to truly understand what the other person is saying.

 

5. Implement proper communication tools

To conduct your plan to improve international communication, you need to implement proper communication tools. Whether you work remotely or from the office, having adequate technology will ease the communication between the teams. So, start by assessing the needs and creating a budget for apps. Even though you can find apps for free, they are not reliable for business communication!

Use video conferencing tools to organize international team meetings and reliable chat apps to catch up with colleagues. Also, to boost employee communication, consider getting an intranet app that will keep everyone informed and engaged no matter where they are. Intranet platforms are great as they don’t require an in-time response which respects different time zones as well as informs employees of the latest updates.

 

6. Invest in language classes

In international companies, using multiple languages is pretty common. Sadly, some employees, especially older ones, usually speak only one language. To keep them in the loop and continue to improve international communication, investing in language classes is the way to go!

Language classes can also be useful to those who want to revise a language or learn some new work-related phrases. On top of that, it’s a fantastic benefit your company can offer to retain employees and build a better culture! So, invest in various language classes to boost the interaction between employees all over the world.

 

Final thoughts

International teams can be a lot of work. However, if you invest in communication, culture, and education, you’ll get numerous benefits from working in a multi-cultural environment. So, try out these 6 ways to improve communication and achieve the wanted success!