How to prepare your staff for communicating internationally3rd June 2019
There’s an entire world out there for your business to communicate with, so it makes sense that, when your company seeks to attract more custom and recruit extra staff, it should look abroad.
However, for your staff, actually attempting to communicate with overseas parties can carry a myriad of implications which essentially jettison your chances of landing that next big deal. This sheds light on the importance of your staff being carefully trained in their global approach.
Moving into a new market? Research it thoroughly first
You might want to mine extra revenue from an unfamiliar country or territory – in which case, setting up your own office there can be a logical step. Still, watch out for “many variations in laws, cultures, rules and regulations that need to be complied with”, as this Bdaily article warns.
While researching a market for signs of promising opportunities is a natural move to make, you must also heed the technical aspects of setting up a legally compliant business in that country.
These days, a business can find a huge number of communication tools at their disposal, but it doesn’t strictly follow that you can pick any such tool and expect the same results regardless.
Whether they want to interact with either a fellow staff member or a client across geographic borders, a staffer should use email to show respect for the other party’s scarce time and attention, as advised in a CIO article, and resort to the phone for when an issue needs to be solved quickly.
Have overseas workers? Meet them face-to-face
Once you’ve built up a particular team of overseas workers, you might be reluctant to travel to meet them in person. The circumstances cited in justification can seem sound: the journey would be expensive or time-consuming, or the person travelling would struggle to get by abroad.
However, if you do make the trip, you can forge relationships and trust that help you to exert firmer influence on your far-flung personnel, who will be thrilled that you made the big effort to visit them.
Teach your workers to be careful how and when they speak
It’s no secret that making international calls can seem prohibitively expensive – which is why, at Planet Numbers, we allow our users to take advantage of cheap international calls for business. However, international calls can prove expensive in another, rather different way: the call’s recipient could too easily misunderstand your words.
The Manager’s Resource Handbook advises that your staff avoid yes-or-no questions, as many cultures can use “yes” simply to acknowledge that they have heard words rather than understood their meaning. Your staff should speak slowly while sticking to open-ended, slang-free questions.
Resist scheduling chats for inconvenient times
Consider varying time zones when scheduling virtual meetings, which can be conducted over video thanks to the likes of Skype and Google Hangouts. If you can’t find a time convenient to all parties, then at least schedule the meeting in advance to let those people plan ahead.