Language Barrier: Solving Communication Problems As An International Business

StrategyDriven Business Communications Article |Communication Problems|Language Barrier: Solving Communication Problems As An International BusinessEffective communication has always been an essential element of a business. If you’re unable to communicate properly, it can be impossible to get your work done, making it incredibly hard to run a successful company when you can’t talk to those around you. Of course, though, when you work internationally, issues like language barriers can make this issue even harder to overcome. To help you out with this, this post will be exploring some of the work that can go into ensuring that you can always convey the right information to the people you work with and serve.

Website Translations

Your website is going to be one of the first places people visit when they want to learn more about your business. While web browsers like Chrome have built-in translation tools, these are rarely good enough to make your website work perfectly in every language. This can make it worth paying for a dedicated translation service that can make your website readable in every country you work in. Automated tools will never be as accurate as a human translator, even if you have to pay for them.

The Phone 

Talking on the phone will be just about impossible if you don’t speak the same language as the person on the other end. Of course, though, you need to make sure that you’re able to do this if you’re working in different countries. Hiring bilingual team members will cost a small fortune, and it will be hard to find people with skills like this who are willing to settle for jobs in call centres. A bilingual answering service could easily solve this for you, providing you with the means to talk to people across the world.

Social Media & Marketing

There wouldn’t be much point in working across different countries and regions if you’re not going to tailor your marketing efforts to them. A big part of this will mean changing the languages of your posts to make sure that as many of your customers as possible can read them. It’s becoming increasingly common to see businesses with more than one social media channel to sell themselves, opting to use multiple accounts so that they can post in different languages.

Products

Buying a complex product and struggling to understand the instructions that come with it can be very frustrating. Packaging should always be tailored to the country it will be sold in, with the language on the box reflecting the person who has bought it. This can be hard to achieve when you work across the world, and some companies opt to have more than one language on their boxes to make the whole thing easier.

With all of this in mind, you should be feeling ready to take on the challenge of communicating with people across the world. Running an international business will always come with challenges, but you can often overcome them by simply using the tools you have available to you. Of course, though, you still need to figure out exactly where your business will be operating.

How Transparency Can Benefit Your Organization

StrategyDriven Business Communications Article | How Transparency Can Benefit Your OrganizationTransparency in communication has become more common in all sorts of enterprises. In the nonprofit and responsible profit sector, candor and authenticity are considered high value. Customer loyalty tends to increase when there’s an emphasis on transparency. Leveraging the power of a good story, transparency is a positive alternative to a competitive, secretive attitude; it’s a more compassionate way to function. For stakeholders, trust is a major issue; transparency helps facilitate it. Consider several ways that transparency can benefit your organization.

Relationships With Investors

If you’re building a relationship with a possible investor, increasing the trust level can be facilitated with the wise use of transparency. There’s a good bit of competition for funding, and investors want to recoup their money as soon as possible. It may be daunting to decide how you want to present your brand story; the assistance of professionals such as PR firms in Portland Oregon can get you started in the right direction. Judicious transparency indicates that you’ll be honest and thorough with your business plan and consistently keep investors in the loop.

Community Trust

In this case, your “community” is everyone you come into contact with — it’s not only a geographical designation. Transparency is all about awareness of the social norms of your customers and stakeholders while having sincere communication content and style. While it’s important to have a reputation for honesty and integrity as sort of a baseline, portraying an image of absolute perfection is unsustainable, unrealistic, and may backfire. Keep it real by being straightforward about the bumps along the way, and describing how you’re overcoming them.

Employee Morale

As you build your organization, transparency with employees is a valuable investment, especially in the early stages. Higher productivity, more confidence and creativity, and less turnover are associated with greater transparency. You’ll also build your word-of-mouth reputation in the professional community.

Customer Relations

Customer confidence starts from a foundation of trust, and transparency helps build it — particularly if you’re a human service provider. Firms like a healthcare PR company Portland can help you craft your message so it resonates with customers. Your organization gains credibility if customers see moments of vulnerability within a framework of integrity and commitment.

Depending on your type of organization, there are many ways to be transparent and professional. Take a look at similar businesses and see how they’re effectively weaving transparency into their stories, and mine your own experiences to craft a compelling message.

How to Streamline Your Business Communications

StrategyDriven Business Communications Article |Business Communications|How to Streamline Your Business CommunicationsCommunication is one of the key tenets of any business. Without clear communication, things just don’t get done, and start to fall apart. Whether your business’s communication is good or bad though, there’s always room to streamline, and doing so can have huge benefits for your company.

There are many ways you can look to improve your communication, both internally and externally, and find the systems that are going to allow your business to offer a better service.

Here, we take a look at five ways in which you can streamline your business communications.

Clearly Define Roles

When you’re working on an important project, it’s important that everyone clearly understands their roles. If everyone’s roles aren’t clear, that’s when communication can break down, as nobody knows who they need to communicate with.

You may think you have defined someone’s role within the project, but it really needs to be made sure that they understand exactly what that role is and what they’re responsible for.

Have a Point Person

You need to have a person at the top who is in charge of the project. Otherwise, different pieces of information can get passed around certain pockets of the project without ever making it to the person who’s actually in charge.

Communication needs to flow through the point person, who decides what to do with the information and how to proceed. Otherwise, people begin to communicate as individuals rather than as a team.

Bring Your Communication Together in One Place

We have so many different ways of communicating these days, which in many ways is great, but it also brings its own problems. Every minute someone spends trying to remember if they received that important piece of information through email or an instant messenger is time wasted, and this time can really add up.

Bringing your different communication channels together through unified communications (UC) with a company like Code Software can help streamline your team’s communication, making it more efficient and effective.

Make Use of the Data

When you use a UC system, you have access to so much data that allows people to learn about the way they communicate and improve their performance.

When it comes to communication with the customer, there are so many variables that happen in every call, so it can be difficult to judge how you’re performing. It’s only when you have access to all the data that you can see which areas you can improve on.

Make Rules for Different Communication Channels

Another way to overcome the problem of having too many communication channels is by having different rules for each communication channel. For example, if you’re seeking someone’s opinion, it can be quite tricky to do it through written word because it’s hard to understand tone in writing.

So, you can make the rule that if you’re seeking an opinion it has to be through a voice call rather than instant message. There are many different rules you can put in place to suit your business needs and further improve upon communication.

Key considerations when building your unified communications strategy

StrategyDriven Business Communications Article |Unified Communications|Key considerations when building your unified communications strategyUnified communications are a hot topic at the moment among businesses, with a unified communications strategy having the potential to offer huge savings and impressive increases in efficiency if it is done right. To be sure that you choose the right unified communications strategy for your business, read on for our list of key considerations.

How many platforms are currently used in your office?

In your office it is likely that work messages are currently sent between staff on several different communication platforms in the mix of different chats, group messages, and inboxes. In this environment it is easy for important information to be missed or lost, and it can take a long time for messages asking for clarification from upper management to reach the top for a decision. Using a system such as Unified Communications by Gamma you can ensure that all internal communications go through one easy to trace system. This will allow for a vast simplification of the flow of information.

Consider the potential for telecommuting and better video conferencing

A large advantage of a unified communications system which should be considered to the fullest is the ability to revolutionise telecommuting. Telecommuting is another way of saying work done from home and can apply to a huge range of work done in Britain today, especially on the administrative side of the job. In the 2015 PGI Global Telework Survey, an incredible 79% of knowledge workers globally reported being able to work from home at least one day a week. The result of this was a massive saving in money and time for the relevant workers, as well as a reduction in health issues caused by travelling through highly polluted air.

However, in Britain the number of telecommuters is far lower than the global average, even though, with a powerful services-led economy, Britain is one of the countries that could most benefit from a radical rethink of the role of telecommuters. It would also offer massive environmental benefits. Investing in a powerful unified communications network can make a big difference in allowing workers the freedom to produce their best work with a lower level of stress.

If you are able to get an effective level of telecommuting going, you may be able to consider rethinking your whole approach to office space, allowing you to reduce the amount of office space you pay to use and heat without getting any use for. If you have a high level of telecommuting with a pool of employees who are not all in at the same time there is the potential to have a suite of office spaces for hotdesking them in rotations when they are in the office. This can represent a massive saving on office space.

Find the right product set for your unique needs

Each company has different requirements, but different bundles are available. Whether you only need phone communications and data in the office, or want them for any company issued device, or want a single integrated system which transfers documents and sends messages and memos, there will be a unified communications solution for you.

Earning Trust Through Communication Skills

Grace Under PressureEver notice that some executives you interact with are instantly likeable, trustworthy and respected? Chances are they apply the following communication strategies in every conversation – eye contact, listening, enjoyment and benevolence.

It’s widely accepted that great communication skills are a key ingredient for business owners, executives and managers. How you communicate can make or break relationships, increase your team’s loyalty, set standards for your team and, strengthen your professional reputation. However, these fundamental skills are all too often overlooked.

Here are four strategies I suggest you use to earn trust in all your interactions.

Eye Contact

Essential for building rapport in meetings, interviews and panel discussions, sincere eye contact sends a message of trust. I do not advocate using eye contact to intimidate – which can happen. Narcissistic or intimidating eye contact sends a completely different message. A narcissistic gaze can be threatening and unnerving. If you want to build real rapport, I suggest a warm, sincere approach.

Listening

A crucial part of being a great communicator. Many clients of mine have realized they’ve gone about listening in a way that made them less effective communicators. Essentially in meetings if you are listening for your chance to interrupt or to add to the conversation or to impress you are exhibiting the opposite of leadership. Effective leaders listen to understand, not to interrupt.

Enjoy Your Conversations

I often advise clients to find joy in delivering their speeches. If you are enjoying yourself, chances are your audience will enjoy listening to you. The same is true for small meetings and 1:1 conversation. Take a moment to check in with your team member or colleague before jumping into work-related matters. This will make your colleague feel valued and appreciated.

Benevolence

Communicating with kindness is a valuable tool in almost any situation. If I have a client seeking a job or job promotion, I remind them that one of the most important goals for the interview is to have a pleasant conversation. The same is true for tense discussions, quarterly reviews and reprimands. In most conversations you cannot control how others will respond to your viewpoint. In an interview, you have no control as to whether or not they hire you, but you can control whether or not you are kind. This can make just as much of an impression as your accomplishments.

For more successful interactions, try these tools starting today and notice the shift in how others responded to you. Not only will you begin to earn more trust and respect, you will also help to create a more kind and effective work atmosphere.


About the Author

StrategyDriven Expert Contributor | Lisa WentzLisa Wentz, author of Grace Under Pressure: A Masterclass in Public Speaking, is a public speaking expert who coaches executives and managers from Fortune 500 companies and the non-profit sector.

For more information please visit www.lidpublishing.com or www.lisawentz.com