I would encourage you to extend your reach beyond the domestic and dive into global markets if you are an entrepreneur or business owner, no matter your experience level. But you need to be aware that communication plays a make-it-or-break-it role when venturing onto the international arena. To earn respect and attention from future business associates, benefit from my experience and take these factors into account:
Cultural differences can be surmounted
Assuming that “culture” is universal is a quick way to fail. Respect the inherent differences in culture and research your target market before communicating (both verbally and non-verbally) to ensure you are using the correct:
- Behavioral approach
- Word choice
Communication is much more than just which words you choose—the aforementioned aspects of communication indicate whether you have done your homework. Always use professional etiquette when engaging with individuals from different cultures and your business is more likely to succeed.
Over the years, I have hired many employees who have contributed to our business success. When hiring, look for and embrace diversity in terms of religion, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic standing. This practice not only provides your business with a greater variety of perspectives, your people can help you navigate a wider set of unfamiliar situations in your business dealings. Managing an international company means hiring staff around the world, broadening your pool of potential applicants, and expanding your reach internally. It’s another area where you can work to improve your international communication.
Nothing replaces face-to-face meetings, but under the constraints imposed by COVID-19, we are learning that virtual meetings can serve businesses well. Nevertheless, too many meetings can hinder progress, limit productivity, and lower morale. I work hard to ensure open lines of communication to address problems as they arise. While it can be challenging to have to master yet another piece of software, it’s critical to “keep up,” thus encouraging real-time communication. Most people are equipped with messaging software such as Zoom, Teams or Slack. These media also promote team bonding because internal communication is just as important as external communication.