25 April 2022

12 Ways to Improve International Business Communication

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Different cultures can present different challenges when it comes to communication in the workplace. Even within the same company, employees may have different first languages and cultural backgrounds. This can lead to misunderstandings and miscommunication, without the right business communication skills and practices in place.

Fortunately, there are a number of things you can do to improve international business communication. By following these 12 expert tips, you can make sure that your message is clear, effective and well-received, no matter who you’re communicating with. So, read the rest of our guide today and learn exactly how to improve international business communication in your workplace.

Why Improve Business Communication Internationally?

If you’ve read our Complete Guide To International Business Communication, you’ll know that It’s important to improve communication in the workplace for a number of reasons. Good communication can:

  • Build trust and respect among employees
  • Encourage collaboration and teamwork
  • Help to avoid misunderstandings and conflict
  • Make sure that everyone is on the same page
  • Improve productivity
  • Ensure that deadlines are met

Alongside this, ensuring effective communication within your international business can allow you to better navigate the international market and even improve your bottom line. After all, if you’re able to communicate better with your customers, suppliers and other important business contacts, you’re likely to see a positive impact on your company’s performance.

Now, let’s take a closer look at exactly how you can improve your business communication in an international market.

12 Ways To Improve International Business Communication

Hire multilingual staff

Language is vital in business. One of the simplest ways to improve communication in your international business is to hire staff who speak multiple languages. This way, you can be sure that there’s always someone on hand who can act as a translator or interpreter if needed, or someone to take the lead with international clients or partners.

Not only will this make it easier for employees to communicate with each other, but it will also allow you to better serve customers and clients who speak different languages, building trust and respect in the process.

Use clear and concise language

When writing emails, speaking to colleagues, or writing up reports, it’s important to use clear and concise language. This will help to ensure that your message is received loud and clear, without any confusion.

Of course, using clear and concise language can be difficult when you’re communicating with people who speak different languages. In these cases, it’s often helpful to use shorter sentences and simpler words, to avoid any misunderstandings.

Invest in business language training for your employees

If you can’t hire multilingual staff, then another option is to invest in language training for your employees. There are a number of courses and resources that employees can use to learn new languages or brush up on their existing language skills.

Investing in language training for your staff is often more cost-effective than hiring new employees or translation services, and can be just as effective in terms of improving communication. In fact, investing in the development of your workforce can improve employee engagement, leadership skills and more within your business!

Language training can be a great way to improve communication in the workplace and make sure that everyone is able to communicate effectively, no matter what language they’re speaking. So, if you want to invest in professional language training for your employees, be sure to check out some of the best business language courses available.

Avoid slang and idioms

You should also avoid using jargon, slang, or idioms in your writing or speech, as these can often be lost in translation, or simply confuse the person you’re communicating with. Clear communication is vital in direct discussion with international employees, with slang terms, idioms, and filler words negatively affecting the flow of discussion.

Instead, try to stick to more commonly used words and terms, to make sure that your message is received loud and clear and isn’t confused with your internal dialogue.

Be aware of the cultural differences between yourself and your international colleagues

When communicating with people from other cultures, it’s important to be aware of the differences between your own culture and theirs. This includes everything from the way you dress and speak, to the way you write emails and reports.

For example, in some cultures, it’s considered rude to interrupt someone when they’re speaking. In others, it’s considered perfectly normal to do so. Similarly, some cultures place a lot of importance on eye contact, while others consider it to be less important.

By being aware of the cultural differences between yourself and your colleagues, you can avoid any misunderstandings or offending anyone unintentionally.

Be aware of your body language & other nonverbal communication skills

Your body language and other nonverbal communication skills are just as important as your verbal communication skills when communicating with people from other cultures. Having an understanding of appropriate business etiquette and both verbal and nonverbal cues is essential for anyone doing business internationally.

To make sure you act appropriately, it’s often helpful to do some research on the business culture of the country you’re doing business with or provide professional cross-cultural training for your staff.

Use appropriate real-time business communications tools

There are a number of different real-time business communications tools that you can use to improve communication in your international business. These include video conferencing, instant messaging, and other pieces of communication software.

Each of these tools has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the right one for your needs. A great real-time business communications tool for international teams will ideally show the local time for each team member, have built-in translation features, and allow for easy file sharing.

Some of the best real-time business communications tools include:

  • Google Workplace
  • Slack
  • Zoom.

Improve the written communications of your employees

It’s important to have good communication skills in all areas when communicating for business. Alongside verbal and non-verbal communication, written communication is also important in an international business setting. If your employees struggle to communicate effectively in writing, it can lead to a number of problems, such as miscommunication and costly misunderstandings.

To help improve the written communications of your employees, you can provide them with adequate language training and cross-cultural expertise. This will ensure that they’re able to write clearly and concisely in a way that can be understood by people within your target market.

Partner with international business communication experts

Alternatively, you can also seek out creative solutions from a business communications expert. These experts can help you to understand the nuances of doing business in different cultures, and advise you on how to be a better communicator with your international colleagues and clients.

International business communication experts can provide a range of services to businesses venturing to work internationally, from cross-cultural training and accent training to business language training in a variety of languages. At SIMON & SIMON, we can tailor any of our expert language services to suit you and the needs of your business.

Use technology to bridge the cultural divide

Technology has made it easier than ever before to connect with people from all over the world. There are a number of different ways that you can use technology to bridge the cultural divide and improve your international business communications, such as:

  1. Use video conferencing to hold meetings and conferences with international clients and employees.
  2. Create a company blog that covers topics related to doing business internationally.
  3. Use social media to connect with people from all over the world.
  4. Utilise online learning tools and resources to boost the communication skills of your organisation.

Build active listening skills in your workforce

Finally, it’s important to ensure that your employees have active listening skills. This is because, in an international business setting, it’s often necessary to listen to people from a variety of different cultures and backgrounds carefully and attentively.

If your employees aren’t able to actively listen, they may struggle to understand the needs of your international clients and customers. As such, it’s important to provide them with training that will help them to develop their listening skills.

Active listening is a skill that can be developed with practice, and there are a number of different ways to improve your listening skills, such as:

  • By avoiding distractions and giving the other person your full attention.
  • By asking questions to clarify understanding.
  • By paraphrasing what the other person has said to demonstrate understanding.

Create multiple language versions of your website 

Another top tip for organisations looking to improve their communications in an international setting is to create multiple language versions of their website. This will ensure that anyone visiting your site, regardless of their native language, can easily understand the information you’re trying to communicate.

There are a number of different ways to create a multilingual website, including using automatic translation tools or hiring professional web developers to create custom language versions of your site.

If you decide to use automatic translation tools, it’s important to remember that these tools are not perfect and will often produce inaccurate translations. As such, you should always proofread any translated content before publishing it on your website.

When creating a multilingual website, it’s also important to consider the needs of your international audience. For example, you should ensure that the website is accessible in countries with slower internet speeds and that it can be viewed on a variety of different devices.

The UK’s Leading Provider of Business Language Training

By following these tips, you can avoid poor communication, improve your international business communications and make sure that your organisation is able to effectively communicate with people from all over the world.

At SIMON & SIMON, we’re passionate about helping businesses to communicate effectively in an increasingly globalised world. We offer a range of different business language training courses, which are designed to help employees improve their communication skills in a number of different languages, including French, Spanish, German, Italian and Mandarin Chinese.

For more information about our services, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us today.

12 Ways to Improve International Business Communication
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12 Ways to Improve International Business Communication
Looking to improve your business communication on an international scale? Don’t miss out — read our expert guide today.
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Simon and Simon International
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