How to improve communication in an international business

How to improve communication in an international business

More and more companies decide to adopt transversal structures that facilitate the management of all their activities on a global scale. This is why communication is a vital aspect in all organisations that operate internationally.

When you have to manage a communication strategy in different markets, and you want to maintain a standard regarding the message and brand reputation, the process becomes complex. This article addresses how to improve internal communications and strategic management.

What are the main types of business communication?

The main types of business communication are typically classified as internal and external communications. Corporate communication methods are focused on the exchange of ideas and opinions. Its objective is the dissemination of information and feedback, both internally and externally.

Broadly, there are 7 communication techniques that are commonly used through a variety of channels and platforms to achieve the stated objectives. These communication techniques are observed in more detail below. It should be noted that effective communication is often cited as a common predictor of business performance.

Internal communication

Internal communication focuses on communicating messages within an organisation. Good internal communication seeks consistency throughout the organisation and covers a wide range of topics. These may include company policy, sales and marketing messages, customer relations, confidentiality laws, and how employees communicate.

Within the internal communication of companies, two types can generally be found: bottom-up communication and top-down communication. In most cases, the bottom-up is about communicating feedback, while the top-down is often used to disseminate information and obtain feedback.

External communication

Finally, this type of communication most commonly refers to communicating with people outside the company. This communication encompasses several factors, including the media, the general public, customers, suppliers, mediators, and all those who could potentially be involved with the organisation.

The effective dissemination of marketing and sales messages is one of the most common objectives of external communication. The role of this type of external communication has the intention of obtaining feedback to improve the products or services that the organisation offers while promoting its profitability.

Why is communication important in business?

Communication is key for the success of an organisation. Each company is a small ecosystem that evolves within a market, and if it is to grow its operations, it must optimise internal communication, coordinate and mobilise its employees, while reaching out to consumers.

Good communication skills are the basis for improving the efficiency of any company as ideas can circulate with an intended direction. Communication is the first step to having a good reputation among potential clients and developing a professional setting within the company. It is important to have a stimulating, pleasant, and safe business environment. 

This environment is made of a multitude of factors, but at its core we can find communication, since it is capable of creating added value, reducing costs, and improving the image of the brand.

How do you build a communication plan?

To do this, it is advisable to contact experts in the sector who are responsible for studying all the necessary steps. To begin, these experts analyse the company’s context and the situation it is in. Then, the objectives of the corporate communication plan are defined, which can be to increase sales, position a new product, or modify consumer behaviour, for example.

Once these objectives have been defined, it is time to identify the target audience, as a corporate communication plan must also adapt its communicative style to its audience. Next, you must move on to corporate strategy planning, which takes into account the details of the communication, such as communication style, content, and tone.

Once these points have been defined, we move on to the operational part, which includes the choice of media (social media, TV, radio, billboards, etc.), which are ultimately the different media by which the news is shared.

Finally, a corporate communication plan must also include continuous monitoring of results. Certainly, a business communication plan is not something that can be improvised, it requires the maintenance of a certain tone of voice and consistency in its implementation. This is why the best thing to do is to contact experts in the field. 

7 ways to improve communication in an international business

How do you improve communication in an international business?

  1. Observation
  2. Reflection
  3. Contrast
  4. Strategies
  5. Make your website available in different languages
  6. Hire a multilingual staff
  7. Interpretation services

1. Observation

It is important to pay close attention to non-verbal communication, as well as to adjust the tone of the communication concerning the audience. Gestures, eye contact, or tone of voice are some of the things that vary between cultures. For example, in Japan, they communicate and greet each other differently than they do in the United States.

In case you are not sure of the habits and cultural traditions of the interlocutor with whom you are speaking, it is better to be cautious, both with body language and with the tone with which you address them. It is also wise to be careful with humour. Many sayings, jokes, or slang are not easy to translate, and can even be misinterpreted or offensive in some countries, so it is best to avoid them.

2. Reflection

Qualities like empathy and emotional intelligence are very important in any interpersonal interaction. If we place ourselves in an international context, these attributes are necessary, but they are not enough. To achieve successful intercultural communication, it is important to reflect upon one’s cultural values and to choose a way of communicating that is appropriate. Understanding the culture of your interlocutor and inspiring confidence is a great step to improve communication in an international business.

3. Contrast

If you are in a professional environment, you must present your arguments with clarity, and without including technicalities. You should not assume that everyone will understand you, and if your message is important or you are negotiating something with another person, the most advisable thing is to summarise the points.

There are many cultures in which disagreement and disapproval can be manifested very subtly. This is why you must learn to analyse body language and read between the lines. Many people say yes for a matter of courtesy and no because they want to compromise.

4. Strategies

It is always important to invest in an exhaustive market study that provides you with as much information as possible, from the target audience to the consumption habits of each country. It will be easier to build solid international communication strategies that have a real chance of success. It is relevant to do a thorough analysis of the main competitors.

Once the public to whom you are addressing and with whom you compete is identified, it is time to design the communication plan. It is how a company will make itself known internationally, and here communication is essential. There are different factors that you should consider: what product you sell or what service you offer, who you are targeting, and what are the objectives of your business.

5. Make your website available in different languages

One of the best ways to present your services or products to international clients is by translating your website into other languages. Some different online services and platforms are exclusively dedicated to making translations of this type.

Think of it this way, if people who speak a certain language see that your website is available in their native language, not only will they understand your service or product better, but your professional image will be strengthened.

6. Hire multilingual staff

Regardless of the language spoken internally in your company, it is a great idea to hire people from different parts of the world. Not only will they enrich the culture of your company, but these people will also be very valuable when it comes to contextualising certain types of external communication in the countries you want to target. It’s a smart way to avoid cultural missteps.

7. Interpretation services

We live in a fast-paced world, where international communications have increased thanks to a growing global network. To face this new reality, successful enterprises must find ways to interpret and translate some interactions. This is key to having good communication in an international company.

SM Global is a third-party organisation whose goal is to ease communication needs through interpretation. Our interpreting services are built for a single purpose: to accommodate you in all situations, whether they be casual or professional events.

When you use our interpretation services, you are investing in the well-being of your entity. It is now known that including interpretation services at events helps create a trustworthy environment for all guests involved. When an interpreter is present, their translating services also reduce the potential misunderstandings that language barriers could build amongst attendees.

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