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Communication in a Global Business Model

27 Jan, 2016 By: Steve Weedon, Discover Imaging Products, LTD

More and more companies are reaching to the global market place these days.  It’s a level playing field for all and the potential for growth on the open international market is a huge motivator for those wanting expansion.

Like most things in life, it is easier said than done. Building a global business takes a lot of knowledge and a lot of investment and a lot of different skillsets. Not least of the challenges will be the art of effective communications.

It’s not just the language barriers that cause a problem, but the rise of the Internet has meant that correspondence is all to often written in local slang without any consideration for the reader to properly understand the message sent.

How often do email senders correct errors before sending the message. How often do we take the time to compose a well thought out message that leaves no room for ambiguity?  How often, do you get emails that simply make no real sense and leaves you scratching your head trying to figure out what it all means.

In a multi-linguistic, multi-national organization, think about those non - English speakers who receive half-baked English emails all scratching their heads trying to decipher its true meaning in order to respond accordingly.  Email is a very poor way to effectively communicate. Think about all those non - Chinese speakers who receive endless emails from Chinese salespeople who are persistent in sending poorly worded “Chinglish” emails trying to sell their products to the West. Effective communication is more than receiving the written word. We talk differently to the way in which we write. We are best at communicating when seeing eye to eye with people. I like Face Time or video conferencing for that reason. Now I get a chance to articulate and see the respondent’s mannerisms when hearing what I have to say. I can tell if they understand or do not, I can reiterate in a different way using anecdotes to fully get my point across. Body language is a non- verbal way of communicating that is lost when relying on email, which all of do more and more each day.

Communicating strategies made at the top, down to those who need to understand them, get excited about them and get behind them is always a challenge. But doing this when the management is spread around the globe in different locations, on different time zones, and whose mother tongue is not English is extremely difficult.

All too often when following up it becomes clear that a miss understanding has occurred and remedial action needs to be taken to correct the position.

In general people, staff, managers, all of us, are lazy when it comes to effectively communicating. It’s not a question of being listened to, it’s more a question of being heard and understood. It’s all too easy to under - communicate, be ambiguous, and automatically think that the receiver knows as much as you do about the subject matter. Invariably it’s a mistake to make that assumption and always best to have a start, middle and an end to the subject material. We don’t talk to a four year old boy like we speak to a 40 year old man, so dumbing the information down or up in a way that makes the information understandable is the critical element to the ART of effective communications.

Without it we are doomed to failure. The best leaders of the world are all good communicators, they get heard but they get understood.

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.” - -George Bernard Shaw.

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