Whether you manage an international business or your company serves clientele across borders, communication is an essential aspect for such enterprises. Running a multinational business comes with unique challenges, and effective communication is one setback.
Communicating to business affiliates, colleagues, or customers in countries with drastic time differences needs salient considerations. It is likely that, in some instances, one party will need to engage outside of business hours.
Here are ways to maintain strong communication with your international business colleagues and clients without inconveniencing each other.
Planning and avoiding impromptu engagement as much as possible cultivates good relationships. Fore planning will enable both parties to circumvent likely disruptions when the meeting time occurs outside working hours. Plan far enough in advance to take cognizance of time zones and, all parties can come to an agreed-upon time to speak.
Last-minute calls and urgent requests should only happen in emergencies. Before launching the emergency call, carefully weigh if the situation warrants an SOS call and only go ahead if you are convinced. Frequent unexpected and urgent calls sever business relationships.
You should put things on the calendar as far in advance as possible and tell people of looming deadlines far out as well. Such actions will avoid neglecting routine activities that turn into an emergency when detected too late in the day. You can utilize cloud-based calendars that are visible to all parties.
What does VoIP mean? Using Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) comes in handy when making international calls. VoIP is a way to place calls from any place in the world simply by having internet access.
The technology transmits multimedia content, particularly voice and audio data, over Internet Protocol networks. The providers of the service replicate telephony functions of traditional telecom companies. The audio is crystal clear, and you can have a call just like you would on a typical phone.
VoIP services like RingCentral allow your team and clients to partake in quality calls with easy dial-in and secure conference calling. The technology is also a cost management measure as your company avoids paying the steep international phone bills. The only investment needed is the internet you already have for other purposes.
When running projects across different jurisdictions, your sure bet for success is establishing firm project management processes. Such processes avoid the communication breakdown associated with misinformation and keep your team in the loop and all parties on the same page.
You need not worry about formulating a process from scratch as customizable platforms are available and accessible from anywhere in the world. Such platforms make it easy to receive updates on a project without literally tracking down people worldwide. You will be able to see the workflow and identify backlogs at the click of a button.
Project management platforms are also essential for chatting and sharing files. They can send automatic email updates and reminders to teams making each team member aware of their deliverables, deadlines, and any vital information on the project.
Meet Once a Year
When people are physically apart for a long time, they detach from each other. Such dissociation can compromise teamwork. To avoid such a situation, try to meet in person once a year to establish a more personal relationship with your colleagues and clients internationally.
If a physical meeting is not feasible, regular video chatting for more face-to-face contact is advisable. Such approaches soften the robotic interaction through emails and operational software that your counterparts use often. You can also pick critical non-verbal cues from colleagues/business partners that are not discernible through written communication.
Find ways to create a stronger connection, for example, taking an interest in the personal life of your colleague or client. Avoid making it all about business all the time. With such an approach, meaningful interactions sprout and unlock seamless working relationships.
Respect Their Time
To communicate effectively, you must respect the time zone in which your colleague, client, or business partner operates. Be sensitive to the after office hours, holidays, and weekends. The other party is likely to be indisposed and may not communicate effectively at such times. Avoid planning for huge events or communications when it is not an ideal working time.
If you have to connect, beware of the time difference and do not expect responses or work done during an international partner’s non-work hours. If the partner is responsive, appreciate the effort and commend them for the action. Such courteous gestures make people know that they are not taken for granted and build relationships.
Maintain Great Relations Internationally and Build Your Business
The key to building great relationships with international partners is cultivating essential communication practices and strategies. Sensitivity to diversity also helps you to avoid inadvertently offending your international counterparts. Utilize guidelines for conducting international business, e.g., in-person etiquette, paying attention to cultural details, and overcoming personal barriers to build great relationships.