The success of projects and even entire organizations hinges on effective business communication. Without it, deadlines can be missed, product or service quality can suffer and morale can drop, simply from poorly constructed or received messages. To alleviate communication problems, you must keep language differences in perspective, temper your body language, change communication methods and invite feedback and participation.
Keep Language in Perspective
If you conduct business internationally, you're probably going to run into language barriers at one point or another. There are ways around these barriers by using interpreters or learning a second language. However, the way you use language can also be different compared to the way it’s used in other countries. According to World Culture Business, certain phrases or ways of speaking may seem very positive in certain cultures, while they may appear evasive or inappropriate in others. To solve this problem, keep language in perspective when communicating with business associates from other countries.
Temper Body Language & Gestures
Your body language impacts the way you communicate with your colleagues, whether you know it or not. According to InterNations, pointing a finger at someone in certain cultures is considered rude, while in other cultures nodding your head means no, instead of yes. As a result, you need to tailor your body language and gestures to account for cultural differences. Otherwise, you may end-up sending non-verbal messages that can jeopardize your relationships.
Change Communication Methods
There are a number of ways you can communicate with your colleagues that go beyond face-to-face communication. This includes video conferencing, conference calls, emails and written letters. If face-to-face conversations are not getting you anywhere, sending an email or participating in a conference call can help remove communication barriers and deliver your message more efficiently. Conversely, if someone is constantly hard to reach by phone or email, then face-to-face meetings may clear-up communication issues.
Invite Feedback & Participation
If you do not seem to be getting your message across to your colleagues, then you can invite feedback to determine where the gap is. You can also ask for active participation from your audience, which can help raise their engagement and keep them listening to what you have to say. It’s not enough just to be satisfied with blank stares or passive agreement with your arguments. It’s important to gather feedback and encourage active listening to improve the way you communicate.