Far Away But So Close: Boosting Global Communication With Clients And Staff In 2021
You would probably agree that most aspects of life have been tough during the last 10 months. People barely remember how to hug. This so-called new normal widened the distance between businesses and their audiences. Human communication today is totally different from what we saw some 16 months ago. It has acquired a new form and meaning.
To remain competitive, many companies entered new markets and started considering building even more multicultural teams. When it comes to the global market, one of the biggest challenges for any organization is embracing cross-cultural communication.
Yes, Some Good Things Happened In 2020
I keep saying that the world of IT marches to the beat of its own drum: Locations and the distance between them have never been an obstacle, but rather an opportunity to gather the most talented people — wherever they are.
Think of an orchestra where musicians use different instruments to play the same tune. The flawless performance of a symphony requires more than knowledge: It requires a conductor, notes and music as a single language, as well as the ability to listen and achieve synergy.
As a leader, when your team and clients are scattered across the globe, you cannot help but think, “How can I make this diversity work for our corporation?” As a visionary, you likely keep speculating on a variety of ways to turn these distinctions into your superpower and ultimately streamline workflows.
As I look back at 2020, I’d like to share tips that will help you build an effective intercultural communication strategy for the year ahead.
Become Culturally Savvy
You have to be very sensitive to how various nations think and interact, what they dom and, more importantly, what they avoid doing. Some regions — for instance, Asia — have vibrant differences between countries. I’ve found that Japan and Singapore, for example, have drastically different manners for writing, reading, replying to correspondence, dealing with pitches and handling meetings. The same pertains to Europe: What is good in Italy might be a no-no for, let’s say, Germany. Hence, one slip-up in terms of sensitivity could cost you an opportunity.
Some countries, including Israel, have a reputation for being very straightforward, so their business partners should adopt that communication style. Be direct. Be specific. Be honest. If you beat around the bush, you may have trouble building trust with partners in countries that value directness, and you may not be able to sell your services and close deals. In other words, you won’t succeed.
Hire International Salespeople
You can think of selling as a sort of art: an art in which communication is key to your success. Your sales managers’ communication skills — the ability to pitch, persuade and be great storytellers — define future relationships with clientele, who can be remarkably attentive to detail.
In terms of sales, one of the best ways to embrace intercultural communication is to hire knowledgeable individuals in that geographic region. Look for executives from the U.S., Germany or whatever market you are targeting. Most of the time they know and understand how local people think and talk and what their needs are. This knowledge will help your company fine-tune the cross-cultural communication process and avoid any misunderstandings.
Use Digital Tools
Statistics don’t lie. According to a 2019 Deloitte report, 85% of small to medium U.S. companies think the digital tools they use have helped their businesses. This year has shown that the absence of face-to-face meetings doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the world. A great variety of tools, including Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet, can help businesses communicate effectively with clients and employees around the globe. These technologies are important for building a cohesive, distributed team and establishing a streamlined, collaborative workflow with your clients.
Obviously, face-to-face communication means a lot to any business. Given the current constraints, however, you may have no other option but to be flexible. In the sea of tech solutions, pick the ones that fit your needs and ensure every stakeholder is on the same page.
I realize that Covid-19 helped give rise to the digital tools market. I never cease to keep an eye on today’s trends and tomorrow’s directions. Despite the innovativeness and robust tech stack of those apps, there are things I believe are mostly unattainable for them. I believe that in B2B, face-to-face contact is pivotal.
Be authentic. Own what you are now. Grow your business naturally. If you are a small company, try to find small clients and build trust around your company’s name. When you have clients who trust you, you are more likely to get referrals. Credibility is very hard to earn and easy to lose overnight. If your company is a “good guy” through whatever hardships occur, your business will be more sustainable. For both clients and your people, that means you are something worth holding on to.
I prefer to view these strange times as an opportunity for so many things: proving your credibility and being helpful, supportive and humane. This crush test for B2B, in particular, will reveal companies’ true strategic posture and have an impact on resilience at the end of the day. Be sincere because, if not now, then when?
Maturity comes along with acceptance, so let’s face it: The B2B sector has relied heavily on offline interactions, period. Communication quality has always been one of my company’s top priorities, both with our clients and employees. In my experience, these tips will help you learn more about management and bring your communication efforts to the next level.
Remember, understanding the culture, preferences and mindset of different people makes collaborating with them much more productive and smooth. Use modern digital tools where necessary and applicable. Hire the right talent to make your cross-cultural communication strategy work even better. Find people from your tribe and wait for the “click.” Be very picky, and at the same time, open your arms to potential when you see it.
But still, keep in mind the axiom of B2B: I believe offline is crucial, and meeting people — both clients and employees — isn’t just good; it’s the bloodline of the sector.
By Alex Lutskiy, Founder and CEO at Innovecs, a global software development company. First published on https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbestechcouncil/2021/02/09/far-away-but-so-close-boosting-global-communication-with-clients-and-staff-in-2021/?sh=170be86273ab February 9, 2021