Business communication is everywhere–it’s an underlying component of the ads we see, the products we consume, and the messages we receive in our daily lives.
Inside the business model, business communication plays out two-fold: internally, where we work in multinational teams under the hierarchy of companies; and outwardly, where we communicate with clients on a global level.
Today we’ll discuss business communication using these two models: how to pursue an effective and efficient internal business communication, and how to create leads from international clients using an effective business communication model on the international stage.
How Employees Struggle to Express Themselves in Internal Communication
Internal communication, known as IC, is important for fostering communication within an organization. There are different types of internal communication: from producing PR campaigns to HR communications to onboarding processes. Everything that has to do how a business runs its own members is key to internal communications.
Internal communications is important for:
- Announcing internal news – Internal communications is necessary for announcing upcoming events, policy changes, company news, and any other messages from top management.
- Building company culture – A good IC strategy will bring company culture to life. It will ensure that your employees have a good understanding of the company’s mission, what it stands for, and what service it’s bringing to the world.
- Engaging employees through conversation – Creating a good two-way conversation for all employees is necessary, even if it’s manager-to-employee. This is where one-on-one conversations can come in. Creating a safe working space for employees can be achieved by engaging employees in conversation.
- Company ideas from the bottom up – Every employee can possess brilliant ideas that may help the company later on. Effective communication internally can foster these ideas, especially at company meetings.
- In times of crisis – If the post pandemic workplace has taught us anything, it’s that times of crisis will affect the best of us. That’s why management and IC teams must be prepared at any given time.
It’s most effective when it’s interdisciplinary–when the heads of departments oversee the whole process, not just HR. Some companies have an internal comms department, some don’t.
But what happens when you have a large workforce with a distributed team? How can your IC strategy navigate different time zones, different cultures, and different languages? Offshore teams often have to deal with issues like this. A global corporation will inevitably have employees working around the world, in non-English speaking countries as well. This means that for those who don’t speak the lingua franca, communication may turn sour.
The Harvard Business Review has taken up this issue, noting that “When employees struggle to express themselves in meetings or get excluded because they aren’t fluent in the chosen language, communication can become wholly unpleasant. Global managers must deal directly with such issues to promote productive global cooperation.” Internal communication can be the key to solving these problems that occur due to the language barrier.
The Language Barrier In International or External Business Communication
In this globalized world, external communication is also important for multinational companies. External communication comes in different forms: through marketing and advertising, through import and export of services, and through ongoing investments. Effective external communication can broaden a business’ reach from their home country to the globalized world.
The difference between internal and external communication is their environment. While internal communication happens within an organization, led by HR or IC teams, external communication works outside of the organization, led by PR and comms teams. Both are important to a company, but both serve different goals.
External communication includes:
- Corporate communication
- Media relations
- Community relations
- Event management
The effect that globalization has made on communication is huge. Businesses who want to expand internationally must take into account many factors, such as trade policies of various nations, and the market research of consumer bases. In terms of communication, as everyone is slowly turning online, businesses must reflect that as well and convey their messages through online communications systems.
One challenge that businesses face in their international expansion are language barriers. Those who experience corporate communications with Japanese business must be knowledgeable about the language of that country. Those looking at Australian media for their media relations strategy must also know about Australian culture.
And it’s not just nations you must watch out for, but the multicultural communities within regions. Multicultural consumers are the fastest growing segment of the US population. Millions of people are increasingly multilingual, and communicating in a language that’s comfortable for them may help bridge the language gap between communication, from business-to-business and business-to-consumer.
The Importance of Translation In Transforming the Language of Business
Overcoming language barriers in communication is not easy. It comes with experience in those situations, and tons of collaboration and teamwork in comms teams.
There are different types of communication as well. There are subtle types of language barriers that exist, such as culturally appropriate body language, and the use of slang or dialects.
There are two ways you can go about the language barriers in your workplace, both internally and externally. One is to outsource to a translation company which has the linguistic capability with a variety of language pairings through a global network of translators. Another method is to work with individual freelancers. They both have pros and cons.
Working with freelancers is great for when you’re on a tight budget. You can pick and choose freelancers from sites like Upwork.com or Fiverr.com. You can negotiate prices until you find one that fits your needs. You can also set your own schedule according to the freelancer’s time.
However, finding a freelancer is time-consuming without the promise of accurate work. When working with a translation company, however, you can be assured of the quality and accuracy of the work. This is because translation companies often have more experience and have a larger network of translators that can be matched to your needs perfectly. You can vet different translation companies, but you’re bound to find one in a short time. Go with those who have experience in your niche industry, and will provide a solution to language barriers for both internal and external communication you’re facing in your workplace.
Not only can these methods aid business communication, they can also transform the language of business into one you can understand. If your internal and external processes are set, you can rest assured that your business will also increase in profitability. All by going beyond internal and international borders to perfect the language of your business.