Hello SOTGC community,
Once you’ve chosen a conservative outfit to take on your international business trip, as I talked about in my last post “3 Professional Dress Considerations for International Business Women“, you’ll want to start thinking about other elements that make up your executive impression, such as your voice and your body language.
Whenever you talk, the other person not only listens to the words you say, but also pays attention to the way you say them and the body language you use.
Here are three tips for clear communication when doing business internationally:
- Speed: The faster you speak, the more your words will be merged together, and there’s more chance of your overall message being lost in translation. When you speak to another person in English and English is not their native language, that person may need time to think about and process what you’ve just said. Then, they may need time to think about their answer and formulate it in their mind before responding to you. This internal thought process takes time. You need to give the other person some thinking space so they can respond and contribute to the conversation. Try to avoid speaking too fast. Clearly separate your words. And don’t be afraid to take regular pauses.
- Avoid the upswing. I first talked about the upswing in a previous post on my blog and it resonated quite strongly with many professional women. When the “upswing” is used in Western business culture, it makes you sound indecisive and unsure of yourself. It can also send the wrong message if you’re talking to somebody from a different culture. If you’re speaking with somebody who is not a native English speaker, they’ve probably learnt to raise their voice at the end of a sentence in order to ask a question. If you use the “upswing” the other person could incorrectly interpret what you’re saying to be a question rather than a statement.
- Speak decisively. In Western business culture, speaking decisively can really help to boost your image and make you sound like a leader. When used in international business, it can help to clear up your message and eliminate many of the unnecessary words that we often use to fill up our sentences. Be careful though, in some cultures, particularly many Asian cultures, if you use language that is too abrupt, you could be seen as overpowering and rude.
Keep checking the SOTGC site for my next post which will give you tips about body language – one of my favourite areas to talk about and teach.
Photo credit: http://s4.hubimg.com/u/3068675_f520.jpg