Communication skills are something that have to be learnt, and improved upon. The best way to start is by being prepared.
If language is an issue, there are ways around it. The most obvious is to hire an experienced interpreter, not only will the language barrier be overcome, but the interpreter will be able to offer both parties an understanding of some cultural differences.
If an interpreter is not an option, then further planning will be needed. Email packages now offer translation options, so face-to-face communication is not so vital.
Consider if the communication can be done in a more visual way, diagrams and models could be used. It is also worth trying to find out if someone else within the other company does have a better grasp of your language.
Working with different Countries also means differences in Culture. A lack of understanding of someone else’s culture can quickly lead to offence, which will always hinder communication. Things to consider include religious beliefs, personal space, interpretation of words and customs.
It is important to do your research; you don’t need to understand every aspect of another culture, but you must give yourself some basic knowledge.
Time-zones and holidays also need to be considered. When planning the timescales for a project make sure that any National holidays are taken in to account, it should be easy to find this information out through direct questioning or searching the internet.
With the Global Market now so huge, there will also be differences in time-zones. Discussing the best time to communicate is the best place to start so that telly-conferencing can be used. Be aware of how time-zones will affect response times to written communications.
Communication will also be affected by Non-verbal aspects. Non-verbal Communication includes aspects such as gestures; eye-contact; body-language (where and how you position yourself) and facial expression; but also the non-verbal side of speech such as tone, speed and volume. It is important to be aware of how others might perceive you, and not take your non-verbal cues for granted.