Doing international business is difficult enough as you struggle to understand a culture very different from your own. But perhaps the biggest issue when engaged in audio-only conference calls with international business partners or clients is simply the language gap.
It's a challenge to understand accents over the phone; so much is lost when you can't see the person you're speaking with. Because different languages have different nuances, it's sometimes difficult to catch subtle meanings behind the words. This challenge is compounded when you're speaking with someone who has only rudimentary English speaking skills.
- Enunciate clearly.
- Don't use slang or figures of speech.
- When in doubt, be overly respectful.
- Remember personal relationships.
A Web Conferencing Center Overcomes Cultural Gaps
It's much easier to communicate with someone when they can see you. Reduce cultural misunderstandings by using video liberally—whether it's for a product demo or a talking head on the screen. You can find these features through a web conferencing center, like Cisco WebExTM Meeting Center, provided by InterCall. A smile can go a long way in building a long-distance relationship.
Additionally, take advantage of tools like file sharing, shared web browsing and a virtual whiteboard. Remember you have more than just words to make your point when you meet with international clients through a web conferencing center.
Any good stories to share about cultural differences on conference calls?
Dan Uhlmeyer is a Sr. Product Manager and the "Web Conferencing" blogger. He has nearly ten years of product experience in Web Conferencing and has managed several services at InterCall. When not punching on the keyboard, you can find Dan enjoying time with his wife and two children or running a marathon.