By Syed Balkhi
Are you looking for ways to improve your communication with an international team?
You’re not alone. Many people find themselves in the same situation, and it can be difficult to overcome the language, time, and coordination barriers. But don’t worry, there are a few things you can do to make the process a little easier.
In this article, you’ll learn how to communicate effectively with your team and avoid any misunderstandings. And that’s sure to lead to better productivity and more success overall.
Keep reading for our top tips on communicating with an international team.
5 Best Tips for Communication with an International Team
The following best practices come from years of my personal experience running a 100% remote company.
We’ve been around since 2009 and have had a remote team for the whole time. And we hire people from locations as widespread as Australia, the United Kingdom, Pakistan, the EU, and more.
And the results have been great. We’re at the top of our game with products that support millions of websites and small business owners worldwide.
Here’s how to manage communication in an international team.
1. Provide the right tools
Email is an important tool for international communication, despite the rise of instant messaging platforms like Slack. It provides a written record of conversations that can be referenced later, and it’s great for sending attachments and formal communications.
That said, Slack or similar platforms are critical for instant messaging, file storage, documentation, and sharing information with large groups of people.
A project management tool also acts as a form of communication tool by enabling people to create tasks, add comments, and so on. Video conferencing is also important for live conversations.
Make sure you set up these things and train people on how to use each one for different types of communication. By using a variety of tools, you’ll ensure that your international team can effectively communicate no matter what the situation.
2. Enable asynchronous workflows
Asynchronous workflows are a key component of successful communication in an international team. This is simply the ability for everyone to get their work done without having to be available at all times.
This can mean working on different time zones, allowing people to take breaks and handle other obligations, or just not being in the office at a given time.
Some companies use a combination of asynchronous and synchronous workflows to ensure that everyone is on the same page, regardless of what time it is in their location.
For example, you may set up team meetings for specific times during the day or week when everyone can be available, and then allow people to get other tasks done during other parts of the day, using asynchronous workflow tools like email and project management apps.
3. Incorporate cultural differences
Cultural differences are important to respect when you work with an international team. This means being open-minded, patient, and understanding.
One way to approach this is to ensure everyone on your team has some flexibility in how they work. For example, set deadlines for accomplishing specific goals but don’t insist that people get it done at a specific time. Similarly, allow your team to use Google Docs, Word, or the tool of their choice for their work – while you can set a standard for how the final output gets delivered.
It can also help to have different team members take ownership of certain aspects of the projects you’re working on, such as managing documentation or keeping track of deadlines.
Overall, you’ll want to remember that everyone has their unique culture and work style, and it’s important to be respectful of these differences to achieve the best results from your international team.
4. Use agendas and documentation to support orderly communication
Creating agendas and providing documentation for meetings, calls, and other types of communication is a great way to ensure that everyone stays organized and on track.
This can be as simple as sending out an agenda ahead of time or creating a document where team members can add notes, comments, questions, and more.
In our business, we use an L10 format to ensure that our international team members can document their conversations and thoughts in a clear, organized way.
This helps us communicate effectively even when we are spread out across different time zones and regions.
5. Set clear metrics
One of the biggest issues with working with an international team is knowing what to do and who has to do these things.
To address this, it’s important to set clear metrics for each project and task that everyone can reference.
Whether you use a scoring system, task trackers, or some other method, make sure that everyone understands their role in the process and what is expected of them.
For example, have every team use an excel sheet with their names and tasks. And add a definite number alongside this information. For example, you might expect your content team to produce two articles and five social media posts a week.
Such clear and well-defined metrics can help your international team communicate effectively and work together more productively.
Being proactive about communication is an essential part of working with an international team. Whether you’re using asynchronous or synchronous workflows, it’s important to respect cultural differences and be patient with your team members.
To do this, incorporate flexibility into your workflow, use agendas and documentation to support orderly communication, and set clear metrics that everyone can reference.
With these tips in mind, you’ll be well-equipped to communicate effectively with an international team. Whether you’re just starting out or have been managing a remote team for years, you’ll be able to set yourself up for success.
About the Author
Syed Balkhi is the founder of WPBeginner, the largest free WordPress resource site. With over 10 years of experience, he’s the leading WordPress expert in the industry. You can learn more about Syed and his portfolio of companies by following him on his social media networks.