Team Communication For Successful International Projects

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Team Communication For Successful International Projects

Use the tips from this article to create your own structured and fluid communication setup and stick to the strategy you create for your international team.

In the age of globalization, working internationally is becoming more of a given rather than a possibility. Indeed, more and more companies are expanding to foreign markets and hiring employees internationally. However, this brings its own variety of issues.

How can in-house and remote employees communicate properly? How can outsourcing be integrated? What alternatives should businesses use for international projects instead of their usual setups? All of these questions need time and planning, but a great place to start from is communication. Here’s how to use team communication for successful international projects.

Why Is Communication Important?

So, why communication? Aren’t other aspects of business more important? Communication is actually behind many business processes and the lack of proper communication usually results in simple yet disastrous mistakes that could have been easily avoided.

The interaction of employees with each other is one of the important aspects of a successful project, said James Clear, writer from the paper writing services review site Best Writers Online.

Business owners and freelancers alike tend to underestimate the importance of communication. It’s not just the way it happens inside a team or inside a company, but also how these businesses interact with their customers. But when it comes to international projects, your primary focus should be on the way your international employees collaborate.

#1 Understanding Language

Of course, the biggest barrier you will have to overcome is that of language. If your team members speak different languages, there can be no talk of proper communication. This is why professionals are usually required to know English on a decent level. However, miscommunication can still happen. This is why it’s worth training your team members (particularly the non-native-English speakers) to clarify anything that they don’t understand.

#2 Defining Working Responsibilities

Much like with any other project, the first thing you will want to do is define working responsibilities. Which team members are working on which elements of the project? If there are multiple teams involved, how do these teams divide responsibilities between themselves and between their team members? It’s essential that everyone clearly understands what their responsibilities are, and after that, this can be documented both for official purposes and for further reference.

#3 Setting Realistic Goals

Setting realistic goals is a vital part of managing a successful international project. When there are clearly defined goals, it is much easier for all the team members to be working towards the same cause and envisioning the same picture in the outcome. A good idea is to set goals both for the team as a whole and for the different teams separately. Moreover, you can go as far as to set separate goals for different employees and to check in with them regularly to ensure that these goals are being met.

#4 Planning Out A Schedule

After the responsibilities have been assigned and the goals have been set, you will need to plan out a schedule that the team can follow. A good schedule ensures that every team is doing their job on time and meeting the deadlines set beforehand, and when there are any intersections between the tasks of different teams, they are scheduled in a timely manner. As Charles Slater from the paper writing services review site Online Writers Rating says, "A team working on the marketing aspect of the project can’t start working before the product is at least at its basic stage of development."

#5 Using the Right Tools

While it’s worth going through every stage of the project and how communication is used in each of them, you should also understand how all of this can be executed. In other words, you need to be using the right tools to get the kind of result you want to achieve with your project. Tools for communication can include anything from email (Gmail/Outlook) to video calls (Zoom/Microsoft Teams/Skype). It’s also a good idea to use a messenger (Slack) for instance communication and a project management program (Trello/Asana) for organization.

#6 Acknowledging Cultural Differences

As mentioned earlier, understanding how language plays a role in communication is essential for preventing miscommunication. However, another thing you need to think about is the possibility of cultural differences that can arise. With professionals from completely different countries working on the project, there could be misunderstandings that are simply the result of the different cultures meeting. In such cases, it’s worth talking about the issue and solving it in a polite manner.

#7 Keeping It Professional

Speaking of politeness, keeping your project professional is essential for its success. In situations when there are cultural misunderstandings, it’s a good idea to remind your employees that they are all professionals, and so, they should act accordingly. Make sure that everyone treats each other equally and respects each other for what they bring to the team and to the project itself.

#8 Adapting to Work Habits

One of the biggest challenges you can encounter when working with several teams internationally is that everyone will be on their own wave. If someone is used to doing a particular task at work, it will be difficult to change their habits. That’s why all the team members will need to learn to adapt to each other’s work habits.

Make sure that there are enough breaks for everyone to get a snack or exercise if that’s what they are used to doing. And, of course, be mindful of the different working hours. If there are two employees who start work at 8 a.m., that doesn’t mean they will actually do it at the same time because they could be located in different time zones.

#9 Learning from Past Experience

Last but not least, it’s important to learn from past experience. Of course, it’s much easier when you only have to work with several international teams again and again because this allows you to find the best approach to such a setup. But if you are constantly working on different international projects with different teams, you will have to adapt constantly. You can (and should) still use your past experience to help you make the right decisions.

Final Thoughts

All in all, proper communication should definitely be among your priorities when working on international projects. If there is no communication or miscommunication is prevalent, you can end up with a failed project and thousands if not millions in losses.

Use the tips from this article to create your own structured and fluid communication setup and stick to the strategy you create for your international team.