When in a meeting where English is spoken, do you sometimes:
- Hesitate to speak up?
- Find it difficult to disagree?
- Wait for someone to ask you a question?
- Feel uncomfortable jumping into discussions?
- Want to participate more?
If you answer ‘Yes’ to 2 or more of the questions above, this guide is for you.
Using our Communication DNA programs, you can express yourself in any language with more confidence and without hesitation. With this in-depth Complete Guide to Business Communication, you’ll learn how to communicate effectively at work, especially in mixed-culture workplaces.
Traditionally, most people continue taking more and more English lessons even when they aren’t the right solution. Have you experienced this? Are the results what you expected? Or do the same problems continue to exist? English lessons can be expensive, and you have to worry about practice and homework. For a busy professional, this is not a good fit. Working abroad is a great way to passively improve your language, communication skills and confidence. However, today there are few opportunities and moving abroad requires much time, money and can be difficult for families.
Focusing on communication alongside language is a better option. With this approach, you can improve your work performance without moving abroad or paying for expensive language lessons. It’s an especially great option if you attend meetings with coworkers from other countries.
What’s the difference between language and communication?
Language and communication are different. Language is about vocabulary, grammar, and being technically correct. Communication is about using the language to inform, influence and develop relationships with people (even if there are language mistakes!).
Communication requires that you follow, often, ‘unwritten rules’ sometimes closely related to manners or etiquette. And, not following these unwritten rules can cause problems, even for native speakers.
For non-native speakers, understanding the unwritten communication rules of your chosen language can improve your relationships and performance at work, even if you’re still learning the language. In fact, strong communication skills will make you seem like a better speaker and look more professional.
Why should I focus on communication instead of language?
It’s a question of balance. In any language, there are poor communicators and strong communicators—and both speak fluently! For example, poor communicators, even native speakers, might speak too much, too little, or just say the wrong things. Do you know anyone like that?
Language is, of course, still hugely important. However, it is time to focus on communication skills when:
- You find it difficult to give your opinion, especially when your opinion seems different or negative.
- You understand the meaning of what’s said, but don’t understand why someone said that.
- You feel awkward, uncomfortable, or unable to speak freely in meetings or with coworkers.
- You’re unsure if your comments or answers in meetings are appropriate.
- You think that your relationships with your team or your clients could be stronger.
If you regularly experience any of these problems, it may be time to try communication training.
Why isn’t understanding enough?
In many cultures, participation means being present in a meeting and understanding what is said. However, in English-language meetings, or global business meetings, understanding alone is not enough.
Understanding is a strong first step. The second, generally misunderstood, step is to contribute.
The best way to contribute differs by culture. In Chapter 4–6, we’ll describe how to best contribute in global business meetings. The third and final step is facilitation.This means helping others understand and contribute.
What will be covered in this guide?
In this guide we cover both broad background information and easily applicable tips for improving your own communication right away! By reading this guide, you’ll learn:
- The impact of communication problems on yourself, your team, and your business
- Why communication friction is a huge problem in today’s global society
- Reputable, peer-reviewed research on business communication
- The four levels of communication
- How to determine whether or not you have a language problem or a communication problem
- The type of team player you are and how to adapt your style
- The five skills to improving your business communication and workplace performance, including your career.
- Additional take-home skill that are applicable in any language
How much of this guide do I need to read?
Your choice! We wrote this guide to be understandable no matter how you read it. We recommend looking at the table of contents and reading what feels most relevant to your situation.
However, if you’re serious about improving your performance at work (no matter your language level!), we recommend reading the guide from start to finish. Each chapter explains a key piece of business communication, and each following chapter builds on the last. Then, use our free resources as needed if you forget something important.
Too busy to read the guide? Here are some common questions:
Why should I choose the Communication DNA program?
First, it’s free. Second, it’s written by experienced multicultural professionals with deep, successful business backgrounds. Third, we know it works because of the success of our clients.
Is this applicable to my culture/workplace?
Every culture, including families and workplaces, have their own rules of what is proper and what is not. Acting properly, in a manner that is acceptable, is the best way to build trust, strong relationships and influence outcomes.
Our method not only teaches you what skills you need to succeed, but when and where each skill is most appropriate.
What is Communication DNA?
Communication DNA is our science-based theory of communication, developed by combining a thorough review of currently published scientific research and our own experiences working and coaching in global business for more than 25 years.
What is SpeakUp DNA?
SpeakUp DNA is our 5-skill program for improving your workplace performance and visibility through skillful business communication. It can be studied by yourself, but we find it’s more effective when practiced in a group.
Is this only for multicultural workplaces?
This is for any workplace. The skills taught here are applicable to every culture and every company. The only difference is how each skill is approached.