How to Better Communicate with Your Non-Native English Speaking Outsourcing Partners

Business communicationThe Internet breaks down geographical barriers – You and I now can communicate and do business with others halfway around the world.

Either you do brick-and-mortar business or online business, partnering and outsourcing to overseas partners are found to be cost effective.

However, this benefit comes at a price – “patchy” conversation and communication.

Most likely, you will contact and partner with non-native English speaking people.

Even in India, where English is the country’s second language, there are some barriers in communication, resulting in inevitable misunderstanding.

I blog in English, but I do misuse words or sentences that can mislead you, the reader. In business deals, this can be fatal.

How to communicate better with a non-native English speaking partner

I have a long-time client resides in Florida, US – He told me that communicating with his Romanian partner is problem-ridden. He afraid that his partner would leave him and gone without any traces. He is, of course, assuming.

This is one example of bad communication due to language barriers affecting your business – You can be misunderstood, that can lead you losing business opportunities.

For those of you whose first language is not English (like myself), I’m NOT suggesting you to take business English class (although doing so helps to some cases). However, I do suggest you to have everything in writing.

Not only emails, but also instant messages. Having your phone conversation recorded or transcripted can also help you a great deal.

Your business conversation in writing can help you to clarify an issue in the past – So, any misunderstood issues can be resolved referring to the transcript.

One, final, tip for you: Whenever you don’t understand what your client is saying or writing to you, clarify, clarify, clarify.

I’ve done that quite often, and although it may seem unprofessional, it’s better to deliver things as agreed with clear communication channel. Cleaning up the mess due to misunderstanding is resource intensive and unnecessary.

Again, if you are not sure about an issue, just clarify it.

Ivan Widjaya
Business communication
Image by Fazimoto.