Attention international networkers! If you network across different countries and cultures, this is worth a read. I came across this interesting graphic to help international companies network and collaborate more efficiently across time zones.
With all the technological tools at our disposal these days, it’s easier than it’s ever been to run a global business and manage global teams. That’s now to downplay the many difficulties inherent in blending different cultures and expectations into your company’s values and brand. But international networking is more doable than it used to be. Have a look, then below I’ll give you my five top tips for networking internationally across countries, cultures and time zones.
Source: Working Across Time Zones provided by @WashULaw, an online LL.M Degree program from Washington University School of Law. http://onlinelaw.wustl.edu/working-across-time-zones-infographic/
Now that you get the idea, here are my 10 top tips for networking internationally.
- Do Your Homework. A little knowledge about local cultures and customs is extremely useful. You won’t be expected to be a native, but most people will appreciate your efforts to learn a little of their land and their ways.
- Pick Safe Topics. If you’re building relationships and getting to know people, beware taboo subjects such as sex, politics and religion. It’s safer to discuss weather, hobbies, travel, work stuff and general business stuff.
- Set the Defaults. Ensure your team knows the default time zone, default language, default expectations on time keeping and default dress code. Set clear expectations so that even if you’re all in different time zones, everyone knows how to behave and operate.
- Play It Fair. While 0930 might work for your schedule, that’s 0130 in somebody else’s world. If you can’t find a time where everyone is available to network or talk during the working day, take it in turns to do a late or early shift.
- Be Proactive. Do all you can to make the first move. Offer your name, your card and/or your hand. Make people feel at ease. Be the first to speak.
- Be Tolerant. People won’t always get it right, despite their best intentions. That could manifest in something they say or do, in the wrong time they call, in how they follow up or feedback. Cut them some slack.
- Work on Skills. Much of networking and communicating is coachable. A lot of my client work helps them build powerful internal and international networks. If you’re prepared to invest in your people, you can be more productive with your international networking!
- Show Some Enthusiasm. A little passion goes a long way. Even if you’re not breaking through or not being properly understood, your smile and your enthusiasm will go some way to breaking the ice.
- Use the Technology. There are thousands of apps, widgets and tools to help you network internationally. At the very least, they’ll help you with the logistics. At best, they’ll give you all kinds of translation tips, culture tips, guides and maps. Use them!
- Learn the Language. Even if it’s just a few phrases or words, people always appreciate you making the effort. What’s stopping you learning how to say hello, how are you and goodbye in 20 languages?
To learn more about successful international networking, we’re just about to bring out our Successful International Networking Guide. Ensure you’re on our mailing list to reserve your copy.