We always preach to our clients to be sensitive to the local culture and language when doing business outside of the US. Packaging, instructions, warranty, terms and conditions, copy writing, positioning, etc are all important to a successful international strategy.

What we often don’t think about is the role language plays when we deal with our international partners, customers and vendors. We meet with them or have a phone conversation, make decisions and execute plans based on these discussions and conversations. As a seasoned veteran of many international relationships we have come to learn that what you say and what they think you say are quite often very different. Be very careful. Just because someone says they understand, doesn’t mean they do.

Here is a good article that validates this truism. And, according to the article written by Stephanie Overby in an April 05, CIO newsletter, understanding between our international partners and customers is getting worse not better.

Global Business English Skills Declining

We believe it is up to us, you and me, to take responsibility and make sure we are truly understood.