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1.1.      The importance of communication

Communication: a key skill to have and master in any area of your life. In your personal life, communication is paramount for engaging with family, friends and people you meet whilst out and about. Similarly, communication in your professional life allows you to interact with colleagues, negotiate with clients and network with potential business partners or associates.

Figure 1- Image from Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/RvPDe41lYBA

There are several challenges that business owners may come across when communicating on an international level; finding the right communication channels, cross-cultural communication, language and translation issues. Each of these different aspects should be considered when developing communication skills for your business, to be used in a global setting.

Case Study:

When KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) decided to go global, their campaign in Beijing didn’t go according to plan. Their famous slogan “Finger Licking Good” was translated into “Eat your fingers off”! This resulted in a decrease in sales for the company; however, the marketing strategy was soon readjusted, allowing KFC to become a globally successful company, even in China.[1]

So! If your communication skills need some work due to a lack of confidence, uncertainty in the field or purely being out of practice, then this module is sure to help you regain your confidence in the art of communication and pave the way for you to successfully communicate on a global scale in no time!

Key terminology and concepts

When developing a skill, the key is to start with the basics, including the fundamental concepts and terminology behind the skill. With regards to communication, it is advised to follow the Seven Cs of Communication, first introduced by Scott M. Cutlip and Allen H. Center, in their book Effective Public Relations, published in 1952. The Seven Cs of Communication are an effective and well-known list of concepts to abide by when developing your communication skills.

Below we have mapped out these concepts and given a description to help you remember the Seven Cs.

TOP TIP: When writing a professional piece of communication, ask someone else to check your writing against these 7 Cs, paying particular attention to grammar, punctuation and spelling. 

Over the years, more Cs have been added to this list in order to further develop your communication skills in the 21st century, especially given that the ways to communicate have tripled since the 1950s. Concepts such as Credibility, Consistency and Context have also been added to enhance communication.

Communicating in a business environment

As business owners, your communication skills are essential for developing networks, securing business deals and engaging with your target audience. As well as taking into consideration the Seven Cs of Communication, it is also good to know about key business terminology so reassert your business acumen during these professional conversations. Below is an assortment of key business terminology to help you develop your business communication skills.

Business Terminology and understanding for Communication

Trademark

Trademark: A type of intellectual property which links a particular product with a business.

If any of your work/products are trademarked, make sure that you are aware of the implications of this trademark and can fully explain these to your listener.

Pricing

In the creative sector, pricing varies depending on product, work time etc. Make sure that you understand your own pricing and the justification behind it. This will make negotiations easier.

NB: Pricing may differ depending on country and, in an international setting, pricing should be discussed and investigated to ensure success.

Taxes

In a business, taxes and the appropriate tax systems are essential. This money is paid into Government organisations and is mandatory for any business. Not paying tax could incur more charges and severe criminal punishment.

For more information on tax systems across the globe, check out the 2018 World Wide Corporate Tax Guide: https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/EY-2018-worldwide-corporate-tax-guide/$FILE/EY-2018-worldwide-corporate-tax-guide.pdf

Import and Export

Import: Bringing goods/products into a country from another for the purpose of selling.

Export: Shipping goods/products out of one country into another for the purpose of selling.

     

1.2.      Communicating in an international business setting

One of the main aims for the Global FemART project and Academy is to help you, as creative business owners, to develop your skills in order to internationalise your business. Therefore, by having effective communication skills, you will be able to converse with colleagues and potential business associates from different countries. 

In order to communicate in an international business setting, you should follow the same advice for communicating in your home country and within any business environment. However, there are a few points to consider in order to communicate effectively and respectfully in an international context:

  1. Language: when internationalising your business, it is not always essential to speak the language of the country you wish to expand to. Obviously, knowledge of the language can be very beneficial and ensure the smooth running of your business deals abroad. However, if you are not fluent in the language, make sure to be very clear and concise in the language in which both you and your listener are comfortable with. To make communication channels easier, you could consider a translator to help you with your international communications, to ensure that there are no misunderstandings.
  1. Culture: the international market is a celebration of different cultures combining and interacting in the business world. When communicating in this setting, cultural awareness is essential. When discussing trading deals with clients, understanding the different cultures involved can help to avoid misunderstandings, respect all parties involved and find the best solution for all.

Each of these topics will be discussed in further detail in the units to follow within this module.

Activity: self-learning exercise

In order to test what you have learnt during this unit on communication, please complete the following activity sheet.

ACTIVITY: Think of a business conversation you may have when internationalising your business.

This will help you to think about the different elements of communication and how to put them into action.

ACTIVITY SHEET

STEP ONE: At the top of the table, write down your main point to develop.

STEP TWO: Write down your point in a clear way. Then write the same point in a concise way. Follow this pattern for all of the seven Cs. By the end, you should have a fully developed point to discuss!

The 7 Cs of Communication

Main point to develop:

Clear

Concise

Concrete

Correct

Coherent

Complete

Courteous

[1] https://www.pangeanic.com/knowledge_center/mistakes-translation-advertising-will-make-international-business-fail/

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