Global Business Communication: Importance of the words used and the best part of doing global businesses <Column 2nd of 3>

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Greetings, this is Miura of UNIADEX, Ltd. I am in charge of handling global businesses at my company.

For the 1st blog article新規タブで開く, I wrote about the experience I had a while ago to talk about the communications over different cultures.

For this 2nd article today, I would like to talk about the "Importance of the words used" and "The best part of doing global businesses".

Importance of the words

UNIADEX, Ltd. has subsidiary/related companies in over 6 different Asian countries and in China (used to be 7 countries before). I have therefore been involved with the overseas system deployment and project management businesses with them since 2005. 
While the word "China and the Southeast Asia" is often said as if one set of groups, the characteristics differ greatly between the countries. Of course, the individual engineers have their own way of thinking and how they prioritize things (I know this is also same for the Japanese).

So, I continue to search on what kind of words and phrases catch their attention the most. I keep searching what kind of expressions will relay my intentions and receive the expected responses.
We often talk about "reading between the lines" in Japanese. A Japanese like me is likely to omit words expecting the implicit assumptions being made. I know you have heard the word "high context" before. In comparison, English is said as "low context" which means we must clearly define the Subject + Verb + Object + Compliment (SVOC) in the sentences we use (my school days memories!)

When a Japanese speaks with people outside of Japan, we must be careful not to fall back on using the ambiguous Japanese way of speaking. If not careful, we will miss the point of our conversation & it will result in having some gaps in our understandings later on.
So, I try my best to pull out the words hidden between the lines as well as to clarify the subject and the predicate within a sentence. This practice actually improved my Japanese!

I often hear my colleagues say [No matter how many times I try communicating with people overseas, they don't understand my message & the replies always come back different.] 
My advice will be to objectively check the e-mails/sentences sent to see "if there are any words being left out between the lines".
By using the expressions matching their point of view, the communication will improve and the stress will be minimized.

グローバルビジネス コミュニケーション術①
I am the third from the right on the 1st row - being a part of the team with communication.

The best part of doing global business

While the management over the various cultures can be pretty harsh, the best part of doing these global businesses is being able to go to the countries and the areas I would never have had a chance to visit. Surprisingly, this is becoming my motivation to do the business. By going abroad to the site, I feel "the air" (the atmosphere) and I get to communicate with the people living there.
For example, I had a chance to visit places like:

  • Very rural & outback areas of Thailand and Vietnam - this is the kind of places only the backpackers and frequent world travelers go last.
  • Industrial Park which is located exactly the opposite direction of the tourist spots and the famous beaches from the airport.
  • Undeveloped land beyond a jungle where the mobile connection is not even available.

Very interesting, isn't it?

グローバルビジネス コミュニケーション術②
Golden Triangle located at the boarder zone of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos with the local staffs of Netmarks Thailand. Exciting! (I'm on the far right)

If there are any country you wish to visit, one of the ideas is to propose a business in that country, find a client and start the project. You can also start another project in parallel introducing the solutions available in that country.
I had an experience of visiting multiple countries such as Korea, China, Australia, the United States, England and Germany in one single project. My colleague had a project which required him to travel directly from the United States to England without coming back to the hometown first. These experiences are very rare for us for not using the airports in Japan. Working hard resulted in a treat for me to be able to travel around the world in a circle.

グローバルビジネス コミュニケーション術②
Sometimes, unexpected things happen. There was a strike at the Frankfurt airport & I unexpectedly ended up staying in Frankfurt that night which extended my business trip.
グローバルビジネス コミュニケーション術④
Thanks to the situation, I got to enjoy the German culture.

As I also mentioned in the 1st blog article, I had no chance of going abroad recently due to the COVID-19 situation.

Instead, we have online meetings with the staffs in China/Southeast Asia to secure our communication. We are actually speaking with each other more than ever.

Fortunately, we have the relationship built together with the local staffs; however, I am being extra cautious as the online meetings are likely to result in one-way talks without many interactions. The facial expressions are harder to be read as well.

I believe we must meet in person to connect and build relationships with the new staffs and the new clients.
For this, a little more patience seems to be needed.

Masahiro MIURA

Joined Netmarks Inc. (currently, UNIADEX, Ltd.) in 2002. Sold transmission units for the communication carriers and provided project management under Service Provider Business Division. Managed ICT infrastructure deployment projects for the Southeast Asia region under Global Business Division in 2008. Also managed outsourcing projects for IT management of the global locations and PC unit deployment project management for China and Southeast Asia.

masahiro miura