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3 Rookie Mistakes in International Communication

Here at InMotion, we specialize in communication across all channels. The digital age has seen the number of those channels multiply and their reach widen, providing almost instantaneous global communication. How can top professionals navigate this uncharted territory? Is there a wrong way approach it? We’ve compiled the three most common rookie mistakes that we’ve seen people make. Steer clear of these to become a cosmopolitan pro.

  1. Spelling. Did you know that the variations of the English language go beyond accents? While grammar, punctuation, and spelling can vary from region to region, English is typically divided into the two broad categories of North American and British. Each have their own spelling. We love Oxford’s handy guide to spelling conversions, featuring some go-to rules like changing -ize to -ise. No one expects you to abandon the spelling that you have learned, but before jumping to “fix” the spelling in a document from a British colleague, check that it’s not just a variation.

  2. Time & Date Formats. In the United States, we write our dates as month/day/year. For instance, today it is 09/18/17. However, most other places in the world would write today’s date as 18/09/17, using the day/month/year format. When setting an appointment with an international contact, or whenever dates come up in general (i.e. talking about a timeline or deadline), write out the entire date, such as September 18, 2017. While this can be frustrating, it can potentially save you from an awkward misunderstanding.

  3. Small talk. Discussed frequently in our #FindMeIn series, small talk is a stable of business etiquette in many places throughout the world, so don’t forget to exchange some light conversation before getting to business. This accounts for emails, as well, so include a short paragraph asking about the weekend before diving into the topic at hand.

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