Working with virtual teams and global partners? Ever wonder how you’re coming across and if you are truly communicating effectively? Find out exactly how to know you’re spot on—with total confidence.

As business continues to expand and teams increasingly work globally, many professionals have asked me about how to be effective. As we all know, it’s easy to become used to a style of presenting that may work regionally or nationally…but does not work with a global audience.

Many of my coaching clients start out with presentations that are approved by headquarters. But these presentations often contain expressions, metaphors and stories that are specific to one culture.

If you’re struggling with global communication, use these 5 tips to boost your skills.

Tip 1. Time Zone
Seems like a funny first tip, right? Think about it. It’s very easy to schedule times for virtual conference calls that are convenient to you. This sets the tone that you or corporate headquarters is more important than the regions.

Be sensitive to time zones. Rotate times for team calls so everyone will be equally respected. Also, take the extra step to put local time zones into the call time. This prevents confusion and mistakes.

Tip 2. Advance Warning
A lot of people want to be prepared for a team meeting or presentation. Especially if English (or the dominant language) is not their native language.

In many teams, sending documents in advance is the key to unlock greater participation. Participants have an opportunity to preview the materials, research any unfamiliar phrases, and get up to speed.

If you haven’t tried this out…give it a shot.

Tip 3. Regional Expressions
When you’re gathering around the water cooler or at a sports event, it’s easy to talk in slang and use regional expressions. But on global conference calls, this just doesn’t fly.

Strangely enough, many of us are so used to our particular way of speaking that we don’t even ‘hear’ these regional influences. If you are concerned about your ability to speak in a way everyone will understand, consider working with a presentation coach. You’ll get candid and direct feedback.

Tip 4. Visual Impact
Pictures, photos and hand-drawn icons are powerful ways to bridge barriers of culture, language and regional differences. Still, there may be images that send a message you do not intend.

If you are presenting to an audience you aren’t familiar with, test out the images you’re using. Ask for direct feedback from a peer—before your formal presentation.

Tip 5. Anonymous Feedback
Provide a method for participants to give you candid, anonymous feedback. In many cultures, direct feedback is considered impolite or inappropriate. By encouraging people to speak freely in an anonymous method, you’re much more likely to find out what’s truly working—and what can be improved.

The fastest way to gain confidence is experimenting and using these 5 tips. Start today. Your confident global communication skills will be increasingly more crucial.

Author's Bio: 

Milly Sonneman is a recognized expert in visual language. She is the founder of Hands On Graphics, Inc., a leading visual training firm, and author of the popular guide: Beyond Words and her most recent book, The Authentic Message, was co-authored with Thomas Sechehaye has been received worldwide. Milly helps business professionals give winning presentations, through online presentation skills trainings at Presentation Storyboarding. You can find out more about our courses or contact Milly through our website at: