Many challenges can arise when dealing with global and multi-cultural business interaction.The fashion industry is multi-national, multi-cultural and multi-lingual, with the latter being approached in a technical manner, and interpretation is often ignored.

The style of linguistics used in your native tongue may not translate clearly when you adopt your chosen business language.

A professional manner is necessary by all accounts, but good interpersonal skills can reward you when trying to ensure high-quality results from your manufacturer or attempting to communicate to your designer that you’re not happy with their latest response to your brief.

The metaphors and analogies that pepper your dialogue can be interpreted as offensive, or even ignored, and can litter your business transactions with confusion and disappointment.

Regardless whether your non-British manufacturer or designer speaks English, or lives in England, bear in mind that they may not have picked up the characteristics and idiosyncrasies of the language by default. Therefore, decoding what you both mean can be a minefield as you attempt to decipher if they mean the British version of “It’s fine!” (translation: it is not fine), or something else entirely.

Related reading: 11 Tips for working with Non-British Manufacturers

So, when you need to pass on feedback or criticism, bear in mind that ultimately, clarity and honesty built from a trusted business relationship can transcend a language barrier; say what you mean, discard the platitudes and employ the truisms.

Read more at Harvard Business Review.

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