The ability to communicate effectively is necessary in all types of relationships. Even more so, when using a language other than your native tongue.
In today's globalized marketplace, many companies have adopted English as their official language of communication regardless of whether a native English speaker is present or not.
What challenges do international business meetings present?
Different nationalities have very different expectations of what should happen during a business meeting.
For some, a meeting is not a place where real decisions are made. It is more of an open discussion of ideas and issues not taken into account in the agenda.
For others, the meeting should have a very strict agenda to finalize decisions and action points within the time allotted.
Certain nationalities are more likely to expect the meeting to be led by a very strong leader who will invite participants to speak and maintain tight control.
Others consider the meeting to be more of a free-for-all situation where leadership is less obvious.
All these factors combined with a meeting conducted in the mother tongue of possibly only a small percentage of participants increase the likelihood of an international business meeting being relatively ineffective...unless it is managed VERY carefully.