24/10/2013 10:33 BST | Updated 23/12/2013 05:12 GMT

Breaking Down Communications Barriers at Home and Abroad

In today's globalised world, more and more businesses, from international enterprises to local SMBs, are beginning to realise the benefits of a diverse portfolio, workforce and supply chain. Sourcing the best suppliers, vendors and partners to compliment your business, no matter what size, is easier than ever, thanks to modern technologies that allow you to connect with these organisations at the touch of a button. But what do you do to forge a connection with the people at the other end of that link?

Working internationally brings with it a new set of behavioural expectations from your colleagues and contacts. When you're trying to work out a deal with your colleagues in Brazil, Germany or Russia it pays to know that the 'OK' sign is actually an offensive gesture. Small details like this can be the difference between simply meeting and really communicating. Understanding how those on the other end of a call expect you to dress and behave just makes good sense!

It's even more important to understand the effectiveness of communications methods. Recent research found that more than two thirds of business decision makers in Singapore, Brazil and India use video conferencing at least once a week. It's ingrained into their daily work life. In fact, globally, over three quarters of decision-makers (76 per cent) are now using video conferencing at work. This means that it's important for you to be up to date with this new form of 'face-to-face' collaboration if you want to successfully communicate on a global scale.

When you start embracing video technology, you'll see how it helps to defy distance and break down cultural barriers to improve productivity. In order to take full advantage of this, you'll want to follow some quick and easy tips for appearing professional on camera.

DO SPEAK UP - Make sure microphones are well positioned. Speak slowly and clearly, especially when bilingual participants are involved.

DON'T IGNORE YOUR BACKGROUND - The wrong music, noise or décor can be distracting. Check your surroundings before dialling into a call.

DO MAKE EYE CONTACT - Look at your on-screen colleagues as if they are in the room, and make sure that all video participants are visible on the monitor.

DON'T MULTITASK- People will notice if you are checking emails or look bored. Colleagues don't need to see your screen to know you're not fully focused on the meeting.

Just remember to show everyone your best side! For more top tips on collaborating across borders try this free guide on video conferencing etiquette.