Multilingual Business Communication

April 9, 2009

Improve your employee communication skills…and then check it!

Filed under: business communication, employee communication, Nina Vermaesen — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 6:26 pm


Effective communication in the workplace is crucial for the employee morale. Organisations that do not take this into account suffer from disengaged employees. Employees will nonetheless put in that extra effort when they are kept informed openly and honestly on aspects of their job and when they feel they are being listened to with empathy.

So, what and how should you communicate with your employees? Communication in the workplace should satisfy the three key employee “needs” before they can be engaged and highly productive. Each and every employee needs to:

·         Know facts about the organisation and their specific job

·         Master the practical skills required to do their job

·         Feel that they belong to the organisation. They need to feel self-worthy, listened to, respected, trusted and valued

At this point, though, most managers predominantly concentrate on the first two communication needs and pay less attention to the need that employees need to “feel”. It is in this dimension that employee communications are regularly lacking. Employee surveys have already proven that not only employees benefit from a better focus on this third communication need, but also the company itself. Therefore, it is certainly a valuable business strategy.

To check your progress on building positive working relationships, you can use the Workplace Culture Checklist. It helps you to have a better insight in the areas where you are doing well and those that still need improvement.


The new Tata Nano: the road to success is wide open.

Filed under: business communication, marketing communication, Nina Vermaesen — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 4:14 pm


Tata Nano is the world’s cheapest and smallest car. The tiny car was introduced to the press two weeks ago and can now be bought for the equally tiny amount of 1500 euro.


In general, car sales have spiralled down due to the credit crunch. One might therefore think that the launch of the Nano at this difficult time is a dangerous move. But times and consumers are changing, and Tata Motors, the company that produces the tiny cars, is smart and daring enough to go along with these changes now.


On the one hand, the Tata Nano responds to the worldwide trend of smaller cars. This trend has been developing for a couple of years now, but given the current financial crisis it has definitely increased. On the other hand, consumers have become more aware of the ecological problems and really want to improve their ecological footprint. What’s more, a car used to be a status symbol, but nowadays that prestige has largely disappeared. The objective of Tata Motors is to create “a car for the people”, offering common people the opportunity to enjoy a car, no matter how tiny that car is.


The tiny Tata Nano thus meets all the requirements of today’s consumers. Exit Jaguar, Porsche or Hummer. Welcome Tata Nano!



Think BBDO, helping to build brands

Filed under: internship, Nina Vermaesen — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:50 pm


BBDO Belgium is the largest employer in the Belgian advertising branch. The group consists of nine divisions that each take the lead within their own area of expertise.

The advertising agency VVL BBDO is part of the worldwide advertising network of BBDO.  Proximity BBDO creates active engagement between brands and consumers. Pleon is in charge of the PR and corporate communication consultancy of BBDO Europe. Change BBDO offers communication support to organisations during changes, internal branding, re-branding and employer branding. Darwin BBDO creates impactful and compelling brand messages. OMD is responsible for overall communication and media strategies based on consumer, brand and market insights. Navajo is active in experience marketing, community marketing and brand activation. N’Lil is the brand activation agency of BBDO Belgium. And, finally, Think BBDO is the so-called think tank of BBDO Belgium, responsible for building brands.

From April 27th up to July 24th I will have the honour to be an intern at the strategic brand consultancy agency Think BBDO. During these three months I will be able follow the entire process of advertising up close and personal. My tasks will include desk research, communication analysis of big brands and the preparation of workshops. I am looking forward to being part of this small, but effective and hard-working team.


November 2, 2008

How Tom Boonen defused a crisis

Filed under: business communication, crisis communication, Nina Vermaesen — Tags: , — meertaligebedrijfscommunicatie @ 2:37 pm


 When Belgium’s favourite cyclist Tom Boonen was busted for the use of cocaine last summer – in the middle of the cycling season nonetheless – the entire country was in a state of uproar. Therefore it was of vital importance that Tom Boonen and his entourage held a press conference if they wanted to defuse the crisis. How you talk to the press in such a situation is of major importance. More than anything effective crisis control would want to prevent a crisis. But if you fail to prevent a crisis – as is the case here – crisis communication is necessary to minimise the potential negative outcome or even to turn it into something positive.

Given the circumstances Boonen  did a great job. In fact, his ready-made announcement was completely in line with the rules of good crisis communication:


1.      “Admit the problem”: Boonen was wise enough to admit his mistake instead of denying that he had taken drugs. Fortis, on the other hand, recently illustrated the most striking example of bad crisis communication when they kept on denying that they were having problems.

2.      “Adjust your body language”: by reading out his text with downcast eyes, his body language screamed that he had done something wrong and had to be punished for it. The popular cyclist usually comes across as someone triumphant and flamboyant, but his usual bravura – which he still had when he was criticised for speeding – was now completely gone.

3.      “Do not blame others”: in a crisis situation, it is tempting to put the blame on somebody else, but Boonen did the right thing by bearing the responsibility.

4.      “Do not isolate yourself and reach out”: Tom Boonen did not only draw his family and team into this by saying that they stand by him, he also reached out to his supporters. And again, he did so in a modest way. He did not set a date or stipulate conditions for his return. Instead, he put his fate in the hands of his supporters and in a way asked them for help and support.


If you would like to know more, go to Whyte Corporate Affairs is a Belgian company with expertise in crisis communication. They even have a crisis hotline (+32 16 271 370)!


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