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In an expanding global world, the ability to communicate in multiple languages is becoming an imperative for the successful growth of any business. However, lack of language skills can cause misunderstandings and conflicts between international teams, suppliers and customers. Eventually impacting the bottom line. Therefore, developing an organization-wide language learning strategy is key to breaking down communication barriers and building a truly global collaborative organization.
Business Opportunities in the UK
In the UK alone, the economy is losing around £50 billion a year in lost business opportunities due to lack of language skills in the workforce. Companies know that expanding their operations globally requires a workforce that can communicate effectively in multiple languages. As they move towards this goal, companies are beginning to see that an investment in language learning is an efficient use of resources.
Update your personal network
Without any kind of dispute, learning a foreign language opens the door to meet more people. Because people generally trust you more if you can speak their language.
Improves decision making
It has been shown that bilinguals have the ability to obtain a more logical and rational thought process than their monolingual counterparts.
Increases employee perception
With a foreign language, employees become adept at observing and focusing on procedures relevant to the area of business interest. It is not true that all business is done in English now. Even in Europe, many companies do not have English-speaking staff or their English language skills are not sufficient to do business.
We buy in our language, but we sell in our customer’s language
We can update the second half of this: you sell in your customer’s language. If customers insist on speaking their own language, it is better that there are people who can speak to them.
Language learning is not just about ease of communication
Knowing a language also means understanding a culture. The rapid growth of emerging markets in Asia and South America means an increase for many who are in contact with business partners in areas that may be alien to them. Sensitivity and maintaining a good relationship are vital when managing a business deal: understanding the differences between your culture and that of your business partner can make or break a business deal. Insensitivity or misunderstanding can have a major impact on your reputation. However, understanding and appreciating cultural differences is not just about ensuring that you avoid causing offense. Attitudes towards companies, the way they run, and opinions about management styles can vary greatly from culture to culture.
THE MAIN REASONS TO INVEST IN FOREIGN LANGUAGES
- Improved overall performance, including employee productivity, communication and customer service.
- Increased export sales as you and your customers communicate more effectively.
- Increased cross border communication and collaboration between teams and offices.
- Reduction of internal and external conflicts and biases as mutual understanding grows.
- Employees feel valued and get a great sense of accomplishment.