In a post-Brexit and Trump world, where borders and walls appear to be rising more than being knocked down, languages are more important than ever. Their necessity and power to create and foster not only social, but economic and business relationships is now at the fore of the many benefits they provide, yet many companies are still slow at prioritising their value to both their employees and their clients. With this in mind, I’ve decided to explore the importance of languages in today’s business world.
Firstly, with Spanish being the world’s second most widely spoken language, and French being regarded as one of the top five languages for business, the benefits are innumerable. As well as opening new doors and business possibilities for your company around the world, your potential business partners are sure to be impressed that you can converse in their native tongue. Moreover, with EY putting the spotlight on South America as a growing business market, despite recent economic volatility, now is the time to brush up on some helpful Spanish phrases to help you make connections across the world. Finally, with the impact of Brexit still largely unknown and looming over us, what better way to maintain (or improve) the health of your European connections than by impressing them with your French skills?
Travel is another area where languages can help your business to thrive. Visiting other countries, and also being able to communicate with natives in their mother tongue, is not only an important way of fostering new business relationships, but also of seeing how your competitors or potential business partners operate. Conversing in their native tongue not only demonstrates to fellow businesspeople your dedication to your work, and to furthering business relationships, but can also showcase the skillset enrichment you provide to your workforce outside of their normal work routine. It has been proven that learning languages help to improve neural pathways in the brain that are responsible for memory, multi-tasking and attention span! What more could you ask for?
This is where tuition comes into play. If companies are able to organise in-house tutors, who can provide business-specific language courses, then the learning is facilitated and at-hand. In addition, learning languages in a group format is a great way of joining team-building and skill development together into a neat package, providing multi-faceted corporate enrichment. Lack of time and availability outside of work are often cited as reasons why employees do not pick up new skills, such as languages, so tutors that come to you are a real asset. By providing lessons that will not only arm your employees with the corporate terminology they will need for foreign business meetings, but also allow them to fire up different areas of the brain, the global intellectual value of your company can only grow. It’s a win-win.
A world as uncertain as ours is at the moment requires decisive and positive moves forward, not fear or the constant building of barriers and walls – be they political, economic or actual. Although languages are not a cure-all, they definitely go some way in easing cross-border communication, fostering better international relationships and encouraging intellectual growth. The time and effort put into providing language tuition for your company will be repaid in the form of even more highly skilled employees, new business opportunities, and better business relationships – clearly, learning languages is something all businesses can profit from.