It’s often said that the world of business is becoming increasingly interconnected, and the rapid rise of the internet has played a crucial role in this. More and more people are taking advantage of the opportunities offered to them as a result of the increasing ease of communication, but there is still one crucial element to consider – the language barrier. The importance of being able to communicate with overseas clients and colleagues is becoming increasingly clear as patterns of global commerce evolve rapidly, so if you want to get ahead in business, it pays to be multilingual.
Is the UK letting the side down?
Although it’s a broad stereotype, it does seem as if native English speakers are sometimes resistant to the idea of learning another language. Of course, the fact that English is spoken so widely as a second language goes some way to explaining this, but the shifting focus of global business from the West to the East means that those who do make the effort to adapt could potentially glean an advantage. This is particularly important if, say, you’re running a business and you want to tap in to that lucrative Asian market. By learning a local language, you can help make those important initial contacts which can give you a head start over your rivals. After all, relationships are crucial in business and building trust is the essential pillar of a fruitful relationship.
If you’re considering learning another language, it’s worth considering the various options open to you. The continuing rise of China has meant that more and more people have started to learn Mandarin. Of course, this might seem like a particularly challenging language to acquire – but it can also be a particularly advantageous one. China’s major business hubs – including Beijing, China and Hong Kong – are coming to occupy a central role in global commerce, and it appears that their ascent isn’t going to stop any time soon.
However, if you’ve set your sights a bit closer to home, then perhaps learning German might be your best bet. Although the economic upheaval in the eurozone is well documented, Germany remains something of a powerhouse and is a regional leader in industry, finance and technology. With that in mind, learning the language could be a useful tool in terms of opening up new opportunities in Germany – not just when it comes to expanding a business into a new market, but also potentially for finding work in what is Europe’s strongest economy.
- Image reference – attribution licence
George Paulie is a freelance writer specialising in adult education, writing on where to find the best home learning courses for adults in everything from Criminal Psychology to languages.