It is not essential to be conversational in multiple languages to succeed in international business. However, learning different languages can have far-flung effects on both your business and your career.
For instance, consider what can happen if your company does business in Japan and you learn Japanese. Having the ability to converse with Japanese employees and customers can instill trust and confidence in you and your business. You can bridge the gap with these employees and customers. Plus, you may find yourself in high demand among other organizations that operate in Japan.
Ultimately, there are many reasons to be conversational in multiple languages in international business. These include:
1. You Can Help Your Company Boost Its Client Satisfaction Levels
Learning a new language can simultaneously improve client satisfaction and your company’s culture. If you learn a new language, you’re well equipped to provide customers with outstanding experiences. From here, you can lay the groundwork for long-lasting customer partnerships. Meanwhile, you can engage with international colleagues in their native tongue. This can help you build and sustain positive relationships with global colleagues. At the same time, you can contribute to diversity in company culture.
2. You Can Climb the Corporate Ladder
Those who know multiple languages can position themselves for a successful career in international business. You can learn a new language to show your employer you’re willing to do what it takes to help it succeed. If your employer notices your initiative, it may be more inclined than ever before to offer you opportunities to advance your career.
On the other hand, today’s international companies want multilingual workers. They commit significant time, energy, and resources to recruiting talent that can speak multiple languages. If you can converse in more than one language, you may be able to land a great job at a business that operates internationally.
3. You Can Avoid Outsourcing Workers
After you learn a foreign language, you can share your knowledge of it with workers across your business. Next, these workers may be able to learn the basics of the language. They can then apply their knowledge of the language to their daily work as needed. This can help your business’ in-house personnel become more productive and efficient. It may allow your company to forgo outsourcing workers, too.
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4. You Can Manage Multilingual Projects
Understanding a foreign language can provide a project management boost. For example, your international business may manage construction projects around the globe. The projects can involve construction workers who speak multiple languages. By learning a foreign language, you can stay in touch with construction teams at global work sites. You can communicate and collaborate with these teams. Most importantly, you can manage these projects with precision and care. The result: you can ensure that international construction projects stay on track and are completed on time and on budget.
5. You Can Study Abroad
If you’ve ever wanted to study abroad, learning a new language is key. In a study abroad program, you can apply what you’ve learned about a new language on a daily basis. You can engage with locals and see how far your language skills have progressed. In addition, you can make the most of your experience in a foreign country.
How to Become Conversational in Multiple Languages
To get started on learning a foreign language, you first need to decide which language you want to learn. Consider where your company operates and the primary language spoken in these areas. At this point, you can look for classes that allow you to learn the ins and outs of this language.
You can pursue online classes to learn a foreign language. These classes give you the flexibility to become conversational in a foreign language at your own pace.
There are also in-person foreign language classes you can attend. These classes allow you to meet with other students and engage with them in real-time. As such, they can help you quickly become conversational in a new language.
Resist the urge to try to tackle multiple foreign language classes at once. It can be challenging to learn a new language. But those who stick with it will gradually build their foreign language skill set. Over time, you can master a new language and use what you know to help your company and grow your career.
The Bottom Line on Learning Multiple Languages in International Business
Those who work in international business but never learn a second language are not doomed to fail. But learning a new language can provide you with a step up in international business.
You can become conversational in another language and speak with employees and customers from around the world. This can help you build meaningful relationships with these employees and customers. It can also help you take the next step forward in your international business career.
If you are interested in learning a new language, do not wait to get started. Once you do, you’ll be able to converse in a foreign language and help your international business thrive.