With the business landscape becoming increasingly global thanks to advances in technology and transport, it’s important that companies and individuals alike start to think global, rather than just local.
Taking a proactive approach will allow organisations and the staff powering them to make an impact not just on their local business community, but also on the world’s economy.
One of the biggest barriers to global expansion for many business is a lack of language skills in their workforce, so it’s important that employees start to embrace this latest development and become multilingual in order to propel their careers, and the businesses they build them in, towards a successful future.
If you’re keen to learn a new language and improve your chances of succeeding in today’s global business market, read on to find out about five of the most important languages spoken in the world right now, besides English, and why their important to ambitious businesspeople like yourself.
As the most spoken language in the world currently, with billions of native speakers, Chinese is an important language for anyone looking to succeed in the business market. As China is a rapidly emerging market, with strong growth in the manufacturing and technology spaces, it’s important that any ambitious businessperson learns at least basic Chinese.
The language is broken up into a variety of sub-categories and dialects, but one of the most common is Mandarin, so this is the one that is recommended for those who want to learn to communicate with suppliers, customers or business contacts in and around China. Chinese can be a hard language to learn as it has its own alphabet, but with a little perseverance you can learn to use Chinese to your advantage in your career.
Another popular language for individuals around the world, Spanish is an important language for career minded businesspeople as it is the national language not only of Spain, where it originated, but also, due to colonisation, of many South American and African countries as well. Therefore, Spanish can stand you in good stead when you’re talking to other potentially important business contacts from all over the world.
As with Chinese, and indeed many other languages around the world, there are a variety of different Spanish dialects and variations, as well as local colloquiums that are unique to each region that speaks the language, but by learning one of the most popular Spanish dialects you can easily communicate with the people you need to. Being widely spoken across several continents, Spanish is a useful language for anyone who is looking to work with a company with bases and clients spread around the world.
As Russia is a key player in the world’s corporate landscape and many of the world’s most wealthy and influential businesspeople hail from the country, basic Russian is a skill that any businessperson wanting to excel should learn. The alphabet is again different to the traditional Latin alphabet that English uses, so it can be hard for native English speakers to adapt, but with hard work and lots of study anyone can grasp the basics and use them to communicate with some of this vast country’s most influential entrepreneurs.
Due to the country’s status as a ruling power in the past, Russian is also a gateway language for a number of other languages spoken across Eastern Europe, meaning professionals who wish to work in this region should make sure that they learn Russian so that they can speak with contacts from countries ranging from Poland to Bulgaria and beyond.
As over 5% of the world’s population have debilitating hearing loss according to the World Health Organisation, and with that number being set to rise thanks to music technology and declining health care in some parts of the world, it’s important that businesspeople learn to use sign language to communicate. You might not consider sign language to be a real language that you have to learn, but it has its own grammar, alphabet, dialects and even accents.
Learning sign language is particularly important for those working in customer facing roles where they need to be able to communicate face-to-face with members of the public and potential consumers of their company’s products. There are various types of sign language that are unique to specific regions, so try to learn a little about the ones that will be most useful to you.
The lingua franca used across the Middle East, Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is an important language for those who want to be able to speak to potential business allies from across the region. MSA is also the base for a variety of different types of Arabic, meaning that if you understand it then you can communicate with people even if they only speak their own regional dialect.
For those who are keen to relocate to a specific area of the Middle East, it’s often considered important that you learn the dialect used there as well as MSA, or indeed possibly instead of it, so think long and hard about whether or not you’ll be going to a specific country or region before you start learning.
Learning a new language can be a challenge, but by applying yourself and finding a method of study that suits the way you learn you can easily master the basics of these languages and give yourself a head start in your quest to become a success in today’s international corporate landscape.