The majority of the English-speaking world (that is, as a first language) are not known for their propensity to master foreign languages. But the personal and professional benefits to be reaped from the process of learning a new language are diverse and numerous. Even just locking down a minimal conversational level of any language can help you in your personal development and business growth.
For one thing, learning a new language is fantastic for your brain: it improves your decision-making, memory capacity, and opens you to a whole new perspective on life and business.
Taking on the attitude of a dedicated learner makes you more perceptive to the intricacies of your language, improving your writing and speaking skills in your native language as well as your new one.
What’s more, this altered perspective is not just about your language skills, but also your overall ability to focus and process information in other formats. The attitude that learning a new language gives you toward problem-solving is also invaluable: it teaches you that any hurdle or challenge you face can be resolved with enough effort, dedication, and consistency.
Accomplishing this is also a great confidence booster, both about your capabilities in life and also your ability to constantly learn and grow.
The first and most obvious professional benefit of learning a new language is the expanded client base you will subsequently have access to; finding a way to communicate with other attractive markets in their language opens up countless opportunities for extended outreach and international expansion. So many contracts are lost every year due to a lack of language skills in the business world and innumerable jobs go unfilled because of this language deficit in the workforce.
Having a second (or third) language firmly under your belt also makes you more attractive to employers; it shows ability and openness to learning, adapting, and both dedication and consistency – all appealing qualities to an employer. It shows that you are willing to invest in yourself and your personal development, as well as make self-improvements in the interest of your professional career.
In particular, German, Mandarin, Spanish, and Arabic are especially relevant languages to learn in today’s business climate. Mandarin has been on the rise for quite some time, while French – though still a popular second language of choice for native English speakers – is becoming less vital in the professional world.
Communicating in your client’s native tongue allows for clearer communication and, consequently, faster, more effective, and more efficient business negotiations and transactions. Embracing their language also paves the way for fully understanding their culture and the nuances of the way their people do business, giving you better insight into how to go about dealing with them. When it comes to the application of these relationships outside of the board room, the reception of advertising campaigns, business pitches, or press releases can be vastly improved if it is translated into the relevant language.
Concerning the implementation of language-learning in the day-to-day workplace, offering language training services and opportunities to your employees can be highly valuable. Not only will they gain all of the aforementioned personal gains, but they will also see that their employer is committed to their individual personal and professional development. This also creates a draw for talent and creates an opening for a demonstration of the reciprocal commitment of your employees to your company.
So, whether you simply take up casual French lessons in your time, invest in learning a language to fluency for your self-improvement, or implement language-learning services in the workplace and encourage employees to follow your example, it is clear that adopting a second language can do great things for your personal growth and the success of your business or professional career.
Mildred Delgado is an up-and-coming marketing strategist at Originwritings.com and AcademicBrits, where she has already assisted on several high-profile marketing campaigns. She works in order to create a fully-functional site that accurately portrays the company.