While many would argue that English is becoming “the” universal business language, we polyglots know that speaking a foreign language is really a secret weapon. Whether working with business associates abroad or taking care of everyday errands while on international assignment, the ability to communicate is truly an advantage in work and at play. We asked the IOR team what they thought were the major advantages to knowing another language. Read on for what we consider to be the Top 10 reasons:
1. You become comfortable with the business side of the language – idioms, email writing style and company jargon (Maura, Marketing)
2. There is a greater ability to understand and solve workplace problems with different cultures (Mark, Global Talent Management)
3. You understand the lyrics to all those foreign songs you’ve been singing in the shower. (Nick, Intern)
4. Locals respond to you better/quicker when you try the local language (Suzy, Customer Service)
5. You are better able to take care of daily needs like buying food, reading street signs and navigating the city (Maura, Marketing)
6. You develop a more influential leadership style through usage of local terms and phrases (Mark, Global Talent Management)
7. You get better seats in planes and access to off-menu dishes at restaurants. (Kendra, President)
8. You reduce your risk of saying something totally embarrassing by nearly 50%. (Denise, Destination Services)
9. You can fund your next plane ticket with the money you save by avoiding clever, “shortcut”-taking taxi drivers (Agata, Language)
10. You gain advantages in all aspects of your daily life, which makes for a more satisfying and successful assignment. (Rob, CEO)
What advantages have you enjoyed by knowing another language?
Contributed by Charisse Kosova, Director, Intercultural Training and Development at IOR Global Services.