If you’ve been involved in the business world in any meaningful way, you may have noticed that companies tend to place a high premium on bilingual employees. What many people aren’t too sure about is just why speaking more than one language is so important to the business world. Here are four of the reasons that companies love employees who speak multiple languages and why you should try learning a new language to increase your business worth.
Speaking a second language shows dedication
In many ways, speaking a second language is like having a degree. Just the fact that you speak it may not be of immediate use, but it shows your employer that you are someone who is driven and willing to put in time, work and dedication. Learning a new language can be a powerful signal that you are focused on success and are a good candidate for employment or advancement.
Modern companies do business internationally
Knowing a second language can be exceptionally useful if your company happens to be doing business with a country in which your second language is spoken natively. In this scenario, you as a bilingual employee can break down the language barrier and help your firm work more effectively in that country. Needless to say, if this is the situation you find yourself in, it adds immense value to you as an employee. If you also have an educational background in bilingual administrative support or a related field, with a degree from an accredited institution, like the Interactive College of Technology, your position will be all the better.
Language learners also learn about culture
Another challenge of doing business internationally, beside the language barrier itself, is the cultural barrier. Luckily, someone who has learned a second language will often have some idea of the culture that predominantly speaks that language. This being the case, a basic knowledge of the customs and mannerisms of the people your company is doing business with can make you a very useful asset in facilitating a smooth business relationship.
Businesses often struggle with foreign language customers
When a company chooses to do business overseas, it can anticipate the language barrier. When a customer who primarily speaks a different language approaches the company, however, there is less time to close that gap. In this situation, knowing the language that a new customer is most comfortable in can give you an impromptu boost of business value. Such circumstances don’t carry the same potential for upward mobility as using your language skills to facilitate large foreign business ventures, but they do give you an important opportunity to get noticed by your bosses and stand out from the rest of your colleagues.
Learning a second language is one of the best things you can do to improve your value in the business world. In a context in which practically everyone you work with has a degree or formal education of some kind, being bilingual is one of the few ways to truly set yourself apart from the pack.
How useful do you think learning a second language is? Let us know in the comments below.
Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She enjoys reading reading books out on the lake while kayaking.