Learning a language for business

When we start a new job, we can expect to have to brush up on some of our rusty skills, or perhaps even to learn entirely new ones to make sure we’re ready to hit the ground running. But what if it’s not about learning a new computer program or brushing up on the maths we haven’t used since school, but instead learning a new language from scratch?

The fact is, in today’s global marketplace, some companies will expect you to speak more than one language. If you are going to be trading with specific markets, it makes sense that you should be able to hold a business conversation in that language. However, even if you are not working in a role where you don’t expect to be involved with other markets, there are still many reasons why you might need to have a good understanding of another language.

This article details a woman being offered a job on the condition that she learnt Welsh. Her new role was public-facing, and required her to conduct media interviews in Welsh. While she managed this challenging task with a summer language immersion course and eventually gained a GCSE in Welsh, she acknowledges that this was not an easy task. So how can you equip yourself with the right language skills for your new role?

If you are applying for roles which require new languages, do your homework before you even apply. Showing willing at the interview will stand in your favour, whether this is being able to hold a basic conversation in the language or being able to demonstrate your keenness to learn.

It is also possible to buy language CD-ROMs which are tailored to business. These are ideal if you need to learn how to speak in a professional situation, such as a business meeting or a pitch, rather than learning the usual conversational standard of language. Instead of talking about pets and hobbies, you will be able to talk about crucial aspects of business which will ensure your colleagues and clients view you in the right light.

Additionally, if you need to learn a new language for work quickly, there are many immersive language courses which take place over the world. It is relatively easy to find courses where you can tailor your classes, meaning you can select the right balance of conversational and business modules. Throwing yourself in at the deep end will allow you to conduct business conversations with locals in roleplays and real life, giving you the most realistic experience possible, along with a flavour of the business culture in that country.

To brush up on your business language, check out Language Advantage’s range of fantastic courses>>

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Photo by Andrea Lainé

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