Why are language skills great for business?
We are now operating in a global business world. Consequently everyone recognises the problems which can occur in business when staff find it difficult to communicate with colleagues and clients. Issues such as missed enquiries, lost orders, misunderstandings and hesitating to pick up the phone to discuss issues. Furthermore, the inability to chase payments effectively, low morale and poor staff retention…mistakes are made. The Guardian agrees that language skills are great for business.
Should employers include languages in the training budget?
Good talented people naturally want to advance and they appreciate meaningful support in the process. Many ambitious employees want to gain skills and become more versatile and valuable to an organization. Giving foreign workers the opportunity to improve their English skills so that they can better communicate with colleagues and line managers in the UK leads to direct performance improvements. For more reasons why companies should support Personal Development plans click here.
CLT Ltd has been the preferred supplier of English language training for London’s Hawksmoor Restaurants for 6 years. Former HR Manager, Mirjam Saar, said:
“We would highly recommend CLT to any company that’s willing to invest in their staff and their personal development.
We can tell the lessons have made a difference for those attending – Our employees appreciate the opportunity given to them and they are much more confident at work – we in return want to keep supporting them in their careers and hopefully we are able to see more and more people getting promoted in their jobs.”
Where should you start?
The first decision to make is when to start learning the target language. The answer is – it’s never too soon. Plan well ahead as a key part of your learning and development strategy – don’t leave it until the last minute, as no one can become proficient in a second language in a couple of weeks. Weekly lessons – either face-to-face or online – are designed to take place over a relatively long period and allow you time to consolidate what you have been learning between sessions.
If you need to get to grips quickly with the basics, for a business trip for example, then an intensive course might be preferable. If you choose this option, be aware that intensive courses are of most value if you can ‘top up’ your training regularly afterwards. You also need to decide which language to focus on. This will probably be based on a specific business need but your previous experience and/or language difficulty may also be considered.
Choosing a language training provider
Most business people learn a second language to help them communicate with their customers and colleagues. So make sure that you choose a language training provider who will take time to understand your objectives in detail. They should also assess any current language skills the delegates have. You should then expect a very focussed, detailed training plan from them. The plan usually concentrates on aspects of the language which will enable sustained business performance. For example, survival skills for travel, telephone skills, polite social conversation and introductions, meetings, presentations, emails, documentation. Bespoke language training should also include your own work/industry-specific terminology. Most training providers will aim to match you with a professional tutor with relevant experience who suits your learning style, industry and company.
It will also help if your training provider builds into the programme a certain amount of cultural and business etiquette as even our closest neighbours do business in different ways. See our blog on “14 essential tips for conducting successful international business meetings”.
Many European languages are relatively easy to learn. However, languages such as Mandarin Chinese, Japanese and Arabic present more of a challenge. Have a chat with your language training provider to make sure that you have set yourself realistic objectives. With Mandarin Chinese, for example, you may wish to focus simply on speaking and listening skills alongside business/social etiquette. Read our blog “6 tips to doing business in China” for some business tips.
However far you decide to go in terms of learning the language of your customers and colleagues, you can be sure that it will certainly be appreciated and reap worthwhile rewards!
To book your language course, call us today on +44 (0) 203 036 0760.
Or visit our website for more information.