Experts at the U.S. Committee on Economic Development estimate that American companies lose over $2 billion every year due to language or cultural misunderstandings. Despite the statistics, being multilingual in the U.S. is still not very common. Wherever your company is located, your employees will probably be using English in their daily business interactions—it is considered the the global language of business, after all.
Besides opening doors to new business opportunities around the world, giving employees access to a language program provides them with the crucial intercultural communication skills they need to succeed.
Psychological studies have proved that speaking a foreign language will help your employees develop a complex set of skills necessary for any business looking to expand and increase revenue.
Learning two or more languages will enable them to increase their communication, multitasking, problem-solving, and negotiating skills, as well as boost their memory, creativity, and decision-making abilities.
Furthermore, learning another language can help your company adapt to the global market. Understanding another culture’s communication standards can help you effectively work and build lasting relationships in any country and expand your network and horizons.
A great example of language learning as a relationship builder comes from language expert and CEO of BRIC Language Systems, Ryan McMunn. By learning Mandarin Chinese, McMunn “had an opportunity to develop relationships with Chinese executives and conduct business in ways that otherwise would not have been possible.” After building a strong relationship with a Chinese factory owner via conversations exclusively in Mandarin, McMunn helped the owner’s son get into an American school. The owner then introduced him to his network of business leaders around China. Because they approached their relationship as a partnership, it ultimately resulted in better relations (and huge growth in customers for both businesses!). Without McMunn’s knowledge of Mandarin, this achievement would have been much more difficult—maybe even impossible.