What You Need to Master a Foreign Language for Business
Business is all about making connections and relationships with others. You are not limited to doing business with just the people in your city or state. In fact, when doing business, you can work with anyone in the whole world. Mastering a foreign language is extremely beneficial in business because it opens doors for connections across oceans and international economies.
Have Conversations With Native Speakers
As much as possible, try to speak with native speakers when learning a foreign language. You will learn proper pronunciation and accents much more accurately from a native speaker than from any textbook, app, or online tutorial. Native speakers can also help you understand less straightforward concepts like idioms or irregular structures. Additionally, as you get to know native speakers through practicing their language, these people could be potential business partners or clients. Even if you don’t do business directly with these speakers, they may introduce you to other native speakers in new countries you are trying to work with.
Learn the Vocabulary of Specific Industries
Beyond being able to hold a conversation, it is imperative to learn the vocabulary of specific industries. This is especially true of highly technical industries. For example, areas like biotechnology allow for few mistakes when it comes to the vocabulary. Failure to master vocabulary from specific industries can reflect poorly on your business, its legitimacy, and your seriousness to do business in those industries. People in foreign countries will be much more willing to do business with you if you show your competency and fluency in a specific area.
An Understanding of Local Customs and Etiquette
Even if you are saying all the right words, you may still be giving the wrong message. It is necessary to have an understanding of local customs and etiquette to avoid such faux pas. Research the language and country you are hoping to do business in, taking note of any words, slang, hand gestures, body language or other behaviors that are disrespectful or offensive. For example, pointing or making a peace sign are common hand gestures that are perceived very negatively in other countries.
When you are learning a foreign language, you will inevitably make many mistakes. Do your best to be respectful of the language and culture by trying your hardest to learn proper tones, vocabulary, and etiquette. If you make a mistake, apologize immediately and show a willingness to improve and correct yourself. When others feel you are making a sincere effort to learn and communicate with them, they will be more willing to do business with you.