All languages are beautiful and a delight to learn, especially when you begin to learn how much of the languages are influenced by people’s culture and history. Gaining a good grasp of several languages allows you to be truly multicultural in this increasingly globalized world. This is especially true with entire workforces now shifting to remote work to mitigate the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, thriving in the “new normal” of working virtually with colleagues who may or may not be in the same part of the globe is not as easy as many may expect. This is why it’s important to recognize that much of this intercultural collaboration was made possible and can be further enhanced by being fluent in both speaking and writing in English.
In this article, we will share two reasons enhancing fluency in English should be included, if not prioritized in your professional developmental efforts:
As anybody who has tried to take lessons in a foreign language well into their teenage years to adulthood will tell you, learning a new language is difficult. In English alone, moving from being an absolute beginner (A1) to a level advanced enough to allow you to communicate accurately (C1), may take you 700 to 800 hours. During that time, you will be learning new words to expand your vocabulary (spelling and pronunciation), grammar rules, and sentence structures. You will even consume some literature and media to gain some cultural awareness that will inform you how to work your way with the language’s nuances.
However, if you already know some English, then rising up to higher fluency levels becomes easier. For example, moving up from Intermediate (B1) to Advanced (C1) may only take you an additional 350 to 400 hours. While this may seem like a long time, remember that the figures are just a rough estimate, and it could speed up depending on several factors, such as your mother tongue, access to language providers and fluent speakers, and the consistency in which you try to practice the language. With over 1.75 billion people in the world already speaking English at a useful level, it will be easier for you to practice and master the language.
With mastery of language comes the ability to express yourself and communicate your ideas, and in the business world, effective communication is essential. For example, mergers and acquisitions are a complex process that happens quite a lot, especially in the international business world.
Having proficient English speakers on both sides of the deal can spell the difference between a closed deal and a disaster. As anybody who’s been through one of these deals will tell you, negotiations are already complicated even when everybody speaks the same language. When they don’t, however, the process becomes almost impossible to progress, especially during the earlier stages, where a bulk of the communication is usually done through emails.
This is not to say that non-English speaking countries can’t produce successful businesses. Many have done so in the past and continue to do so today. Yet, mastering English opens you and your workforce to more business opportunities. You’ll be hard-pressed to find a multinational company that hasn’t mandated English to be the common corporate language.
While it may seem like a paradox, strengthening your workforce’s fluency in English allows them to be even more multicultural, because it allows them to communicate and collaborate with more people in the business world.
While multilingualism in the workplace has its merits, not having a common mastery of one language is going to spell chaos for your company. This is why giving your employees the chance to master English will allow you to have more open communication and open up your business to collaborating with international partners.
Diáfano Learning is an excellent avenue for companies and organizations to help their workers learn a new language. We follow the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for teaching languages. Get in touch with us today to see how we can help!
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Irma is a trained linguist, native Spanish speaker, and teacher. She is the founder and CEO of Diáfano.
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