Last week, the UK Government unveiled plans to ensure that all children under the age of seven are taught a foreign language. For many years, Britain has lagged behind its European neighbours when it comes to speaking multiple languages, due in part to the English language’s prevalence across the world, but now the government is looking to rectify that by ensuring that children are better equipped to speak to people from different countries in their native tongue.
With the ever growing crisis in the Euro Zone coupled with the rise of the economies of China, India, Brazil and many African countries, it is becoming more important than ever for businesses in the UK to broaden their horizons if they are to continue to grow. So how can developing your company’s foreign language skills help to grow your business?
If UK and Western businesses are going to capitalise on these growing economies, good communication is vital, and British companies can no longer rely on the English language to get by.
The rise of languages such as Mandarin means that soon your company will need a broader scope of foreign language speakers than ever before to be able to compete internationally, and it can no longer be taken for granted that your potential customers will deal with you in English.
Much of business relies on making connections, and if you can impress your international clients by making an effort to communicate in their own language, it gives you a strong basis on which to develop that relationship.
Many UK companies will be used to dealing with foreign suppliers in English, but the customer relationship is a completely different one. If your company can make your customer’s life easier by speaking their language but your competitors can’t, who do you think they are going to choose?
The timing of the government’s announcement is important and coincides with the growing importance of being able to communicate with different countries in order to grow a business. With an unstable local and European economy, companies need to spread their wings in order to keep their business ticking over, and being multi-lingual is set to be a big part of the company of the future.
About the Author: Alan writes for The Corporate Gifts Company, a specialist worldwide distributor of promotional gifts.