A key skill that may be preventing you from reaching your full potential in your career – and how to develop it fast
Taking the time to invest in yourself is one of the best things you can do in life. To keep fit and healthy, you invest in your fitness and exercise regularly. To get ahead in business, most senior professionals invest in further training and conferences. But there is another way to build key skills needed to progress to the next level.
Speaking more than one language has been proven to increase your earnings, widen your job opportunities and improve your leadership abilities, and as a professional, investing in your language skills can do much more than that – boost your confidence.
Boost your confidence
In a professional environment, detailed knowledge and understanding of your sector are fundamental, but can only take you so far up the ladder without confidence. Being self-assured and able to confidently communicate effectively with co-workers, senior management and key stakeholders is essential if you want to impress and progress.
Learning a widely-spoken language, such as English, as a second language means you’re able to better connect with your international clients and partners. With English in your back pocket, the scope for conversation and career growth instantly broadens; the annual EF English Proficiency Index found that promotions are more often given to workers with English skills.
Each successful interaction will continue to boost your confidence in yourself and your professional abilities, making it easier to excel when it comes to participating in conferences, delivering presentations and undertaking negotiations with international partners or clients.
Language proficiency can be particularly advantageous in negotiation situations; speaking in the other party’s native tongue helps to break the ice. It’s considered polite and respectful, and will also allow you to spot whether you’ve been misunderstood or mistranslated, preventing costly issues later down the line.
Improve how you think and communicate
As you learn a language as an adult, you learn to view communication differently and develop newer, alternative methods for solving problems – qualities which are sought-after by employers when looking to fill senior positions. Researchers even believe bilingualism can improve your cognitive abilities, make you smarter and slow down age-related cognitive decline, so the investment pays off in multiple ways.
When abroad or dealing with international partners, a sound understanding of the language in which you are communicating in readies you for every question you’re asked and allows you to fully participate in wider discussions. You’ll be ready to respond quickly and intelligently without long pauses or hesitation, creating the impression that you’re knowledgeable, professional and a valuable member of any team.
Open up career opportunities
One of the main reasons why many professionals seek to improve their language skills is to fulfil the ambition of moving and working abroad. If you’re eyeing up a promotion in New York then ensuring your English language skills are top-notch will help you get there, and it’s no secret that having several languages on your CV makes you more employable.
But learning a language isn’t all about chasing the next job abroad – it can vastly benefit you in your current career. Coming to the table armed with fluency in multiple languages can help you make the leap from junior or mid-level management into a senior position.
Countries like England and the USA which place lower emphasis on foreign languages in formal education are now facing a language-gap, as increasingly multilingual work forces abroad are better positioned to do business and to compete with single-language employees for top jobs. Many are starting to invest more heavily in language education at the school level. But professionals already in the workforce would also hugely benefit from investing in their language skills – and learning a language later in life does not have to be hard.
As an adult, one of the fastest ways to learn a language accurately and to a high level of competency is to enroll on a tailored language learning program. With tailored tuition and experienced educators, you’ll have all the tools at your fingertips to learn strong, long-term language skills that will continue to boost your career as you grow.