Language Matters

Kathleen Stein Smith, Ph.D

Why foreign language skills should be in your management toolkit

“How foreign language skills can build bridges and strengthen business relationships, plus some tools to get you started learning one

if you’re going to manage in an international arena, you should take the time to at least learn some of the local language. I was soon to find out that even if you don’t speak the local language fluently, it can make all the difference if you make the effort.

Unfortunately for many Americans, we have the luxury of knowing that the world’s de facto business language is English. We also have an educational system that has been hit by budget cuts that have reduced foreign language education. According to an article from the Pew Research Center, foreign language offerings in U.S. schools are inconsistent at best, while foreign language-learning is mandatory for almost all European students. In a global business arena, this could place American managers (and American companies) at a competitive disadvantage.”

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Languages do matter!


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