Languages that Business Leaders of the Future Need to Learn

- - Adam Kidan

The fact that world is becoming increasingly global, and interconnected is an indisputable fact. Just fifty years ago, a CEO or business leader simply did have enough reason to focus on learning another language. English was the world’s predominant language, at least economically. However, since then, due to the advent of the internet, economies and societies from across the world have become much less dependent, and isolated. It’s much more likely that you are going to come across people, whether face to face or on the internet who perhaps do not speak English. Communication is vital for good business. So understanding the needs of your business partners, or potential customers is absolutely imperative for success. Furthermore, just as Facebook Founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg demonstrated last year when he surprised an audience in China with Mandarin skills, learning another’s native tongue shows that you care about the culture and society of their nation. And forging this kind of relationship can go a long way in business. Here are a few of the world’s most common languages, as well as some that are prevalent in the most economically important areas of the planet.

German

Many Americans are surprised to hear that the economy of the European Union is almost as large as that of the United States. Germany, located in the heart of Europe, is the engine of the European economy. Since the great recession began a few years ago, it has almost single-handedly kept the economies several member-nations afloat. The future also looks bright for Germany as well. Recent reports have indicated that the economy is a strong as ever, and is forecasted to experience robust growth over the coming years. This is why it is German is a very handy language to pick up despite the fact that only two percent of the world is fluent in German. Additionally, English is a Germanic language, and many english-speakers find that German is easy pick up compared to that of Chinese or Arabic.

Chinese (Mandarin)

Mandarin the most common language in China and in the world, with more than 1 billion native speakers. The massive population of China was one of the nation’s biggest advantages over its economic transformation from a 3rd world country to a world powerhouse over the last few decades. Now that China has established itself as a major player in the world economy, it’s time for businessmen around the planet to learn the state’s most common tongue. Language also provides great insight into another culture. As the Chinese culture is vastly different than that of Western nations, it’s important that one learns the language and customs a country such as China in order to effectively build business relationships.

Spanish

Spanish is one of the world’s most common language, and is spoken widely around the world. Hundreds of millions of people across the emerging economies Central and South America speak spanish, as well as millions in the United States due to the rising hispanic population. Spanish Speaking Americans already boast more than one trillion dollars worth of purchasing power. And this number will surely rise in the foreseeable future. It’s already offered as a language option at nearly all academic institutions within the US. It’s an absolute essential for business leaders looking to forge bonds abroad, as well as within the nations borders.

Portuguese

business-in-brazilLearning the Portuguese language is important for essentially one reason, the growth prospects of Brazil. South America’s largest nation – on the economic, geographic, and demographic levels – is forecasted to grow quickly over the next fifty or so years. While it’s still relatively poor, foreign investment is pouring into the nation. Additionally, Portuguese, especially the Brazilian variety is very similar to that of Spanish. If you learn one it’s quite easy to pick up on the other.

Russia

Russia boasts more than 150 million people, and, given its vast size, an abundant supply of natural resources. With the population, infrastructure, and natural resources the nation already has in place, it will always be economically relevant. Many people in the former soviet nations such as Ukraine also speak Russian, bringing its total count of world-wide speakers to more than 300 million.

Adam Kidan