Do you feel awkward that everyone has to speak in English for you within your international team or when you meet global partners? Would you like to feel more included in crucial pre- and post-meeting chat? Maybe now is the moment to overcome barriers and learn some language basics!
Whilst many international companies have a policy of using English for all meetings, some colleagues will turn naturally to their mother tongue to chat before and after the meeting itself, both face to face and virtually. Small talk is an essential part of building trust and getting to know one another and a powerful tool in business relationships. As an English-only speaker, you may be missing out on crucial relationship-building opportunities. It’s never too late to learn, and with some basic language skills you can give a great first impression and build a competitive advantage too.
Although you may feel worried taking the plunge with a foreign language in your work environment, your colleagues will respect the effort you are making. You may well make mistakes, but that is part of learning – we’ve all been there! You will be amazed at the positive response you get.
Start off your learning with a few greetings and social niceties. By practising a little every day, you will start to pick out the occasional word that your colleagues are saying to each other. Soon, catching the gist of conversations and being able to contribute will make you feel less isolated and more empowered. Lessons with a tutor can help build confidence and skills in a safe space, but the key is using what you learn, and realising that with languages, even a little goes a long way.
Give it a try, you have nothing to lose!