Math is the universal language, they say, but to communicate with business partners you need to expand beyond English.
Many successful CEOs know another language or so aside from their mother tongue. Mark Zuckerberg knows Mandarin, even though China has banned Facebook. Leo Apotheker, the former CEO of Hewlett Packard, knows as much as 5.
This brings us to the importance of learning another language in the business world. These CEOs don’t have much time to spare, yet they took the time to learn a different language.
Why? Because they know their chosen language will help them communicate more effectively with the speakers of that language.
That’s why you’re here. You’re a smart businessman who wants to take advantage of this. Choose one of the best languages for business we’ve listed below and watch your business grow.
Mandarin is the official language of China, the country that might overtake the U.S. economy soon. With over a billion speakers, Mandarin is the most spoken language in the world and one of the most important languages.
Chinese businessmen are everywhere, and that includes the United States. Alibaba and other international brands are making their way to the Western shores. Dealing with a Chinese supplier, partner, or customer is normal whichever industry your business is in.
In 2017, the country’s exports summed up to about 2,263.33 billion U.S. dollars, which grew by $270 billion from the previous year. The economy is about to grow even bigger in the coming years. For comparison, the second largest exporting company that year is the U.S. with $1,546.72 billion worth of exports.
If you’re an entrepreneur or you want to be one, there’s no reason to not learn Mandarin, especially if you want to build your business.
A huge number of Spanish speakers are living in the United States – there are over 53 million Spanish-speaking individuals in the country, which is about 16% of the population.
This makes it the second most widely-used language in the U.S. This also means that the country has more Spanish speakers than Spain itself.
The Hispanic population will only grow, so it will be a huge benefit for businessmen to learn their language. Like the Chinese, it will be almost inevitable to do business with a Spanish speaker.
Furthermore, other Spanish-speaking countries are fast emerging nations. Argentina is a member of the G20, with Chile, Mexico, Colombia, and more having emerging economies as well.
If you’re thinking of growing your business in these countries as well, learning Spanish will be beneficial.
Want to enter some of the wealthiest nations in the EU? Learning German is your best bet.
Native German speakers comprise 16% of the EU, which makes it the most widely spoken language. It’s the official language of Belgium, Austria, Denmark, and Switzerland aside from Germany.
Moreover, Germany is the largest economy in Europe and the 4th in the whole world. In fact, the European Central Bank is in Frankfurt and it is Europe’s #1 research hub. This country will only continue to grow.
It’s one of the top regions for foreign investors with EUR 469 billion FDI. While the investments are in Germany, it still gives investors an easy access to the other markets in the European Union.
The economy of Germany is secure, which means it’s about time to learn German as well. Translating your website and other documents will also help. Click here to learn more.
Speaking of large economies, let’s not skip over the 3rd largest in the world: Japan. This country’s focus is on innovation, and learning Japanese will give you access to a wealth of such opportunities.
Japan remains as the leading force in the electronics industry and cutting-edge robotics. Don’t think, however, that robots and mobile phones are all the Japanese are good at.
It’s influencing the whole world in more ways. The country also influences finance, climate policies, energy, and natural resource security around the world. It offers development assistance as well.
This makes the Japanese language one of the most important languages to learn, especially if your business is in line with technology, environmental sustainability, and other Japanese policies.
Every industry can make use of Japan’s offerings, though, as the world is becoming more and more dependent on robots and other technologies.
Portuguese is not as popular as Spanish, but it’s still one of the top business languages. Learning the language allows you to do business on 4 different continents: America, Africa, Europe, and Asia.
The largest Portuguese-speaking country in the world is Brazil, the 8th largest economy. It also has the largest potential to be Africa’s international language, as well as South America where Brazil is in.
From a businessman’s perspective, the highlight is Brazil where business opportunities are continuing to grow. However, the language will also allow them to enter the market of the rapidly developing nation, Angola. If you’re not aware, this country’s major export is petroleum.
If you’re eyeing Asia, Hong Kong is your gateway as Macau was once a colony of the Portuguese empire.
It’s also one of the easiest languages to learn for English speakers, so might as well spend your free time learning a new language!
There are not many native French speakers when you compare their numbers to the native speakers of the other languages in this list. However, about 38 other countries speak this language.
French is also an official language of many international organizations. It’s one of the official languages of the World Trade Organization along with English and Spanish. It’s also one of the 7 languages of the United Nations.
It has a large influence on some countries in Africa, like Ethiopia, Rwanda, and such where English is not a prevalent business language. Some countries like Congo and France would even go as far as to prefer to do business with only those who speak French.
If you’re planning to enter these territories, learning French is the way to go.
Take the Time to Learn the Best Languages for Business
Modern technologies now allow us to connect with everyone, no matter where they are in the world. Aside from learning one or some of the best languages for business, we can also reach other people who speak a different language using translation solutions, but nothing beats talking directly with other businessmen in their own language.
Want more tips on your business or other areas of your life? Visit our blog now and read our other guides, like this one about the benefits of having a daily life planner.