If you want to learn French or improve your French for business, it can have the added benefit of improving your job prospects and career advancements! The benefits of effective communication across multiple languages have long been known by the international business community as an indispensable tool for relationship building and financial success.
According to an article in the Atlantic magazine, almost one in five bachelor’s degrees awarded in the United States is a business degree. The article goes on to say that a general business degree lacks a well-roundedness that is needed to advance to the higher levels of the business world. Additionally, there is a rigidness to the mono-focus of a business degree that could lead to inflexibility in a global environment that requires a constant adaptation of skills. The ability to ask big questions…to challenge your mindset…is critical in today’s business environment.
When you learn French, especially when you immerse yourself through a language school in France, you not only learn a language, you broaden your view of the world. You begin to see the world from a different perspective. Traveling and learning about different cultures firsthand changes you in ways that you could ever imagine, but this experience is magnified when you are able to understand and communicate with people in their daily lives.
The Importance Of French In Business Today
We live in an increasingly globalized world where many cultural subtleties can slip through the cracks as we’re trying to understand past each other’s different dialects. Allowing yourself to be immersed in another language means opening the door to an entirely new culture and way of viewing the world.
Nearly 80% of business leaders surveyed believe their overall business would increase notably if they had more internationally competent employees on staff. Additionally, one in five U.S. manufacturing jobs was already tied to exports by 2006. Forbes Magazine.
There is a popular idea in the United States that the language of business is English and therefore you don’t need to speak any other language. According to Forbes, this thinking is seriously undermining America’s economic potential. The U.S. Committee on Economic Development (CED) suggests that American businesses lose more than $2 billion a year to language or cultural misunderstandings.
When you have learned a language in school without a language school in that country, you tend to learn a dictionary form of the language. Without the nuances and culture behind the language, you might miss the real meaning behind the words spoken. Not everything that’s translated can be easily understood. Sometimes cultural context is needed. Learning French or even taking a specific business French course in France can add a dimension to your cultural and language depth. Interacting with the daily life and people of France gives you a glimpse of the subtle nuances that books alone cannot teach.
In fact, those entering the workforce with second language fluency can expect an additional 10 to 15 percent pay increase. Biologically speaking, in a study by neuroimaging researcher and analyst Cathy Price of the University College London, bilinguals have more gray matter in the portion of the brain that is suspected to be associated with vocabulary acquisition. Price explains that when an individual is learning a second language, the vocabulary acquisition portion of the brain is literally getting a workout. Much like any other muscle you may work out in the gym, the brain will become stronger, thus becoming stimulated for growth. Increased gray matter means that the brain will work faster and more efficiently. Language learning is described as a kind of re-wiring of the brain which can form new neurons and connections among the intellectual network. So adding another language to your skill set is simply smart.
Physiological studies have found that speaking two or more languages is a great asset to the cognitive process. The brains of bilingual people operate differently than single language speakers, and these differences offer several mental benefits. Adding language abilities to your CV sends a message to employers that you think differently…that you approach clients and challenges in a more creative and worldly way.
When you add a French for business course in France to your experiences, you will learn vocabulary and language specific to the business world that can increase your value in the business world and give you the ability to build your relationships and network. It sets you apart in the big pool of candidates and gives you value that merely learning a language in the normal course of study lacks.
Speaking a foreign language improves the functionality of your brain by challenging it to recognize, negotiate meaning, and communicate in different language systems. This skill boosts your ability to negotiate meaning in other problem-solving tasks as well. Multilingual people are better at observing their surroundings. They are more adept at focusing on relevant information and editing out the irrelevant. They’re also better at spotting misleading information.
Your decision-making skills improve
According to a study from the University of Chicago, bilinguals tend to make more rational decisions. Any language contains nuance and subtle implications in its vocabulary; and these biases can subconsciously influence your judgment. Bilinguals are more confident with their choices after thinking it over in the second language and seeing whether their initial conclusions still stand up.
So if you have learned French in school and want to not only have a life changing experience, but actually add value to your skill set, seriously consider spending some time in France taking business French courses at a language school. The benefits – personally and professionally – will be life long.