Yeah, good question! I hear it quite often “we are in Germany so let’s talk German!“ Why not. But on the other hand we cannot expect the whole world to speak German can we? In this article let us consider some of the advantages and reasons why is it beneficial to you and your business to communicate in English.
Facts and Figures
According to the data provided by Wikipedia the English language is spoken by about 360 to 340 millions of native speakers as well as 400 mil. L2 speakers and 600-700 millions of foreign language speakers. It is the official language of 67 countries such as United States or the United Kingdom but also Bahamas, Barbadaos (yes that´s where Rihanna comes from), Israel, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Trinidad and Tobag, furthermore the language is also used in 27 non- sovereign entities such as Bermuda, Isle of Man, Gibraltar, Hong Kong or Puerto Rico. For further reference please click here.
With 1400 years of history currently the English language is used by international organizations such as the European Union, The United ations, North Atlantic Treaty Organization making it the lingua franca of our times. In regards to organizations directly related to the business world we should also mention European Free Trade Association (EFTA), Asia- Pacific Econonmic Cooperation (APEC).
The numbers and names of organizations might sound convincing to the older generation but let’s face it what really counts today (both in business and in real life, as strange as it may sound) is… the internet or to make it a bit more specific social media. It shouldn´t come as a surprise that English reigns supreme among internet users. According to Statista.com more than 25%(25,4%) of Internet users speak English followe by Chinese (19,4%) and Spanish (8,1%). Regarding the social media giants with over 2,2 billion active users worldwide, facebook has an english speaking audience of about 85 millions. If we look at Instagram with it´s 800 millions of monthly active users let´s just say that the hashtag english reveals over 7 millions of posts.
Somebody might actually shout: ,,Oye! Hold on a minute! This was supposed to be a post about business english! Not social freakin´media!“
Allright let´s make this post abit more business related and let’s have look at the biggest business online social network for working professionals linkedin.com. With over 500 millions of users in over 200 countries and an almost 10 thousand employees linkdein is one of the fastest growing social media platform. Furthermore according to bubusinessed.com Liknedin.com is the most useful social network in terms of promoting small business and own business. Not only will the users pay more attention to what you post but they will also provide you with objective and quite often supportive feedback. In terms of how many english speakers are there on Linkedin? Check this out! 70%.
Sorry to say that but the old saying if you are in business you are selling can also be paraphrased if you are in business you are speaking English.
Operational goals = Training goals
A company or any structure whatsoever is defined by it´s results or achievements. But before we get to our results we have to get throught the process of setting the right goals and objectives. In terms of Business English training it is also quite crucial to set goals which might be a bit abstract and more tangible objectives.
In regards to ones´s or a department the goal might be to speak better English. The goal is clear now we have to set the right objectives for that goal. The objectives might include:
- Improve Email writting skills
- Develop Customer communication on the phone
- Exercise live conversations
- Reduce the hesittations connected with the language barreer
The interesting part is that all of the Training goals are strictly connected with the operational goals of the employee, manager or department. In what way? Improving the email writting skills will surely translate to an improved correspondence quality. Developing telephoning skills will provide faster and more efficient communication, reduced response times and customer service satisfaction. Practicing live conversations will surely allow a more relaxed atmospehre during meetings and will allow the employees to concentrate on their tasks and projects and not on the language nuances.
Therefore the operational goals achieved by proper business English training include:
- Improved customer service experience
- Reduction of response times in email correspondence
- Increased focus on the tasks and projects at hand
- Higher awareness in negotiation situations
Change management, internal communication and employee development
Business English training will of course include more relaxed topics such as holidays and meeting new cultures but the background will always be business related. What comes as a surprize to many employees is that Business English training can become an integral part of the Change Management / Business Innovation process. Now how on earth can a business english training session be in anyway related to the change management process?
Change management is a process that involves extreme financial measures with only one goal. To improve the enterprizes capacities in terms of marketing, production, recruiting, sales etc.. With multiple consulting companies already being involved in the process with all of their training tools and seminars, we take a slow approach into the internal communication. During countless discussions it was our role to become the advocate of both the managers and the employees. Although it is hard to understand some management decisions simply have to be made. Although some of them seem insane if not crazy, there is a method in this madness.
Internal communication does not have to only relate to workshops titled “why should we use the rail while walking up and down the stairs“, or “why the lid of the paper coffee cup should be placed firmly upon it“. As “exciting“ as this might sound internal communication can also involve:
- Different management styles
- Differences between managers and team leaders
- Problems require solutions
- Understanding the roles
- The missing links in our communicationHowever you understand the term internal communication the possibilities conerning this topic are simply limitless.
The difference between what we do and what we are capable of doing would suffice to solve most of the world’s problems.”