How English Language Skills Play An Essential Role In Building Trust With Your Customers

The English language is the global language of business, politics, international relations and entertainment for a number of countries worldwide.

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The English language is the global language of business, politics, international relations and entertainment for a number of countries worldwide. While English is not an official language in many of these countries, it is the language most often taught as a foreign or second language, which means that it is spoken by over two billion people. It therefore breaks down barriers, drives global collaboration and thinking and opens doors to a multitude of opportunities around the world.

However, in spite of this leading role of English in the globalised world, management often considers language skills a "soft' issue and does not recognise that immediate or concerted efforts for change are required; or more specifically, that individuals need to be fluent in English in order to be competitive in an international business market.

As Jeff Standridge, Vice President of Global Workforce Management at Acxiom Corporation states: "We have to be able to work seamlessly across the enterprise. That requires us to overcome any language barriers that exist. Without the ability to communicate clearly, concisely and effectively, significant risks begin to enter the equation, including lower quality and lost productivity. By addressing these needs early on companies can see a significant financial impact with global initiatives".

Companies face challenges in educating clients about services and specifics of a product when they lack English language skills. Misunderstandings or mistakes in conveying that type of information cost time, relationships and money.

The potential loss of trust and commensurate loss of business as a result of misunderstandings through language underscores the importance of a full knowledge of the language for external communications, marketing and branding as well as for handling government and media relations.

Ultimately, developing trust with local and global clients and overseas partners requires highly developed English language skills. This sentiment is echoed by Herman Uscategui, Director of Global Strategic Initiatives and International Business Development, Starbucks Coffee Company:

"Advanced language skills provide the foundation to trusted relationships with customers, communities and partners".

There are many companies and individual professionals who fail in their quest for business or professional success. This failure can primarily be attributed to one of the most basic foundations of forming business relations – the language spoken.

Undoubtedly, the English language is the global language for business and having a good command of English will definitely give one who is eyeing globally competitive business or career a clear edge. Any communication problem, whether personal or business, translates to losses, zero result in negotiations, incompetence for global business or will just simply leave you ill-equipped to carry out business.

In an increasingly aggressive and competitive environment where people work an extraordinary amount of hours and have a number of objectives to reach, language vendors need to ensure that individuals are capable of learning successfully at their job.

The best results occur when instruction is customised to employees' roles. Subsequently, they will be able to listen to and communicate effectively with diverse people, using appropriate verbal and nonverbal behaviour, language and strategies thereby bridging geographic and linguistic barriers.

The Wits Language School English Communication for Professional Development programme customises English language solutions for public and private organisations that enable organisations and individuals to reach their language goals and to maintain their competitive edge in local and global business.

Wits Language School
Wits Language School was established in 1997 and is part of the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg. The school offers a wide range of language courses and services, namely: African, Asian & European languages, South African Sign Language (SASL), English as a foreign language, English Communication for Professional Development, language teacher education and translation & interpreting services and courses.

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