In a 2016, The Economist ran a thought-provoking column called “Of Two Minds,” which explores the cognitive and social benefits of conducting professional conversations in a foreign language. Specifically, the piece looks at how the perceived difficulties of communicating in a non-native tongue, such as having to speak slowly and deliberately, can actually provide speakers with more time to formulate good ideas. The article explains:
…there may be a feedback loop from speech back into thought. Ingenious researchers have found that sometimes decision-making in a foreign language is actually better. Researchers at the University of Chicago gave subjects a test with certain traps—easy-looking “right” answers that turned out to be wrong. Those taking it in a second language were more likely to avoid the trap and choose the right answer. Fluid thinking, in other words, has its down-side, and deliberateness an advantage.
There are also social advantages. People who lack linguistic fluidity because they are speaking in a second language, either with an accent or simply taking more time to choose words than a native speaker would, tend to get underestimated by listeners. This offers them a chance to impress their audience with their ideas, not their polished words.
“Hopping from language to language is a constant reminder of how others might see things differently,” observes the Economist. In a world of complex ideas and business challenges with multiple stakeholders, that perspective can be invaluable.
So how is your organization helping to prepare its people to capitalize on the advantages of communicating in Business English?
GlobalEnglish programs help organizations and individuals develop the skills and confidence to express themselves effectively in English so they can share ideas with colleagues, partners and customers anywhere in the world. Our unique style of blended learning empowers your talent to better manage other important global businesses challenges, including the ability to present on complex and technical subjects at events and professional gatherings, adapting to new technology and business models, and leveraging technology for productivity and analytics. Our customers find time and again that as their employees gain a better foothold on Business English, they improve on overall performance.
We encourage organizations seeking strategies that will serve them well in a less predictable global marketplace to talk with their local GlobalEnglish to see how we can help them better navigate the future realities of global business.
Reach out today to discover how GlobalEnglish can help your organization bring the advantages of multiple languages to your talent.