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Standing on the “Giant Shoulders of English”

GlobalEnglish Science Economist Feb 14 2017 Shoulders of Giants

Standing on the “Giant Shoulders of English”

The Economist from February 4, 2017 offers additional insights on the spread of English as the global language of business, following up on a previous piece from April, 2016 (“Of Two Minds,” discussed here). The new column focuses specifically on the ubiquity of English in the sciences, discussing how the majority of important scientific research is reported in English-language journals (see The giant shoulders of English).

“A scientific lingua franca has advantages,” writes the columnist “Johnson” (an Economist house byline). “A few moments imagining scientists toiling away in different countries unaware of each other’s successes and failures is enough to show for that.”

The column makes an argument for the value of linguistic diversity in the sciences. It encourages Anglophone scientists to learn a foreign language to develop a broader perspective and more deliberate habits of mind. It also acknowledges the reality that scientific discourse in the 21st century takes place mostly in English.

Economist Shoulders of Giants“The bilingual scientist who can [gather data from remote experts in native language and] write it all up in English has a competitive advantage.” Consequently, “more and more young scientists will learn English as a matter of course. They should ensure that clear English abstracts and keywords from their papers are available; this may be more important than the original abstract itself.”

If your organization relies on scientific research to fuel innovation and influence the market, are you ensuring that your global talent pool of scientists and engineers has the confidence and skills to express themselves effectively in Business English?

GlobalEnglish programs help organizations and individuals quickly and easily learn English optimized for business, science and professional environments to 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 manage relationships with partners and resources around the world, 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 for learning and scientific innovation in the global marketplace to talk with their local GlobalEnglish representatives to see how we can help them better navigate the future realities of global business.

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Business English Offers Subtle Work and Personal Advantages

Business English Offers Subtle Work and Personal Advantages

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.

Economist-of-two-minds“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.

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Why English is your Passport in a Multi-Polar World

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The first two weeks of the Donald Trump Administration in America signaled an abrupt departure from the consensus that governed American policy since the end of World War II. “America first, Americans first,” declared the new President in his Inaugural Address. He has proceeded to back up his words with a series of actions affecting trade, immigration and other aspects affecting America’s relationship with the wider world.

So does this mean the end of globalization? It seems unlikely. The economic and political forces that propel international trade, outsourcing and the spread of knowledge did not changed overnight. The trillions of dollars invested in global supply networks and the billions of transactions that take place across borders on a daily basis aren’t about to just grind to a halt.

Instead, the election of President Trump may simply accelerate a dynamic that has already been taking place for more than a decade: a shift from an American-led brand of globalization to a more multi-polar world where regional powers like China, India, Russia, Germany, Turkey and Brazil lead in different directions, focusing on different priorities. The spread of the Internet and the ubiquity of mobile devices means that even the most underdeveloped parts of the world enjoy ever increasing access to information, resources and markets. The innovation once centralized in New York, London and Silicon Valley is now more evenly distributed around the world.

A multi-polar world churns uncertainty. A less predictable world means that organizations need to listen and collaborate more closely to take advantage of opportunities—and avoid risks—anywhere in the world. They need to prepare to engage a variety of trading partners and resources, working around America when it becomes difficult to work with it.

Those conversations, even when they do not take place between English-speaking partners, are likely to take place in Business English, which remains the international language of commerce regardless of the policies of America and the UK with respect to global trade. A multi-polar world without a clear center makes the ability to communicate confidently in English even more important.

So what is your organization’s strategy to up-level the Business English skills of your worldwide team?

GlobalEnglish programs help organizations become more resilient in the face of global uncertainty by opening up new avenues of communication, collaboration and commerce with other English speakers around the world. Our unique style of blended learning empowers your talent to better manage other important global businesses challenges, including confident and fluid interaction with English-speaking audiences in professional settings, 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 team. Reach out today to discover how we can help your organization better navigate the future realities of global business.

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Can Business English Help Close the Global Wage Gap?

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Can Business English Help Close the Global Wage Gap?

Last week, issues of economic inequality were much on the minds of the global business leaders who met at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Trends in automation and globalization make it more difficult for workers to gain wealth, with global wages rising only 1.6% since 2012 (0.9% worldwide if you exclude China, where growth was unusually robust). Meanwhile, return on capital is booming: the Dow Jones Industrial Average just cracked 20,000 for the first time in history (25 January, 2017). The result? Owners are getting richer while workers continue to fall further behind.

One solution: upskill workers such that their value to employers justifies higher salaries and greater job security. According to a post on the WEF site by Guy Ryder, Director-General of the International Labour Federation, the earnings differential between more and less-skilled workers can be dramatic.

“In Europe, the top 10% of best paid employees take on average 25.5% of the total wages paid to all employees in their respective countries, which is almost as much as what the lowest-paid 50% get (29.1%),” writes Ryder. “The share of the top 10% goes even higher in some emerging economies, for example Brazil (35%), India (42.7%) and South Africa (49.2%). In Europe, the top 1% earn about 90 euros per hour, which is 8 times more than median wage earners, and 22 times the average wage of the bottom 10%.”

One core skill that can make that kind of difference? The ability to communicate clearly and effectively in Business English.

GlobalEnglish programs help organizations build greater value into their workforce and provide workers with more value, earning power and economic security. Our unique style of blended learning empowers your talent to better manage other important global businesses challenges, including confident and fluid interaction with English-speaking audiences in professional settings, 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 to improve the capability and capacity of their leadership pipeline to talk with their local GlobalEnglish to see how we can help them achieve their goals, including being ready for the learning-centric workplace of the 21st century.

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Lifelong Learning Should Include Business English

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According to a special feature in the January 14 issue of The Economist, companies and employees need to embrace continuous learning as a core skill to remain competitive in a 21st century economy increasingly characterized by the blend of human and machine intelligence. Attaining competency in Business English is critical to this goal on several levels.

First, Business English is itself a skill. Any worker in a customer-facing role increasingly needs English, not just to communicate with prospects from English-speaking countries, but to use as a common language with anyone who does not speak their native tongue. Those in technical and professional roles need English to participate in international communities of practice and exchange ideas with colleagues. Those in lower skill roles at risk for automation especially need Business English to give them the flexibility to transition into new positions.

Business English also empowers people to learn more quickly and expand the scope of career opportunities in an uncertain future. Formal training materials can be translated or localized, but the truly valuable “tribal knowledge” that comes from experience and collaboration within a field of practice is passed along through conversation, much of it in English. Those who can’t confidently participate in those conversations because of lack of Business English competency miss out on the exchange of ideas that forms the bedrock of learning, as well as on the serendipitous connections that can lead to future career growth opportunities.

Developing these skills is not just the responsibility of individuals. According to The Economist, a growing number of employers are “putting increasing emphasis on learning as a skill in its own right.” Organizational investments in Business English can help set those efforts on a firm foundation.

GlobalEnglish programs can help organizations better prepare for a future of continuous learning. Our unique style of blended learning empowers your talent to better manage other important global businesses challenges, including confident and fluid interaction with English-speaking audiences in professional settings, 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 to improve the capability and capacity of their leadership pipeline to talk with their local GlobalEnglish to see how we can help them achieve their goals, including being ready for the learning-centric workplace of the 21st century. Reach out today to discover how to integrate Business English into your organization’s ongoing learning offers.

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Five Questions Every Tradeshow Worker Should Be Able to Answer Using Business English

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Last week, nearly 200,000 people attended CES in Las Vegas, the world’s largest gathering of makers and buyers of electronic devices, appliances, computers, televisions, cars and futuristic technologies like robots and wearable devices. Many of the exhibitors and attendees came from outside of the United States—at one point or another, all of them relied on English as a common language to conduct important conversations on technical and business topics. How many of those conversations led to positive impressions and new business relationships, and how many sent the wrong message?

Being able to communicate clearly in English to prospects, press, analysts and influencers is critical to making the most of trade show opportunities. Miscommunication not only imparts incorrect information, but it can also make your company appear unprofessional or hard to do business with. In a tradeshow environment, businesses have many chances to make an impression, good or bad: in booth signage, on printed materials, in videos, the website, in formal press conferences and panels, and after hours at social events.

But one of the most important points of interaction is at the booth, where conversations often prove spontaneous and informal. How should organizations prepare their talent to maximize your chances of success in these interactions? The first answer: make sure everyone representing your company at an international trade show is able to confidently answer these questions in proper Business English.

Five Questions Every Tradeshow Worker Should Be Able to Answer Using Business English

  1. Who is your company and what do you do? You should have a succinct summary of your business identity committed to memory, along with a short description of your value proposition. For example, “We are Shenzhen China’s largest supplier of mobile phone cables and docking stations, with custom designs available for most devices in the market.”
  2. Where are you from? Keep in mind that the person asking the question will usually be able to figure out your country of origin, so use this as an opportunity to say something about your company’s location that adds to the perception of value. “We are from Can Tho, home of Vietnam’s most prestigious engineering college, where our founders graduated,” or “We are located in Santos, the largest port city in Brazil, and have excellent relationships with the shipping industry.”
  3. Tell me about your products. Again, brevity and clarity are critical here, but so is technical precision. “We make keyless entry systems for cars that can be fitted onto existing models,” or “we make robots to assist in physical therapy and rehabilitation.” If you have a product to demonstrate, make sure your demo follows a clear process and you can communicate what you are demonstrating, both in terms of product features and customer benefits.
  4. What makes your products or company different? People will ask this question in a variety of ways, but they are always interested in the same information. What is your competitive advantage? Why should I do business with you or care about what you do? This is probably the most important conversation you can have at a qualifying level, and you should understand how to communicate your message effectively, using evidence if you can. For example, “Our patented process has improved overall product reliability by 90%, meaning fewer returns and service calls,” or “We have a unique relationship with the factory that allows us to process changes or customization with 24 hours’ notice at no additional cost,” or, “we are the only company in our category to offer free round-the-clock customer support.” Every customer-facing person in your trade show team should be comfortable providing this information in enough depth to respond to a couple of follow-ups, including requests for proof, customer examples, and ability to point out unique customer benefits in the product demonstration.
  5. Sounds great, what are the next steps? Congratulations! If you hear this question, it means you’ve done everything right. You should have a defined process to handle qualified leads, whether it is setting up a second meeting for more in depth sales conversations, directing prospects to a web site or taking an order right on the show floor.

In many cases, the ability to drive this conversation to a successful conclusion will come in part with a good understanding of Business English. Solid Business English can also help in another crucial area: presenting consistent messages, in the right tone, to all interested parties in a tradeshow environment, because you never know the influence that any individual can have on your business prospects.

GlobalEnglish programs help organizations better prepare their customer-facing workforce. Our unique style of blended learning empowers your talent to better manage other important global businesses challenges, including learning new skills, 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 to improve the capability and capacity of their leadership pipeline to talk with their local GlobalEnglish representatives to see how we can help them achieve their goals, including being ready to leverage the experiences and interactions at the next global or local trade show.

Please take a moment to fill out our request for information form and we will route the information to the right person so we can answer all of your questions about how GlobalEnglish can be your partner in Business English learning.

 

 

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2016 PWC CEO Survey Reports Leadership Pipeline a Strategic Focus

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The 2016 PWC CEO Survey reveals that CEOs are concerned with the skills of people in their talent pipeline. 49% of CEOs identified their leadership pipeline as a strategic focus.

“They’ll need to be able to operate in a world with multiple stakeholders, different values and diverse attitudes toward law and rights, all in an increasingly volatile economic context. In addition, they will have to be comfortable with data, analytics and many new technologies.”

In many cases, the understanding and interpretation of laws, the ability to navigate the volatile economic context, will come in part with a good understanding of Business English. Business English will help future leaders access mindful insights about key stakeholders and understand the drivers of economic change.

Solid Business English can also help in another crucial area identified by PWC: presenting consistent messages, in the right tone, to a global employee base. This can not only help leaders align their talent around strategic initiatives, if can also help them execute on those initiatives more successfully.

GlobalEnglish programs can help organizations better prepare their leadership pipeline. Our unique style of blended learning approaches also helps with other areas identified in the PWC survey, including skills and adaptability, 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 to improve the capability and capacity of their leadership pipeline to talk with their local GlobalEnglish team to see how we can help them achieve their goals.

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