If there’s one thing in common that all successful leaders have, it’s communication.

Communication can be broken down to multiple aspects, including verbal or non-verbal cues, but the core essence of communication is language.

You can be the best communicator in the world, but if you can’t speak the language of the person on the other side of the table, your influence and success is limited. This is becoming increasingly more important as globalization is spreading faster than ever.

To prevent you from putting a glass ceiling on your potential, and to maximize your success, we’ve broken down the top 5 foreign languages that successful leaders must learn.

1. Spanish

Leaders who speak Spanish: Michael Bloomberg, Will Smith, Paul Bulcke (CEO, Nestle)

There are over 45 million people speaking Spanish as their first or second language in the United States, and it’s the top 3 most spoken language in the world.

Needlessly to say, learning even the basics of Spanish will improve your life personally and professionally. South America is a quickly growing market economically, and you’ll have 400 million people you can communicate with immediately upon learning the foreign language.

Luckily, there are an abundance of resources that you can check out, including free Spanish classes online or websites like Rype, where you can get unlimited private lessons online with a personal language coach.

spain bulls

2. Mandarin

Leaders who speak Mandarin: Mark Zuckerberg, Kevin Rudd (former Prime Minister of Australia), Herbert Hoover (former U.S. president)

If you thought there were a lot of Spanish speakers, double that in Mandarin! There’s over a billion speakers around the world and you can bet that it’s growing fast.

You’ve probably heard in the news the strength of the Chinese economy (the U.S. owes over a trillion dollars to China), and the opportunities that will reside in the future are limitless.

Whether you’re a business owner, aspiring leader, or simply someone looking to expand your opportunities professionally, the benefits of learning Mandarin make the decision a no-brainer.


3. Russian

Leaders who speak Russian: Regina Spektor, Ho Chi Minh, Lokesh Chandra

This may seem unexpected, given the countless great languages that are out there. But when it comes to learning a foreign language to maximize success globally, learning Russian (the biggest country in the world) shouldn’t come as a surprise.

For one, Russian is a very creative language. Its grammar is very close to other Slavic languages like Ukrainian, Belorussian, Czech, and even Polish. Similar to how learning Spanish can make learning French, Italian, or Portuguese easier, Russian can open up the doors to more foreign languages.

More importantly, because of how closed-off Russia is compared to the rest of the world, you won’t be able to speak to native Russians in English like you can with other foreigners. So, while most people can often get away with knowing just English, you’ll have a major advantage if you can speak Russian.

4. German

Leaders who speak German: Charlize Theron, Natalie Portman, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Welcome to the most thriving country economically in Europe. Germany is home to the biggest brands in the automobile industry, airline industry, and many more.

The global impact it has in business, entertainment, and politics is only continuing to thrive, and the opportunities are endless.

Not only is German a fun language to learn, but it’s quite similar to English, moreso than most people acknowledge.

In fact, there are many words that have the exact same spelling and meaning. Here are just a few examples:

  • abnormal
  • bitter
  • fundamental
  • global
  • horizontal
  • rational
  • sexy (;))


5. Hebrew

Leaders who speak Hebrew: Natalie Portman, Ivanka Trump, Marilyn Monroe

Ever been to Israel? If you’re an entrepreneur, then you’ve probably heard about all the excitement happening in Tel Aviv.

Israel is at the forefront of cutting-edge technology and research. While many people there can speak English, understanding the basics of Hebrew will help tremendously if you’re looking to do business deals or seek opportunities.

If you’re a fan of literature or religion, then it should be worth nothing that Hebrew is the oldest language in the world, and the language of the Bible.


What’s your favorite foreign language?

Which of these foreign languages excite you the most? Can you already speak any of the ones we’ve listed here?

Share with us below!

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