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5 Top Business Languages You Should Know to Get Ahead

5 Top Business Languages You Should Know to Get Ahead

The future of business is global, and there’s no getting around learning top business languages to survive.

By 2025, almost 50% of the world’s biggest companies will be based in emerging markets. This is up almost 10-fold from only 5% in 2000.

CareerBuilder.com’s 2010 hiring forecast showed that 39 percent of U.S. employers said they plan to hire bilingual candidates, and half said that if they had two equally qualified candidates, they would be more inclined to hire the bilingual one.

What’s more, salary bonuses vary depending on which languages you’re able to speak. Here’s a quick breakdown of a few different secondary languages and their annual bonuses as reported by The Economist:

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  • Spanish — 1.5 percent bonus
  • French — 2.3 percent bonus
  • German — 3.8 percent bonus

This means that you can make an additional $50,000 to $125,000 just for knowing how to speak a foreign language!

5 Top Spoken Business Languages You Should Know To Get Ahead

To arrive at our 5 top spoken business languages, we took a number of factors into account.

The first one is the number of native speakers. While this shouldn’t be the only factor you take into account when choosing what business language you should learn, it has a noticeable correlation with how much impact your new language will have.

The second factor is a comparison of countries with the largest GDP’s in the past (2010) and where they will be in the future (2020).

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While there are smaller variables to take into account, these two factors can help us narrow down the languages of the world to the 5 top spoken business languages you should know to get ahead in your career.

1. English
365 Million Native Speakers

English is the obvious first choice when it comes to top business languages. With economic powerhouses like the U.S, the U.K, and Australia, there’s no getting around English.

Even when you’re speaking with native speakers from other countries, it’s likely that they speak English as their second language. Since most of the readers here are already English speakers, we’ll move on.

2. German
92 Million Native Speakers

German is a perfect example demonstrating that the best languages shouldn’t be based on the number of native speakers in the world.

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Not only is it Europe’s largest economic powerhouse, with a GDP of 2.4 trillion Euros, but it’s also the largest export market for British goods.

For anyone seeking a job in the U.K, Austria, Germany, or anywhere that’s doing business with the companies in Germany (nearly everyone), understanding the differences between ‘danke’ and ‘Ihr willkommen’ is critical.

3. Russian
160 Million Native Speakers

Germany may have the largest export market for the U.K, but Russia is the U.K.’s fastest-growing major export market. While there are fruitful opportunities to work with companies in Russia, there aren’t as many fluent English speakers living in Russia, and knowing how to speak Russian comes with a big advantage.

4. Spanish
406 Million Native Speakers

Recognized as one of the most popular European languages, Spanish is a beloved language not only in terms of usefulness in business, but in many areas of society.

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It’s the leading language that fuels many of the fastest-growing Latin economies in South America, Central America, and North America (Mexico).

Given that it’s the second most spoken language in the U.S, with over 20 countries around the world that use Spanish as their official language, 37% of American employers prefer hiring people who know how to speak Spanish.

5. Mandarin
935 Million Native Speakers

With just under a billion native speakers around the world, Mandarin has more native speakers than English and Spanish combined. This makes Mandarin-speaking countries some of the most attractive places in the world for businesses to target, and learning Mandarin a great investment for any professional to make today.

Bloomberg has also ranked Mandarin as the number one business language to know after English.

What Business Languages Are You Learning?

We’ve given you the 5 top spoken business languages, but it doesn’t mean they’re the only ones you should learn. What language are you learning or aspiring to learn?

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Last Updated on February 21, 2019

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

The Secret to Effective Conflict Resolution: The IBR Approach

In business, in social relationships, in family… In whatever context conflict is always inevitable, especially when you are in the leader role. This role equals “make decisions for the best of majority” and the remaining are not amused. Conflicts arise.

Conflicts arise when we want to push for a better quality work but some members want to take a break from work.

Conflicts arise when we as citizens want more recreational facilities but the Government has to balance the needs to maintain tourism growth.

Conflicts are literally everywhere.

Avoiding Conflicts a No-No and Resolving Conflicts a Win-Win

Avoiding conflicts seem to be a viable option for us. The cruel fact is, it isn’t. Conflicts won’t walk away by themselves. They will, instead, escalate and haunt you back even more when we finally realize that’s no way we can let it be.

Moreover, avoiding conflicts will eventually intensify the misunderstanding among the involved parties. And the misunderstanding severely hinders open communication which later on the parties tend to keep things secret. This is obviously detrimental to teamwork.

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Some may view conflicts as the last step before arguments. And they thus leave it aside as if they never happen. This is not true.

Conflicts are the intersect point between different individuals with different opinions. And this does not necessarily lead to argument.

Instead, proper handling of conflicts can actually result in a win-win situation – both parties are pleased and allies are gained. A better understanding between each other and future conflicts are less likely to happen.

The IBR Approach to Resolve Conflicts

Here, we introduce to you an effective approach to resolve conflicts – the Interest-Based Relational (IBR) approach. The IBR approach was developed by Roger Fisher and William Ury in their 1981 book Getting to Yes. It stresses the importance of the separation between people and their emotions from the problem. Another focus of the approach is to build mutual understanding and respect as they strengthen bonds among parties and can ultimately help resolve conflicts in a harmonious way. The approach suggests a 6-step procedure for conflict resolution:

Step 1: Prioritize Good Relationships

How? Before addressing the problem or even starting the discussion, make it clear the conflict can result in a mutual trouble and through subsequent respectful negotiation the conflict can be resolved peacefully. And that brings the best outcome to the whole team by working together.

Why? It is easy to overlook own cause of the conflict and point the finger to the members with different opinions. With such a mindset, it is likely to blame rather than to listen to the others and fail to acknowledge the problem completely. Such a discussion manner will undermine the good relationships among the members and aggravate the problem.

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Example: Before discussion, stress that the problem is never one’s complete fault. Everyone is responsible for it. Then, it is important to point out our own involvement in the problem and state clearly we are here to listen to everyone’s opinions rather than accusing others.

Step 2: People Are NOT the Cause of Problem

How? State clearly the problem is never one-sided. Collaborative effort is needed. More importantly, note the problem should not be taken personally. We are not making accusations on persons but addressing the problem itself.

Why? Once things taken personally, everything will go out of control. People will become irrational and neglect others’ opinions. We are then unable to address the problem properly because we cannot grasp a fuller and clearer picture of the problem due to presumption.

Example: In spite of the confronting opinions, we have to emphasize that the problem is not a result of the persons but probably the different perspectives to view it. So, if we try to look at the problem from the other’s perspective, we may understand why there are varied opinions.

Step 3: Listen From ALL Stances

How? Do NOT blame others. It is of utmost importance. Ask for everyone’s opinions. It is important to let everyone feel that they contribute to the discussion. Tell them their involvement is essential to solve the problem and their effort is very much appreciated.

Why? None wants to be ignored. If one feels neglected, it is very likely for he/she to be aggressive. It is definitely not what we hope to see in a discussion. Acknowledging and being acknowledged are equally important. So, make sure everyone has equal opportunity to express their views. Also, realizing their opinions are not neglected, they will be more receptive to other opinions.

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Example: A little trick can played here: Invite others to talk first. It is an easy way to let others feel involved and ,more importantly, know their voices are heard. Also, we can show that we are actively listening to them by giving direct eye-contact and nodding. One important to note is that never interrupt anyone. Always let them finish first beforeanother one begins.

Step 4: Listen Comes First, Talk Follows

How? Ensure everyone has listened to one another points of view. It can be done by taking turn to speak and leaving the discussion part at last. State once again the problem is nothing personal and no accusation should be made.

Why? By turn-taking, everyone can finish talking and voices of all sides can be heard indiscriminantly. This can promote willingness to listen to opposing opinions.

Example: We can prepare pieces of paper with different numbers written on them. Then, ask different members to pick one and talk according to the sequence of the number. After everyone’s finished, advise everyone to use “I” more than “You” in the discussion period to avoid others thinking that it is an accusation.

Step 5: Understand the Facts, Then Address the Problem

How? List out ALL the facts first. Ask everyone to tell what they know about the problems.

Why? Sometimes your facts are unknown to the others while they may know something we don’t. Missing out on these facts could possibly lead to inaccurate capture of the problem. Also, different known facts can lead to different perception of the matter. It also helps everyone better understand the problem and can eventually help reach a solution.

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Example: While everyone is expressing their own views, ask them to write down everything they know that is true to the problem. As soon as everyone has finished, all facts can be noted and everyone’s understanding of the problem is raised.

Step 6: Solve the Problem Together

How? Knowing what everyone’s thinking, it is now time to resolve the conflict. Up to this point, everyone should have understood the problem better. So, it is everyone’s time to suggest some solutions. It is important not to have one giving all the solutions.

Why? Having everyone suggesting their solutions is important as they will not feel excluded and their opinions are considered. Besides, it may also generate more solutions that can better resolve the conflicts. Everyone will more likely be satisfied with the result.

Example: After discussion, ask all members to suggest any possible solutions and stress that all solutions are welcomed. State clearly that we are looking for the best outcomes for everyone’s sake rather than battling to win over one another. Then, evaluate all the solutions and pick the one that is in favor of everyone.

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