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Last Updated on March 5, 2020

7 Best Languages to Learn to Stay Competitive

7 Best Languages to Learn to Stay Competitive

While learning any language is going to be beneficial for your career and your personal life, some are more important than others. Aspects of what determines how important a language is globally include:

  • Number of potential speakers
  • Growth of native speakers
  • Economic power of countries that speak the language
  • And more…

Today, I’m going to share with you the best languages to learn to stay competitive in the job market.

1. Mandarin

More than a billion people can be reached once you learn how to speak Mandarin. It’s not the easiest language for English speakers to learn, but the upside is worth the effort.

The number of multinational companies that are looking for executives who speak Mandarin has risen by 35% from previous years. Most importantly, China is set to be the world’s #1 economic powerhouse.

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Beyond the major benefits, learning Mandarin could provide for your professional life, it’s likely that wherever you go, there will be native Mandarin speakers you can build relationships with.

2. German

Germany has the highest GDP in Europe, and many are flocking to the country seeking new careers. According to The Economist, knowing how to speak German will offer the highest reward in bonuses compared to learning how to speak Spanish or French.

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

    3. Portuguese

    Portuguese is not only spoken in Portugal but also in Brazil, one of the fastest growing economies in the world. Not only that, it’s spoken in 10 countries from South America to Africa, making it a handy language to know by 2020.

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    Because Portuguese is the 5th most spoken language in the world, you can be reassured that there will be plenty of people you can practice with once you get going.

    We should note that Portuguese skills aren’t in demand as much as Spanish skills are, but the demand is definitely growing. Depending on where you plan to travel or the reason for learning it, you should make note of the difference between Portuguese from Portugal versus Portuguese from Brazil.

    4. Spanish

    If you live in the United States, then you’ll know that learning how to speak Spanish is not only a “nice-to-have,” but a “must-have” skill. From entertainment to the number of native speakers and career demands, learning Spanish is one of the best investments you can make as an English speaker.

    Today, more than 400 million people speak the language. This number is expected to rise to 500 million or more shortly. It’s up to you to take advantage of the opportunity.

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    5. Arabic

    Arabic is spoken by over 300 million people throughout 57 countries around the world. What makes Arabic especially important is the economic wealth that Arabic countries hold, with over $600 billion in GDP.

    Knowing how to speak Arabic is the golden key to entering the Middle Eastern economy, which has increased by over 120% in the past five years, an enormous growth rate. Fair warning though, Arabic is known to be one of the most difficult languages to learn for English speakers.

    6. Russian

    Russia may appear to be isolated from the rest of the world at first glance, but it does have one of the largest economies in the world. It’s a major economic player in Eastern Europe, and you’ll be able to find many people speaking the language wherever you go around the world, including the United States.

    7. Hindi

    Even if you don’t have the desire to go live in India, the number of speakers alone (500 million plus) should convince you to learn the language. More importantly, we’ll see a surge in economic growth as more and more jobs are outsourced to India and as Hindi entertainment (like Bollywood) catches on in western countries. This is a language you’ll want to acquire as an investment in the future of India.

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    However, since many people in India also speak English, it’s not a completely necessary language to learn, unlike Russian, because most people in Russia don’t speak English.

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    Featured photo credit: Kate Kalvach via unsplash.com

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    Sean Kim

    Sean is the founder and CEO of Rype, a language learning app. He's an entrepreneur and blogger.

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    Last Updated on August 4, 2020

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    The Gentle Art of Saying No For a Less Stressful Life

    No!

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time.

    But requests for your time are coming in all the time — through phone, email, IM or in person. To stay productive, and minimize stress, you have to learn the Gentle Art of Saying No — an art that many people have problems with.

    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

    But it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to master the Gentle Art of Saying No:

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    1. Value Your Time

    Know your commitments, and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it. And tell them that: “I just can’t right now … my plate is overloaded as it is.”

    2. Know Your Priorities

    Even if you do have some extra time (which for many of us is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

    For myself, I know that more commitments means less time with my wife and kids, who are more important to me than anything.

    3. Practice Saying No

    Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word. And sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

    4. Don’t Apologize

    A common way to start out is “I’m sorry but …” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm, and unapologetic about guarding your time.

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    5. Stop Being Nice

    Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. But if you erect a wall, they will look for easier targets.

    Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

    6. Say No to Your Boss

    Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss — they’re our boss, right? And if we say “no,” then we look like we can’t handle the work — at least, that’s the common reasoning.

    But in fact, it’s the opposite — explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

    7. Pre-Empting

    It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

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    “Look guys, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

    8. Get Back to You

    Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, simply tell them:

    “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

    At least you gave it some consideration.

    9. Maybe Later

    If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

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    “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

    Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands.

    10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

    This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

    Simply say so — you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization … but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true — people can sense insincerity.

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    Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

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