Language skills in the workplace are about much more than just being able to communicate your needs effectively. If that were the case, you could just hire a translator. It would be an exchange of words, but there wouldn’t be any connection.
When a person speaks another’s language—even if it’s just an attempt—you are speaking directly to the heart. That could be the difference between being memorable and being forgotten, between making the sale and coming home empty-handed.
That’s the experience of Ferrero Executive Vice President Worldwide Arturo Cardelus. He represents the interests of the chocolate and candy empire around the world. Between employees, customers, and prospects, Mr. Cardelus is constantly exposed to languages other than his own.
“People know when you’re addressing their hearts. They sense a lack of coldness and barriers. Don’t act cool and detached—people resent it. It is very important to always talk to the heart of the people below you. The lower the person in the organization, the more you’re going to get done if you honor this principle. From the cleaning staff to the chairman, every single one of us has written on his forehead: ‘Please make me feel important!’” This brings to mind what Albert Einstein said, “I speak to everyone in the same way, whether he is the garbage man or the president of the university.”
Whether you’re speaking their language or yours, people can quickly tell the level of respect you have for them. However, that is a much more difficult climb if you’re not meeting your partner halfway. Even a broken attempt at their language shows that you respect them and their company enough to try to learn. When people feel respected, they often give you the same level of respect.
What could that mean in business? An employee feeling valued enough to not entertain other offers, even from companies who might speak their native language. A client never worrying that they’re “just a number”. A prospect wanting to partner with you over the competition because you made a greater effort.
It’s easy to say that language skills can open these doors, but how hard is it to actually acquire these skills. Fortunately, not hard at all. Rosetta Stone works at the student’s own pace, making sure they make as much efficient progress as possible, even in only 30 minutes a day.
“I use Rosetta Stone products,” said Mr. Cardelus, “and I have never found a better method to learn languages!”
To read more of Mr. Cardelus’s insights, read our new user testimonial.