Picture this: you are the team captain playing for your favourite football club. Learning a language is very much like scoring a goal for your football team in the World Cup. You need to hone your skills consistently and for a long period of time. You need to train among some of the best footballers in the A-League and make your bones.
The first thing you do is integrating all parts into one. You sit down with your team and formulate the field strategies while motivating them by reminding them what they stand to gain in terms of professional and personal development if they win the game. After your team is aligned and ready to dribble, it’s time to get the appropriate gear. In language learning it’s very much the same, with creating a strategy to achieve your team’s goals, getting them aligned with the language course, pulling together the teacher and appropriate course, and monitoring their progress at regular intervals.
This is where you usually sit down with your team and formulate strategies on how to win the game. Let’s say you want to enter a new market in the emerging new economies of Southeast Asia. What are your strengths and how do you make sure that you make full use of them on the field? What are the other team’s strengths and how do you overcome these?
Speaking a country’s native language can help you form stronger business relationships, and may even help improve your negotiation skills. Becoming familiar with the local customs and culture can help you bond with your potential new clients on a more personal level. This will also ensure that you are aware of specific business customs, such as appropriate gift giving.
The main thing here is analysing what language skills your team needs the most and how you can best facilitate their learning process. Some of the main things to take into account are the proficiency levels of your team, as well as their learning style. Are they more visual learners or auditory? Do they prefer learning in groups or by themselves?
After you have looked at all the angles it is now time to take your team on the field for rigorous training.
The Learning Approach
Some wanna-be footballers think they can hone their skills in the League, “on the job” where the risk of losing the game is very real and can have negative consequences for the team as a whole. Professional footballers prefer to train in a safe environment in order to experiment with complex moves and bolder strategies that are to be taken on the field if proven successful.
This is a better way to learn as you are avoiding the risk of failing when it matters. Learning a language in a professional environment will help you do away with the pitfalls of miscommunication in a business setting.
This is the moment you have been working for. Now that you have trained and feel ready, it’s time to step on the freshly cut grass. You now have an Arsenal (pun intended) of linguistic tools to use in order to penetrate a new market and further grow your international relationships.
The outcome has already been decided before the game even starts. The team who has practised the most and the most consistently are the ones who will almost always win. Great teamwork between the learners and teachers also play an important role in this. All you can do now is perform at your peak.
You have possession and you are in control. You are dribbling past your opponents with ease, due to your consistent and rigorous training. You can see the goal ahead and you are razor-focused on the ball. With the surety of all that practice, you take the shot!
Congratulations, you struck your first deal using a foreign language!
Winning feels good. It makes you and the rest of your team happy, which in turn boosts the organisation’s performance. Striking your first deal in a foreign language is a historic moment for you and your organisation. You’ve entered this new market with a distinct advantage and are heading for greater places.