Success Through a Foreign Language

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SUCCESS THROUGH A FOREIGN LANGUAGE

These are a couple of readings that I have been asked to do for our friends from Russia who visited with us as a part of the Children of Chernobyl Program. I'm going to read a short selection from a motivational book called "Insight". This particular reading has to do with the importance of understanding and using foreign languages that might be appropriate to the Russian students, because, certainly, we're living in a world that is getting smaller and smaller and we're going to have to be able to communicate in more than one language if we are going to be successful. The second reading is from ... it's the first chapter of a book by Jane Carlson who is the President of Scandinavian Airlines. It's called "Moments of Truth" and it is a handbook, or manual, for people who are interested in doing a better job of customer service. Scandinavian Airlines has a great reputation for wonderful customer service. Those are the two readings. The first one is called "Success through a Foreign Language".

Every year an industrial manufacturer in Virginia grudgingly shells out the cash to send two employees to a language school to learn French. The employees have the technical and managerial abilities for the job but they lack the necessary foreign language skills. The practice of paying for the foreign language training of otherwise qualified employees is common among many employers. Increasingly, however, employers are avoiding this extra expense by emphasizing the requirement for foreign language skills during the hiring process. Richard Moore, Vice-President of the Arlington-Virginia Branch of John and Snow Incorporated, a public health consulting firm, admits that he gives preference to people who know a foreign language, even if the language isn't required for their job. This new trend toward emphasizing foreign language skills is opening doors for many individuals who have risen to the challenge. When they are seeking a new job or advancement at their current company, bilingual and multilingual individuals often have the competitive edge. In fact, in some cases, the need for foreign language speakers is so great that companies go to the language departments, rather than the business departments, of universities, to recruit upcoming graduates. For example, recently 30 Boston University students from the Schools Spanish Program were recruited for jobs in Venezuela. This doesn't mean that you must have a foreign language major to benefit professionally. In fact, despite popular belief, in a business situation, you don't even have to be fluent in a foreign language. According to Lorraine Smith, President of the Language Exchange in Washington, D. C, even knowing a little of a foreign language puts a foreign individual at ease, and consequently, increases the communication and negotiation potential of the situation. Smith points out that from both the foreigner's and your supervisor's prospective any level of a foreign language proficiency shows a bit more of a commitment to the client and to your business. More than 50 % of the students at the Language Exchange are learning a foreign language for their careers. More than 75 % of the students studying Russian, Spanish or French cite "career success" as their language learning incentive. However, at the University level, the number of individuals learning a language for career success is much smaller. According to Professor Jeff Delusio this is because younger students expect others will know English. But the Survey Business Person knows that this isn't always true and even when it is the case, by relying on another's language abilities you are abdicating control of the situation. Robert Taylor, President and Co-Founder of Taylor Associates International, Washington, D. C, based Health-care management consulting firm that operates primarily in foreign countries, finds that in his dealings in countries in the Middle East and the South...
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