The Hidden Benefits of Language Training

Unveiling the Power of Soft Skills

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Learning a new language opens doors to endless possibilities. Beyond the obvious benefits of improved communication and cultural understanding, language training also profoundly impacts the development of essential soft skills, or emotional intelligence. Soft skills are often intangible and hard to measure, but they are crucial to personal and professional growth and corporations' successful long-term growth strategy. 

What are soft skills?

Soft skills. Emotional intelligence. Power skills. No matter what you call them, they’re essential. According to the National Soft Skills Association (NSSA), soft skill is a simple term for a complex set of personal qualities that help make an individual a positive and contributing member of any organization. Soft skills are transferable skills you take from one job to another, like time management or strategic thinking. 

On the other hand, hard skills are technical skills needed to perform a job and are typically industry-specific. For example, an accountant would need a different set of hard skills from a contractor. But that’s not to say hard skills aren’t valuable across various industries.  

Soft skills include things like:  

  • Communication 
  • Problem-solving 
  • Creativity 
  • Empathy 
  • Multitasking 
  • Time management 
  • Work ethic 
  • Patience 
  • Self-confidence 

Soft skills are vital because they influence how we work, build relationships with others, handle conflict, and solve problems. One constant of soft skills is communication. Professionals don’t always know how to communicate with each other effectively. And if you’ve ever zoned out during a meeting or presentation (I’m guilty of this), you’ve seen that firsthand. 

However, communication involves more than just responding to emails and giving presentations. It requires active listening, high levels of comprehension, and reading social cues and body language. Soft skills highlight the difference between listening to what someone has to say and hearing them speak. It can be as simple as putting your phone away when someone is speaking to show that you are actively listening and engaged.  

Skills that develop from learning a second language

Research conducted by Harvard University, the Carnegie Foundation, and Stanford Research Hall concluded that 85% of job success comes from having well-developed soft skills and people skills, and only 15% comes from technical skills and knowledge (hard skills). These statistics were extrapolated from A Study of Engineering Education, authored by Charles Riborg Mann and published in 1918 by the Carnegie Foundation. 

It’s been over 100 years since that study was conducted, but the results still ring true. 

We live in a dynamic world, which means more than technical expertise is needed to excel professionally and personally. Often overlooked and misunderstood, soft skills are now being recognized as an invaluable asset. These skills encompass a wide range – from the ability to communicate effectively to work ethic. The good news is that learning a language can help you develop critical soft skills. 

Communication Skills 

As you learn a new language, you can better articulate thoughts, ideas, and emotions. You learn to be an active listener, interpret non-verbal cues, and adapt your communication style to suit different situations. These skills translate into improved interpersonal relationships, better conflict resolution, and stronger leadership capabilities. 

Cultural Awareness 

We’ve said it before, and we'll say it again - language training and culture are deeply intertwined. As you learn a new language, you are immersed in cultural diversity and learn about different customs, traditions, and perspectives. Cultural awareness fosters empathy, respect, and inclusivity, allowing you to navigate diverse environments and build connections with people from various backgrounds. 

Adaptability and Flexibility 

Learning a new language takes a lot of work. You’re faced with new grammar rules, vocabulary, and pronunciation. Navigating these challenges helps you develop the ability to embrace change. The flexibility gained through language acquisition allows you to adapt to new environments and welcome diverse perspectives. 

Cognitive Skills 

Learning a language involves cognitive skills such as memory, problem-solving, and critical thinking. Memorizing vocabulary, understanding grammatical structures, and practicing language patterns exercise your brain and improve memory retention and mental agility. 

Patience and Perseverance 

Mastering a new language doesn’t happen overnight. It takes time, dedication, and persistence. As you face challenges and make mistakes, you’ll develop patience and perseverance as you work to improve. These qualities also help you with personal goals and professional projects. 

Confidence and Self-Esteem 

As you gain proficiency, you experience a boost in confidence and self-esteem, and the ability to communicate with others in their native language gives you a sense of accomplishment. This new confidence extends beyond language skills, enabling you to take on challenges, express ideas, and pursue goals. 

Learning a new language goes beyond just acquiring a new skill. The soft skills developed through language training enhance communication, cultural understanding, adaptability, cognitive abilities, perseverance, and confidence. These highly valued skills contribute to personal growth, professional success, and meaningful relationships. 

If you’re ready to develop new soft skills or grow existing skills through language training, Global LT would love to help. Let us know, and we can tailor your lessons based on your personal or professional goals. 

This blog post was written by Megan Tully, Marketing Manager.

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