The Second Most Important Business Language is…

Mandarin Chinese and That is One Reason You Should Learn!

An article, published on Bloomberg.com on August 30, 2011, discussed the advantages of speaking the local language when doing business there.

“Speaking the language confers a huge advantage for anyone who wants to do business in a non-English-speaking country,” he said. “It gives you flexibility, knowledge that you need, and personal connections that can make a difference in the speed and effectiveness of your negotiations.” – Leigh Hafrey, a senior lecturer in communications and ethics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management.

 

So why learn Mandarin Chinese?

The article tells us:

Mandarin, spoken by 845 million people, scored highest in a ranking of languages, excluding English, based on business usefulness. The ranking scored languages according to the number of speakers, number of countries where the language is official, along with those nations’ populations, financial power, educational and literacy rates, and related measures.

 

But Mandarin is hard!

Actually, learning Mandarin Chinese is not that hard.  Yes, there are a lot of characters, but you don’t need to know that many and you certainly don’t need to know them all. Yes there are tones and they change the meaning, but almost all of the time, the meaning of a word is clear from the context.  As one of our student’s found out, you don’t need to master the language to reap the benefits:

Nonetheless, I found very quickly that, even with the most rudimentary Mandarin skills, my understanding of culture, custom and conversation, and my relationships with friends and partners in China improved exponentially.  – Geoff O’Keeffe, Vice-President, Global Sourcing, American Recreation Products, Boulder, Colorado, USA

 

Learning at a University is Boring

I took German at a University.  It wasn’t horribly boring, but the classes were large and moved at the pace of a University.  I learned what I did because I studied really, really hard.  I didn’t get a ton out of the classes and the instructor certainly didn’t push me every week.

 

Learn Mandarin Chinese in a Small Group Environment

Our school is located in Broomfield, Colorado.  Our group classes are reasonable in terms of cost and range in size from 4 to 6 students.  If you want to maximize your progress and have the complete attention of the instructor, you can take private lessons.  You will learn Mandarin from a trained, experienced instructor who is also a native speaker.  We offer a Free Introductory Class if you contact us here.

 

Why You Should Learn Mandarin Chinese

Learn Mandarin Chinese!

There are so many reasons that it’s hard to list them all.  There are even more reasons for someone doing business in China or Taiwan to learn Mandarin.  You see these reasons on the news. 1.1 Billion people (with a capital B) speak Mandarin.

There are significant reasons that you don’t hear about.

It’s not that hard.

Contrary to common perception, it is just not that hard.  Yes, the first few classes are difficult. You must learn new sounds and how to make them.  You learn the new phonetics and the tones.  This takes a few hours.  After that, your ability will skyrocket and it takes about 15 minutes a day of practice with one class a week that lasts one hour to 90 minutes.

The grammar is easy.  Especially early on.

There is no case.  You don’t say “I gave him…” You say, “I gave he.”  Learning the grammar is a step by step process.  It takes time and some of the grammar is difficult to understand, but it is a LOT easier than German in my opinion.

Writing is memorization but while there are many characters, there are common pieces of characters called radicals.  You put radicals together and you get a word. The radicals even offer hints to the meaning of the word.

Learning Mandarin Makes You Competitive

Even some basic knowledge gives you a step up over your competition.  Chinese people typically don’t expect you to learn to speak Mandarin.  When they discover that you speak even very basic Mandarin, they are pleasantly surprised. In their eyes it shows you are serious about China and doing business in China.

Broaden Your Horizons

Understanding the language helps you understand the culture.  You miss so much when everything is translated.  They can translate the words and explain the culture behind the conversation, but you just can’t keep up.  If you understand half of what is said, you will develop a much clearer understanding of the culture.