My secret work weapon: Learn the basics in other languages to break the ice

Peter Gutierrez, managing director, Jose Cuervo International
Peter Gutierrez, managing director, Jose Cuervo International

While I have the advantage of being a linguist, I have used this secret weapon in countries where I don't speak the language and found it very useful: learn the rudiments of simple greetings and engagements in foreign languages.

It's always amazed me how far it gets you and how it adds to your brand memory.

The positive surprise you generate by being able to communicate in people's language, albeit briefly and imperfectly, adds a lot of value to your personal brand and that of your company.

It's easy to get carried away in the UK with the notion that all the world now speaks English, but it's simply untrue - and even those who do have often learned American English and find Brits hard to understand.

For us to have the humility to say 'I hope you've understood and that's kind of it,' and for you to then proceed in English that has a chance of being understood, or being armed with the right level of interpreter, shows you've gone to the trouble to want to communicate.


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