When it comes to business, being able to communicate is paramount. International business brings people together from many countries who speak hundreds of languages. To make transactions and meetings run smoother, certain predominant world languages have become standard in most business practices. These languages, usually considered the "Big 3", are English, Spanish, and Mandarin Chinese. Most of the world's economy and trade is connected on one of these three languages. If you are thinking about learning one of these languages to help you in business but are not sure what one will help you the most, here are some thoughts on each one.
English is usually considered the universal language in business these days. Even though there are more Mandarin Chinese speakers in the world, English is more predominately international. If English if your second language and you are wanting to improve your speaking skills, enroll in a good grammar and vocabulary class. Many universities offer English as a Second Language classes that focus in business vocabulary. Mastering the English language will get you far in business, especially if you are looking to stay in the western hemisphere.
Spanish is widely spoken by populations in the Americas and Europe. Because Spanish is the main language of most of South America and Spain, it will come in handy when crossing the Atlantic to conduct business. If you are a native English speaker and want to master Spanish to help you in your professional career, remember that there is no substitute for speaking with natives. Accent is crucial when learning Spanish and speaking with a native Spanish speaker regularly will help improve both your accent and vocabulary. There are great resources online to help you learn Spanish, and when coupled with practice with natives, can help you learn this new language in no time.
Mandarin Chinese is used in most business transactions in the eastern part of the world. If you are looking at joining up with those in the technological fields you may be very benefited by learning Chinese. Unlike Spanish though, it can be a very difficult language to master for English speakers. The language structure is very different from English and there are very few cognates. Learning Chinese, however, can be a great tool for resume building and networking in the business world. Like Spanish, living and interacting with native speakers is the most effective way to learn the language.