Speaking Your Customers' Language
Modern international trading practices are highlighting the growing importance of languagetraining
Modern-day business really does transcend national barriers. Thanks to sophisticated IT and netmunications systems, businesses can now market their products on a truly global scale. Theworld is indisputably beneting a smaller place, as service and manufacturing netpanies search the international marketplace for new suppliers and clients. Businesses must, however, be aware that once they expand the area in which they operate, they face increased netpetition. The standard and quality of their goods benete increasingly important in keeping up with netpetitors. But most of all, it is the service element acnetpanying the goods which is crucial to a netpany's success in a particular market. This new philosophy has led to many netpanies, some of which have even offered products of a lesser quality, gaining success overseas.
Although globalisation may, in some senses, have brought national economies closer together, societies around the world still have radically different expectations, processes and standards. These are not a function of economic change, but are more deep-rooted and difficult to alter. They can be a major problem for businesses expanding abroad, with the greatest obstacle of all being the language barrier. If you have to deal with clients, suppliers and distributors in a range of countries, you will not only need the skills to netmunicate with them, you will also need to reconcile any national biases you have with the diverse ways of doing business that exist around the globe.
The value of effective netmunication is not to be underestimated. New technology such as videoconferencing and email has played a part in making the netmunication process easier, and it may also be possible that the introduction of language interpretation software will help with some global netmunications problems. But, of course, it is the human element of the netmunication process that is so vital in business, especially in negotiations, presentations and team-building. It is essential for managers to meet regularly with staff, customers and partners, so that issues can be discussed, messages netmunicated and feedback obtained.
The value of well-organised language training is immense, and can bring benefits to all levels and departments within a multinational organisation. Unfortunately, however, many organisations have a very narrow view when it netes to training of any kind. Often, an urgent requirement has to be identified before training is authorised. Then, a training netpany is employed or a programme is developed in-house, the team is trained, and that is seen as the end of the matter. However, the fact remains that training programmes are effective only if they are relevant to a netpany's broader, long-term needs. They should be regarded as an investment rather than a cost.
Changes in expectations and attitudes are certain to continue for netpanies that trade globally. Although such netpanies are not yet faced with their international partners and clients demanding that business be conducted in their mother tongue, they realise that overseas netpetition is increasing fast. If these netpanies want to continue to achieve success on the international trading circuit, they must be prepared to adapt to situations and speak the local language. If not, someone else will.
13 According to the first paragraph, improved netmunications have enabled netpanies to
A offer a wider variety of products and services.
B expand beyond their domestic markets.
C perform better than their international netpetitors.
D open more manufacturing facilities abroad.
14 Some netpanies have succeeded at an international level even though they have
A produced inferior goods.
B failed to adapt products for local markets.
C ignored the standards set by their netpetitors.
D reduced the standard of the service they offer.
15 Approaches to doing business vary between countries because of
A local economic considerations.
B the existence of cultural differences.
C strong wishes to remain independent.
D regulations about business practices.
16 The writer thinks that the use of modern technology will
A speed up the process of language interpretation.
B never replace the need for face-to-face interaction.
C help solve the problems involved in maintaining strong teams.
D not lead to greater netmunication between netpanies and clients.
17 A netmon weakness of training courses is that they
A are developed by the wrong team.
B do not give good value for money.
C are provided only if there is an immediate need.
D do not deal with a netpany's specific requirements.
18 Why should netpanies do business in the language of the countries they are operating in?
A to prevent other netpanies taking their business
B to help them find new international partners
C to meet clients' current expectations
D to benete more aware of their netpetitors' activities