China is booming, it has been for a number of years, and like a small dragon born from an egg, she has now grown, become something remarkable, feared by some and embraced by others. No matter how this dragon is seen, China is a place where business people see some kind of future, some success and continuity or expansion of existing business.
One thing that is for certain with China, is that it has become a place where gaining an advantage, getting in first, or having a shot at trading with a partner in a particular province in a particular field has become more of a challenge. Being the best at what you do and even having the most money is no assurance of doing business, China and Chinese Business have become wary of business and the dragon has become wise.
For the astute, or progressive businessman, there is a way to not so outwit the wizening dragon that China has become, but work with it and become better acquainted. This way is through speaking Chinese and thus being able communicate in their own tongue. It is not that the dragon doesn’t trust those who cannot speak its language, but has more to do with respect, trust and a willingness to work that bit harder for what will inevitably be gain.
A businessman or company who has staff that have taken the time to learn Chinese means that this company is taking China seriously and the dragon commands respect. This Chinese Dragon that we call industry has learnt to respect serious intent over money and even over being number one, that is very often the same one who will throw most money at a deal. The overseas company will be dealing with their Chinese counterparts and while in a growing number of cases these counterparts will speak English and a variety of other languages, speaking in their native tongue will nonetheless instil a level of trust that will go a long way in sweetening the deal or transaction.
Doing business in Chinese and even bilingually reduces the chance of things being lost in translation as this can prove costly. Having an understanding of, and a willingness to learn the language, will ultimately sustain the business transaction and while in the past, the quick buck for a quick win, was seen as good business the wiser and older dragon now understands the error of this.
But it goes further than the board room table and business in China. As is evident in the rest of the world, China does have a social and family element to it. Speaking Chinese opens up social, recreational and those more interpersonal elements of doing business in China. Speaking Chinese makes a person who was once merely a business associate who seemed to care only about his own profits a person of trust who can be introduced to families and be invited to social gatherings. Long term relationships can be formed that provide a solid foundation for doing better business going forward and this all starts with language and a willingness to learn.
China may have become a feared and even fearless dragon, but by speaking the same language as the dragon, means in many ways it can be tamed, and mutual success over an extended period of time can be assured.
新年好 / 新年好 (Xīnnián hǎo) New Year Goodness is the most popular Chinese New Year Greeting. Chinese New Year begins on the 16th February this year and 2018 is the Year of the Dog. Apparently, for people born in the Year of the Dog (1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006), 2018 is considered an auspicious year.
People born in a year of the Dog supposedly are are loyal and honest, amiable and kind, cautious and prudent. Due to having a strong sense of loyalty and sincerity, Dogs will do everything for the person who they think is most important. As Dogs are not good at communication, it is difficult for them to convey their thoughts to others. Therefore, Dogs tend to leave others with the impression that they have a stubborn personality.
Born with a good nature, Dogs do not tend to be criminals or seek dishonest gains. They just need a quiet life and a good family and, therefore, forget the ugliness and evil on Earth.
Dogs are always ready to help others and do not care about their own interests, but if they find themselves betrayed by cunning people they will feel shocked and hurt.
There are a few traditions that go hand in hand with Chinese New Year. One of these is the "red packet and envelope" New Years' gift. Red envelopes or packets are money wrapped in red paper and given to children from their parents, grandparents and others. Chinese people love the colour red and regard it as the symbol of energy, happiness and good luck. Actually, the significance of red packets in hoped to bring more happiness and blessing to the receivers. Hence it is impolite to open a red packet in front of the person who gives you. In China, the red packet is called yasui qian (压岁钱 /yaa-sway chyen/), which means 'suppressing ghosts money'. Those who receive a red packet are wished another year negotiated safely and peacefully.
Chinese believe that, as the Spring Festival is the start of a new year, what you do then will affect your luck in the coming year. There are however many things that you should NOT do.
Don't eat porridge because it brings poverty;
Don't wash your hair because it washes away good luck;
Don't do needle work as it depletes wealth;
Don't say any unlucky words such as "death" as it may bring death;
Don't wash any clothes as it washes away good luck;
Don't sweep as it sweeps away wealth
The Lantern Festival is the last day (traditionally) of China's most important festival, Spring Festival (春节 Chūnjié /chwn-jyeah/ a.k.a. the Chinese New Year festival). After the Lantern Festival, Chinese New Year Taboos are no longer in effect, and all New Year decorations are taken down. The Lantern Festival is also the first full moon night in the Chinese calendar, marking the return of spring and symbolizing the reunion of family. However, most people cannot celebrate it with their families, because there is no public holiday for this festival.
I have been working with Vocational Language Learning Centre (VLLC) for 28 years and have been CEO since 2013. VLLC was created because there was a need within Australia for a language learning program that, was not only fast and effective, but also directly related to the vocational needs of the individual and specific organisations. We believe that there is no point learning a language, if that language is not a usable skill.
We have been delivering tailored language courses to enterprises and individuals for many reasons over the years. We have assisted clients in securing new markets within their businesses, developing existing ones, and allowing other professional individuals to communicate throughout the world.
Since its inception, VLLC has successfully taught languages to a range of students from many walks of life and for many reasons and to be able to communicate in their chosen fields. Amongst these clientele are some of the larger Australian and overseas companies such as Mitsubishi, International College of Hotel Management, CSIRO and BHP, some government organisations such as Austrade, Australian Defence Force and the Australian Federal Police and some Volunteering organisations such as Red Cross and World Vision. Students from these companies have been able to enrich their careers by being able to communicate with various cultures and communities.
We have really enjoyed some very interesting motivations for students wishing to learn a language. We have had one gentleman who was a vet, who needed to learn Japanese as he was going to Japan to work in the horse racing industry. We have had students who are in the car racing industry, are missionaries, work in foreign aid, won contracts with Indonesia, manufacturing and import export with China, diplomats, wanting to marry a spouse from another cultural background and being able to understand their mother in law and many other reasons and career opportunities.
If you are interested in ensuring that your career can be spectacular then contact VLLC and start your own language adventure.
CEO VLLC Aust
Tucked away in Southern Europe, bordering Bulgaria, sits one of the most ancient countries in the world, renowned for its mythology and as one of the modern founders of philosophy and what we today would call “Western Civilisation”. Greece is one of the oldest countries with an observed and documented civilisation on Earth, and in recent years has seen some considerable turmoil in terms of its government and the economy.
Despite the recent challenges, and even the economic fear that once loomed over Greece like an executioners axe, the country is very much open for business. Business in Greece is not about ancient Gods and mythical creatures, nor is it about breaking plates, however, one does need to be aware that Greeks are tremendously proud of their history, heritage and mythology. Greece is, and always has been, a partner with whom trade has been important and that trade is improved by speaking the Greek language.
Having been in recession since 2008, Greece is fighting hard to get back to a point where it is considered a strong trading partner. Heavily dependent on the service industry that accounts for over 80% of the economy, one could easily be forgiven by assuming that olives and fish would be the larger part of what makes the country work, as olives and fish are perhaps what many think Greece produces.
The Greek language is something Grecians are proud of, it is a remarkable language with its own alphabet and if it were not for the winds of change, it could well have been the language most commonly spoken today. Having an understanding of the language allows a person to converse and understand the little things that matter about doing business in Greece. Greeks are very passionate about history and the very well-known mythology and through having a grasp of the language the ancient stories of heroes, heroines and monsters can take on a whole new life breaking the ice to get a deal done.
There are some taboos, and among them is Turkey or Cyprus, speaking the language will not only allow this subject to be carefully avoided but will enable you to ask questions if you so wish in a calm and intellectual manner on this touchy subject. Greeks don’t appreciate criticism and sarcasm should be avoided, broken plates are part of Greek culture and not meant to be used to mock. Greeks take themselves seriously but with control of the language, humour soon becomes easy to share.
Simple things matter when doing business in Greece. Greeks like to be informed and thus an agenda for a meeting should be sent before a meeting. Punctuality is advisable, as much as Greece may seem laid back, Greeks like to be on time and lateness does not look good. First meetings are often formal, and introductions likewise, with control of the language you will have immediate respect and first names soon become almost natural.
The one thing to be aware of, and something that through speaking Greek will make easier, is the fact that Greeks want to get to know who they are dealing with and will ask a lot of questions. Trust and respect is easily created by simply having a conversation and this can be more easily achieved through conversing in Greek.
Don’t let doing business in Greece be all about Hercules and breaking plates, take some time to learn the language and you will soon be doing great business in one of the oldest civilisations on earth. Learn Greek at VLLC to help you success in business with Greece.
I was looking on the about money website and it had a great article about how to reflect on the end of a year and plan for the following year and decide how you want your business to develop.
Do you want increased success in the coming year or the chance to enjoy the success you have already achieved?
The top 10 resolutions are designed to help you strike a better work life balance, so that you can fully enjoy the New Year.
1) Learn how to delegate and do more of it. There are so many things to do when you're running a small business, it's easy to delude ourselves that we need to do all of them. Then we wonder why we're so tired and frazzled and have no time to do anything else!
2) Promote your business regularly and consistently. Too often the task of promoting a small business slips to the bottom of the to-do list in the press of urgent tasks. If you want to attract new customers, you have to make promotion a priority. Make a New Year's resolution to hire a marketing expert, or take the time to create a marketing plan on your own and follow through.
4) Learn something new. What you choose to learn may be directly related to your business or completely unrelated. Learning something new will add to your skills and add a new dimension of interest to your life - another important part of achieving a healthy work-life balance. Depending on how you choose to learn, you may meet new and interesting people, who may become customers, colleagues, or friends. How will you find the time to learn something new? By delegating, remember? Considering learning a language so that you can expand your business into new horizons?
5) Join a new business organisation or networking group. There's nothing like talking to other business people for sparking new ideas, refining old ones, and making contacts. Whether it's a group specifically designed for networking or an organization dedicated to a particular type of business, in person or over the 'Net, making the effort to be a part of a group will revitalize you and your business.
6) Give something back to your community. There are all kinds of worthy organizations that make a difference in your community. Make a New Year's resolution to find a cause that matters to you, and give what you can. Make this the year that you serve on a committee, be a mentor, volunteer, or make regular donations to the groups in your community that try to make the place you live a better place. And those that give get.
8) Set realistic goals. Goal setting is a valuable habit - if the goals lead to success rather than distress. Make a New Year's resolution that the goals you set will be goals that are achievable, rather than unrealistic pipe dreams that are so far out of reach they only lead to frustration.
9) Don't make do; get a new one. Is there a piece of equipment in your office that's interfering with your success or something that you lack that's making your working life harder? Whether it's an old fax machine that's a pain to use, or the need for a new employee to lighten your work load, make a New Year's resolution to stop putting off getting what you need. The irritation of making do just isn't worth it.
10) Drop what's not working for you and move on. All products aren't going to be super sellers, all sales methods aren't going to work for everyone, and all suppliers or contractors aren't going to be ideally suited to your business. If a technique or a product or a business relationship isn't working for you, stop using it. Don't invest a lot of energy into trying to make the unworkable workable. Move on. Something better will turn up.
Achieving a healthy work-life balance is like maintaining a good relationship; you have to keep working on it. But if you apply these New Year's resolutions throughout the year, your success is guaranteed!
If your job requires you to chat with clients from different nationalities, studying the language of that country will help to make your work easier. It will create a positive image in the minds of your clients, which they might communicate to your bosses, and may just provide you with the competitive edge in landing that new and elusive contract.
You will no longer require an interpreter to communicate your clients’ requirement to you. This will also save a lot of cost for the organisation for which you are working. The lack of foreign language knowledge puts the English speakers at a disadvantage. In meetings, for example, the people on the other side can discuss things amongst themselves in their own language without the English speakers understanding, and using interpreters slows everything down. In any socialising after the meetings, which may be integral to strengthening relationships, your clients will probably feel more comfortable using their own language rather than English.
Knowledge of foreign languages may also increase your chances of finding a new job, getting a promotion or a transfer overseas, or of going on foreign business trips. Upskilling yourself by learning a new language can give you the upper hand in job selection and you may find yourself working in a foreign country, living the dream….
A linguist and Columbia professor, Mr John McWhorter, recently conducted a talkback radio feature relating to learning new languages and the necessity for this. I heard about this both on the radio and in a CCTNews article which I have referenced below. McWhorter makes the case that English is rapidly consolidating its position as the universal language, and points out how this begs an important question: if you speak English already, why bother learning another language?
According to McWhorter, English is on its way to becoming the predominant global language by the end of this century, thanks to its prevalence on the internet, and its use in the world of finance, diplomacy and air traffic control, and even though Mandarin is currently spoken by more people, far more Chinese speakers are learning English than the other way around. If that were not enough reason to forget about studying a foreign language, he adds that instant translation of live speech is getting better every year.
These two points lead McWhorter to ask: Why should anyone learn foreign languages if everyone will either be able to speak English, or have access to technology that will automatically translate speech?
McWhorter gives the following reasons as to why you should learn a foreign language:
McWhorter concludes with a reflection on how it has never been easier to teach yourself a language. “You used to have to go to class, go to the laboratory, use records… and books that didn’t work”. In comparison, now we have “modern methods of learning languages would have sounded like science fiction to very sophisticated people”.
We agree with McWhorter, in that the options for language learning now are very vast and accessible. To truly grasp a language though there is a necessity to practice your communication skill so that when it is time to use it in real life, you have the skill and the confidence to do so. At Vocational Lanaguge Learning Centre (VLLC) we teach languages using multisensory techniques so that the language becomes a usable skill, just like your first language.
Start your learning experience in any of VLLC's 12 foreign languages online and you will open your eyes to a brand new future! The possibilities are endless! VLLC offers foreign language courses taught in one to one tutorials for each of the following languages. Click on one of the following languages below to find out more; Arabic, Chinese Mandarin, English, French, German, Greek, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Russian, Spanish or Thai. Learn your language at our Melbourne or Adelaide offices or via Skype using our exclusive online software.
Whether you want to learn a language for travel, business, love or to keep your brain active; VLLC have a comprehensive range of fully accredited courses to suit your needs.
VLLC aim to give students a voice and the self-assurance to speak through the practical application of the language. Key reasons to complete a course with VLLC include:
See how our language courses can help you and have a look at some of our Student's stories to see how learning a language can change your life.
Are you the future employee that is wanted to work overseas? Do you know what employers are looking for in potential international employees? The world has become a global village, Donald Trump may not like it but the facts speak for themselves and for a company to succeed globally it needs to have employees globally. As an employee looking to work overseas for an international company there are a few things a company is looking for.
Industry Knowledge and competence. To work overseas for an international company the employer will expect you to know the industry, company and your role very well. A level of experience, even for junior positions is essential. Knowing little about the company or not having enough experience or knowledge can be something that denies you an overseas role. Experience matters and always will. However, being a graduate you may well stand a good chance even without experience in a field related to your qualification if you have a special ingredient.
Confidence. As an employee of an international company working away from head office, you may well find yourself in a smaller office or even as part of only a small team and in some cases alone. International employers will look for confidence and someone who can adapt to change well. Showing initiative has always been something employers look for and internationally it is no different.
Country Knowledge. Knowing the company, its products and services as well as your role are vital. It is equally important to have knowledge about the country. Trading rules and mechanisms, culture, tradition and etiquette are essential. Having an understanding of geography, transport systems and social as well as business elements of the country are something a company is looking for in an employee. Working overseas an employee is expected to succeed and build a good reputation, having country knowledge will give you the edge. Again there is still a special ingredient missing.
All three of the above are things companies hiring overseas staff look for but there is one thing, one box that needs to be checked because of a special ingredient that makes a person to be perfect. That one thing is language.
Speaking the language. Being able to converse in the language of the country is the number one thing an employer looks for when selecting overseas staff to work in international offices. Demonstrating the capacity to do the work, having confidence, showing initiative and have knowledge of the country are all well and good but having language makes all the difference. It has been proven over many centuries that speaking the language of the locals secures business deals. Having a language and being able to converse about a company, its products and services in the native language creates trust. From trust, relationships are formed and from this business success is found. Learning a language can make all the difference, as an employee you become more valuable and with a language, you stand out and become less of a risk to send overseas or be employed overseas.
Spanish is a widely spoken language worldwide and Spain of course is no exception. Yes, there is a generation that now speaks English as much and as well as they do Spanish, but this fact does not mean Spanish is not essential when doing business in Spain. It is perhaps because of the fact that a younger generation speaks English that to get business done in Spain the Spanish language is more important, with conversing with senior or older management, in fact speaking Spanish is a sign of respect.
There is also another reason why speaking Spanish for business in Spain is important, and it all has to do with relationships. Business relationships in Spain are not made electronically or on the phone, business relationships are made face to face, and more importantly, outside the work environment. For this to work it is clear that speaking Spanish is an advantage and opens up the door to successful business.
Culture plays a big part in business in Spain, and speaking the language allows for this to be understood. Discussing contracts with your Spanish counterpart in Spanish allows culture to be embraced and also makes room for the finer details of any negotiations to be better understood. Spaniards are very proud of their products and are always more cautious when exploring products or services from outside Spanish borders. Speaking Spanish eases the tension and allows for confidence in you, the person, your company, and your products or services to be developed and absorbed.
Business meetings tend to be fairly formal in Spain, and the personal relationship built up over time, externally to any meeting, is very much respected. Knowing how to pronounce a person’s name is very important as the heritage of the family name is something most Spaniards are proud of and hold dear. There are informal and formal terms used in the Spanish language and knowing these will influence the direction of any business meeting. It is recommended that at first meetings, the formal tenses and greetings are used until such point as first names and less formal language is used by the host.
Doing business in Spain, in Spanish, makes business easier. One needs to understand that business meetings very often discuss decisions that have already been made and opinions are not often discussed, so despite speaking Spanish, your opinion, no matter how eloquently presented, may mean very little or nothing. The use of the Spanish language when doing business in Spain is much more about building up a relationship. The Spanish are people who are very much about appearance perception rather than actualities, and the strength of the business relationship relies very much on the personal relationship.
Speaking and understanding Spanish makes comprehending contracts a great deal easier, and the language once spoken, can lead to long and satisfying relationships, both professionally and personally, as in Spain the two go hand in hand.
Germany is a country best known for its forests, rivers and mountain ranges. The country is one of the largest in Europe and has a thriving tourist industry. With its castles, large houses and the mountainous countryside being major attractions, and many within only a short drive or train journey from major cities such as Frankfurt and Berlin.
For the average tourist, equipped with a map, or accompanied by a guide with the ever-handy German phrase book and the fact many Germans speak very good English, a vacation is easy to undertake. But for the tourist or businessperson who wants to head off the beaten track, and explore some of the hidden gems of Germany, having more than a phrase book is important. There is a great deal more to see in Germany than one could well imagine, and by having a better grasp of the language, these places and more can soon be opened up, making a German leisure visit something special.
With language, the weird and wonderful can be found and explored, and the conventional, seen how Germans see them. Take for example one of the strangest museums in the world, the German Food Additives Museum just outside Hamburg. For the non-German speaker this museum would be impossible to visit, as everything in the museum and about the museum, is in German. It is a fascinating small museum, and a real one of a kind, but only by speaking German can you really visit and understand this amazing place.
It is not just specialist museums that are “off limits” to those who cannot speak German, some historical sites make little sense, and again because of the predominant use of German make then seem pointless to visit. One such place is the ruined airport not far from Berlin, where Claus von Stauffenberg could have ended World War II, but didn’t, when his assassination attempt on Adolf Hitler failed. Not only is the airport a fascinating part of fairly recent history, but it is truly a unique place that tantalises curiosity to visit.
Without an understanding of the German language, so many small but interesting places to visit automatically fail to make a tourist agenda. Germany has many hidden gems. Even foods become more interesting, and what was once a seemingly bland and uninviting menu, becomes something you want to at least try. Being able to converse with the owner of a small back street café or restaurant can lead to some wonderful culinary adventures, coffee becomes more than black stuff in a cup and becomes a discussion about life with a local, and the meal becomes something enjoyable as you discuss specialities of the house with the host or chef.
An understanding of the German language turns a German vacation, or day away from a German business trip, into something quite special and creates some amazing memories that without language could never even begin to form.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and utilising that skill to forward your professional path.