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.
These blogs are about learning a foreign language and utilising that skill to forward your professional path.