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Monday, January 22, 2007

Languages - essential for PR?

The Guardian ran an interesting piece in the Work section of the Saturday edition.

It focuses on the need to speak languages to get on in a career is becoming increasingly important. No surprise to read that the UK is not producing enough graduates with language skills. And with increasing globalisation and the emergence of China and India as economic powers the need will get more acute. Nothing really new there; I just suppose it's a subject I am interested in.

But how important is it for PRs and marketing staff to speak foreign languages?

I do not believe we are immune to being monoglots. Indeed, in my experience PRs and marketers are mostly confined to English.

But for PRs a new danger or opportunity seems more pressing. Of course many opportunities come with the ability to speak languages and that is a business reason enough to be able to offer a language.

But agencies that offer multi-lingual services will have a huge competitive advantage. They might not take business away from other agencies in their own back yard, but they will be able to give themselves another window of opportunity, perhaps a vital one when times are tougher.

After all, agencies might be able to service the needs of local or national clients; multi-lingual agencies can service the needs of clients from many countries and almost whole continents.

So it is back to the Spanish lessons.

(I did not resort to the Sean Connery line about cunning linguists in the writing of this entry. Please note that piece I promised you is hopefully forthcoming depending on whether a noteworthy journalist gives me the go ahead; more explained later).


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