When people sign up, show up and do the work in my English communication skills programs, something magical happens! They improve their social and interpersonal skills as a bonus. The language learning process increases your sensitivity to things outside of yourself and in the end elevates your ability to connect to people. Read on to learn how acquiring fluency in English builds your interpersonal skills.
The Most Underrated Skill You Build Through Language Learning
Let me tell you the truth about what's not so magical - learning a new language! It's hard. In fact, it takes discipline and passion to get really good at speaking a second language. But, besides actually being able to speak another language fluently, there are surprising benefits of being bilingual that are outstanding. Being bilingual deepens your ability to connect with people and develop strong social and interpersonal bonds. When you expand your linguistic repertoire you begin to engage with a broader range of individuals and communities.
Effective communication becomes second nature as you learn to express yourself fluently and precisely, leading to clearer and more impactful interactions. This heightened communication ability facilitates understanding, empathy, and active listening. These are qualities that I think we'd all love to have and experience from others when it comes to our communication and developing meaningful relationships.
Also, let's talk about the fact that you hail from a different part of the world than me and all of my other readers. Knowing another language and the symbols and values that pertain to a second culture automatically makes you a global citizen. Pretty cool, wouldn't you say?!
The act of learning the language broadens your cultural understanding, encourages appreciation for diverse perspectives, and fosters mutual respect. Good job!
As you navigate the intricacies of English, other things happen too. You become more adaptable, patient, and open-minded. These are clearly traits that greatly enhance your social and interpersonal skills. Most importantly, having second language skills opens doors to meaningful connections, promotes cultural exchange, and cultivates a rich tapestry of relationships that transcend boundaries. My graduates talk about the deep relationships they've made with coworkers and community members all the time. And it's because they take the time to master their spoken English.
I'd like to say a few more things about the ways in which working on your English communication skills can help you with your interpersonal skills. Ready? Let's go!
Cultural understanding and empathy
We briefly touched on this before, but learning a new language exposes you to different cultures and perspectives. By delving into another language, you gain insights into the values, customs, and traditions of the speakers of that language. This enhanced cultural understanding fosters empathy and helps you relate to people from diverse backgrounds, strengthening your interpersonal skills. Next time you find yourself with an international crowd, or meeting someone from a different culture, you'll be able to connect better with them because you know how it is to be unfamiliar with a cue, language, or custom.
In turn, this leads to open-mindedness. You'll start to approach conversations with an open mind, being receptive to different opinions, ideas, and beliefs. By having cultural awareness, you embrace the diversity of thought and allow for healthy discussions that can broaden your understanding and strengthen your relationships.
Active listening and comprehension
Language learning requires active listening and comprehension skills. As you practice listening to native speakers, you develop the ability to pick up nuances, tones, and subtleties in communication. This skill translates to better understanding and empathetic listening in your interactions with others, allowing you to build deeper connections no matter what language you're speaking.
By putting yourself in another person's shoes and trying to understand their perspective and then acknowledging their feelings and validating their experiences, you automatically foster trust and social skills.
Adaptability and flexibility
Language learning requires adaptability and flexibility in navigating new grammatical structures, vocabulary, and cultural norms, as you surely know! This adaptability extends beyond language acquisition and spills over into your interpersonal skills. You become more open-minded, flexible, and receptive when faced with unfamiliar situations. This not only can enable you to lead well and have others look to you for your ideas, but it means that you bring invaluable insights in every collaboration you are a part of. Don' you ever forget this important point, ok?
Confidence and self-expression
As you master a second language, you gain confidence in your language abilities and yourself in general. This newfound confidence naturally spills over into your interpersonal skills, making you more comfortable expressing yourself in various social situations. You take more risks when you feel good about yourself and your increased self-expression empowers you to engage in conversations, share your ideas, network more easily, and connect with others on a very satisfying level.
Problem-solving and creativity
Being fluent in a second language often involves problem-solving and creative thinking. When faced with communication barriers, you must find alternative ways to convey your message and understand others. This mental agility and creativity allow you to navigate challenges, adapt to changing circumstances, and find innovative solutions to problems.
These things make you resilient which is a quality that many admire in others. People will seek you out and want to build their relationship with you because of your problem-solving and creative skills.
Increased patience and perseverance
Lastly, I wouldn't want to end this blog post without talking about how humbling learning a new language is. To really excel at English as a second language, you must have patience and perseverance. As you tackle the complexities at each level of your language abilities, you acquire the ability to persist in the face of challenges. This transfers over to your interpersonal skills, allowing you to be patient, understanding, and persistent in building and maintaining relationships. You learn the importance of trust-building in relationships because you've also had to take some first steps (and make a few mistakes as well) in the intimidating realm of learning a new language. Bravo!
Ultimately, I write blog posts like this one to give you a little shake and remind you, yes, how tough the process can be, but how rewarding and satisfying it is, too. By participating in a whole different culture – the music, people, customs, cuisine, media, literature, books, business, etc., you also obtain skills like cultural understanding, adaptability, problem-solving, and patience. And then, the most underrated skill you build when learning a second language is the meaningful and fulfilling connections and relationships you gain along the way.