Stephanie Frackowiak is the Regional Services Director at Sprinklr.
Working in social media technology, Stephanie uses a language other than English everyday. While being bilingual certainly does help her out when she is at work, Stephanie thinks that for a language to be useful at work you have to be “conversational”.
Could you give us some examples of when you have used foreign languages at work?
I went to visit the French office last week. I had to interview candidates for open positions within the French officer.
I meet customers to talk about the progress of existing projects and future opportunities and meet with prospective clients to convince them that my company understands them and would be a good company to do business with.
All my meetings were in French, even though I work for a company from the USA and the “company language” is English. Being able to speak the local language opens doors, since it makes locals more at ease when dealing with you and gives them more confidence that you understand them, their culture, and their business. This smooths the way for customers and also for difficult conversations internally.
Would you say that speaking foreign languages is advantageous in your sector?
Definitely – my entire team speak at least one foreign language, since we need to support customers across of all the EMEA.
What would you say to a young person about the benefits of speaking at least one other language when entering the workplace?
It opens doors and opportunities for you. If you’re the most junior person on the team, but the only person in the team to speak (say) Russian whilst we are trying to win business with a Russian customer, you will be taken along to all sorts of meeting that you would not have exposure to otherwise. It is definitely a way to accelerate your progress and exposure to senior people.
What helped you to learn languages effectively?
I am bilingual and have always spoken two languages. We spoke French at home so that my father and I (and my siblings) could all speak French to our French family, as my mother is French.
Thank you Stephanie for sharing your experiences with us.
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