2014 is around the corner. It’s time to reflect on what resolutions you are going to take in order to make it a cracking year. Here are 5 ideas designed to work on perhaps the most fundamental skill of all – language.
1. Improve your Spoken Communication Skills
So much of how you interact with the world these days is based on your ability to communicate with wit, intelligence and insight. Today’s leaders are more and more judged on how they articulate their ideas and decisions, on how convincing their spoken responses to challenges are, and on their ability to establish rapport with colleagues, counterparts and partners. Developing your spoken skills will allow you to engage effectively with those around you, deliver great presentations and proposals, and get the most out of business and social networking.
2. Learn a New Language
Learning a new language is fun, challenging and horizon-changing. It’ll give you cultural insights that haven’t occurred to you, enable you to travel with confidence to countries where the language is spoken, and help you make international friends – both business and social. It’ll also get your brain neurons firing in all the right ways, allowing you to perform more sharply at work and play.
3. Revive your Foreign Language Skills
Most of us have a learnt a language at some point and then all too easily let it rust and fade from memory. What a shame! Don’t let your years of studying French or Spanish at school go to waste. Make a resolution to revive your old language knowledge and skills. You’ll be amazed at how much is still in that brain of yours. Also, as an adult you are motivated, have acquired great study skills and can quickly improve on what you already have.
4. Travel Abroad and Practice
What better way of testing your language skills than going overseas and putting them to good use? Don’t worry about making mistakes – nobody expects you to be perfect and most will be delighted that you’re making an effort. This can also be a great goal for any resolution. Book a holiday for the summer and start learning in January. By the time you get to the Riviera in July, you’ll be able to hold your own in a bar, give correct directions to a taxi driver, and book the room with the best view in the hotel.
5. Improve your Writing Skills
Want to make more of an impact? Write with style? Get your punctuation right? Working on your writing skills will make you a more effective communicator in your emails, reports and proposals. Your presentations will be sharp, engaging and to the point. Your blogs will be more widely read. Your next job application will pitch your skills brilliantly and ensure success. Who knows where this might lead you?
So, what’s to hold you back? Book yourself onto an evening course or a communication skills seminar, organise some in-company training for your team, engage an online teacher, or download some apps. And, as per resolution 4, book that holiday!
Chris Moore is Director of In-Company Language Training at International House London, www.ihlondon.com/in-company.