5 Business Languages Global –Minded CEOs Must Learn

There is so much value attributed to an individual who is versatile with languages other than his native one. Several people have argued that English is arguably the most important language in the world because it is spoken widely.

However nowadays, English is not exclusively the best language for business; with the expansion of corporate firms into the global market, the need for polyglots is getting bigger and bigger. Firms, are in search of people who understand and speak multiple languages, as this will in its own special way increase productivity.

The major requirement most multinational firms ask for when recruiting for the position of  a  Chief Executive Officer (CEO), is how fluent such a person is with at least three major international languages.

In no particular order, here are top 5 languages any global-minded CEO must learn:



Similar to Spanish but not as popular, Portuguese is the official language of Brazil, which has an enormous population of over 200 million. Fortunately for growing companies, this already huge population is rapidly growing. Brazil is also a country of young people, with 62 percent of Brazilians 29 or younger. Also, Brazil is steadily increasing in wealth, and is now the seventh largest economy in the world. Knowing how to speak Portuguese would be useful in order to reach out to such a large population of young, ambitious, wealthy business professionals that show a promising growth for the future.

Portuguese is an official language in nine countries, including Angola, Macau, Cape Verde, and, of course, Portugal.



French is a very important language to learn for those who are looking to succeed in the world of business. Many people do not know is that French was considered the international lingua franca – a common language with which people all around the world can converse – for quite some time, until the rise of the British and American empires brought English into prominence.

There are still many companies and individuals around the world that prefer to do business in French, and many African and Mediterranean countries that were once French colonies or territories. Because of this, French is spoken widely throughout the world, with about 335 million total speakers.



When doing business solely within the United States, it is important for companies to know how to communicate with the country as a whole. Given that Spanish is the second most spoken language in America, it’s easily the best to learn for those looking to broaden their horizons within the USA.

In addition to doing better business in the United States, Spanish could broaden horizons in countries like Paraguay and Ecuador. With large self-sustaining environments, South America offers opportunities for a cheaper way to do business, and most of the population is Spanish-speaking.

There’s also Mexico, which is one of the top countries to think about investing in. It has a free market economy in the trillion dollar class, and trade with the United States continues to increase.

All told, about 20 countries include Spanish as an official language (including, naturally, Spain). Knowing how to fluently converse with business professionals that speak Spanish would be highly beneficial for those looking to keep their businesses growing.


English continues to be a prevailing language in business in many parts of the world, including the United States, Australia, The U.K., and India. Statistics show that there are over 300 million people in the world who speak English as a second language, over 100 million of whom actually preferring to use English over any other language to communicate.

Most likely, those who are doing business in another country with a native language other than English will be able to find at least one person who knows English as a second language, making it easier to get by. Because it is so widely spoken, it’s also not uncommon for people from vastly different places to communicate through English as a shared second language. Around the world, it’s a language of which mastery is either prized or expected, and that extends to the business world as well.



Russia is full of very wealthy people hungry for new arenas in which to do business. There are some great opportunities available for companies looking to expand to this affluent part of the world, but many Russian business people do not speak good English. Because they don’t know much English, most may only do business with others who are Russian-speaking.

Translators are an option, but it’s hard to beat a conversation without an intermediary. This language is one of the more challenging to learn, but the time it takes is worthwhile if it means making deals with wealthy partners in enormously important markets. Six countries include Russian as an official language.


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Daniel Enisan is a content writer at edliner.com. With a degree in mass communication, Daniel is a full breed journalist. Daniel is a realist, loves the use of sarcasm, a movie and music junkie. He is also a poet and a good listener.

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