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The many benefits of learning a second language

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It seems like an obvious skill to have if a professional wants to improve their bottom line, yet many experienced individuals in real estate only speak their mother tongue.

Granted, in Canada, knowing English (or French if you’re in Quebec) can certainly get you by, but being able to communicate in different languages can get you ahead. If you’re bilingual or even multilingual you have access to a wider array of customers, many of whom have immigrated to Canada.

A report from Canada’s Census in 2016 showed that 21.9 per cent of Canadians are immigrants, which is the highest it has been in 85 years. More than 60 per cent of our new neighbours are coming from Asian countries. These countries include high concentrations of people from the Philippines, India and China, to name a few.

There are many ways one can learn a new language without much effort. For example, a wide array of apps can be downloaded into a smartphone. These apps (most of the time) are in the form of games so the user doesn’t get bored or overwhelmed if the process is taking longer than expected. Apps that include Duolingo, HelloTalk, Babbel and many more are free and are only a click away.

If a much-needed vacation seems likely soon, there are several international language schools that offer deals that include the stay and lessons on broadening one’s vocabulary.

“We offer different packages that have Spanish classes and lodging,” said Reto Patt owner of WAYRA Spanish School in Tamarindo Costa Rica. “There are three (available) houses in Tamarindo and the possibility to stay with a host family as well.”

Patt sees guests of all kinds coming through his doors, from young students who want to learn Spanish to business people interested in upping their attractiveness for potential new ventures.

If the goal of selling more property is not enough to hit the language books, how about the inevitable benefits on the brain? Studies show that being bilingual or multilingual improves one’s cognition. The brain of a person who knows more than one language works differently than someone who does not.

In knowing how to speak a second language, the human brain is challenged to recognize and comprehend different nuances in speech and meaning. How this translates into better business is as simple as fully understanding your home buyer’s tone and word use when you are showing them a potential property. Knowing how to fully understand a client means the agent has a better chance of giving them exactly what they want.

Knowing a second language has also been proven to help the ability of multi-tasking.

People who can speak more than one language are used to switching between two systems of speech. This includes writing and structure. According to a study by Pennsylvania State University, being bilingual or multilingual can help someone complete various tasks at the same time with fewer errors. That skill can come in handy when you are preparing to show a property while handling a number of other tasks for clients at the same time.

There is a myriad of ways those of us in the real estate sector can up our game to optimize the way we work. If learning a new language has always been something on the bucket list, this is a fabulous reason to learn a new language starting now.

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