Although the English language has long been the universal language of business, the Chinese language is beginning to spread rapidly. For most countries looking to do business overseas, English is standard, but the tables are beginning to shift in a new direction. Chinese is beginning to grow significantly in the common languages of trade. For those attempting to learn the Chinese language, there are a few important points you should know from a foreigner who's taken the time to learn the Chinese language.
Of course Chinese language classes, tutors, and even computer programs will help enhance your knowledge of the Chinese language. However, I found the most effective way of learning the language was to immerse myself in the Chinese culture by visiting China. By immersing yourself in a different culture it triggers your learning curve to increase dramatically. I found that relatively few individuals in China were able to speak English back to me, which forced me to learn Chinese quickly.
One huge benefit to actually living in the country to learning the language was to experience the traditions. I have found that especially with the Chinese language, experiencing the way Chinese men and women interact on a non-verbal level has a large significance to their communication. I discovered that there is another level to their communication behind specific phrases and manners that would be very difficult to pick up by simply taking classes.
While living in China I discovered a few simple yet effective techniques to help learn the vocabulary of their been speaking to individuals in town. One very effective technique is to listen to local radio stations or watch movies. While at first it can be difficult to comprehend, you will slowly begin to understand new words and phrases in a low pressure environment. If you are struggling to comprehend the vocabulary, I recommend turning on the subtitles while you are in the early stages of learning the language. Chinese films are also a wonderful way to learn more about their tradition.
While you are visiting China you should focus on making new friends and exploring new scenes, which will help you master the vocabulary at a much faster pace. I realize for many people it would be a difficult realization to simply leave to China for a few weeks or even months. However, if your business is serious about entering the market they may be open to the idea of sending you there to learn the language, customs, and make valuable business contacts.