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Communication and Language Skills

A culture expert discusses how language skills can help achieve results.


(Note: This transcript has been edited for readability.)
Pour that into another experience as a young flyer, one particular day, trying to transit Europe. And it’s one thing to be in the back of an airplane when somebody else is doing the flying, but if you’re over continental Europe and you’re flying the airplane, there’s thunderstorms all over the continent, everybody is on the radios asking for something in the most congested airspace in the world. And the controllers, they don’t want to deal with you. On this particular day, one person on our crew had some skills in French. And even though English is the international language of aviation, this person had the presence of mind to key the radio and ask for what we had already asked for about three times, in French. Immediately the skies opened. We were able to get what we needed to get around some weather, to get on to our destination and complete our mission. 

So what I really started to learn from that was kind of a timeline of progression of what was going to be important to make a living in the world. It was obvious for me as a young man that I needed to learn how to turn a computer on. That it was going to be just a basic part of the backdrop of everyday life for me to make a living. No matter what, I need to know how to use a computer. With those experiences, I could look into the future and tell that for my children to be able to make a living in a very tightly connected world, where people are coming into contact with each other, they needed to understand languages and culture. And I have pushed them to learn languages, travel, and appreciate the beauty of this world around us. And it’s so much more than just language, because language without culture is hearing without understanding, and you can’t make a living in the world that is now, and is to come, without knowing culture and language and how to operate.

A culture expert discusses how language skills can help achieve results.