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02 April 2016 Posted by 


Cultural empathy tops launguage

IN connecting with Asia, western Sydney businesses have found that understanding the culture was more important than mastering the local language.

President of Parramatta-based Asia Business Connection Michael Hilliard stressed this in answering claims that Australians needed to speak the language of the country they were doing business with.

“It certainly helps if they speak the local language but it is far more important they understand the cultural differences,” Mr Hilliard told WSBA.

“English is the language of business but it would help if more business people dealing with Asia had a basic understanding of the language.

“When you speak at least a bit of the language, it relaxes the person you’re dealing with and makes them more confident to speak English.”

AQuest Search, a new Asia Pacific executive search business, has found there is a dearth of Asian-speaking executives in Australia, making its job of executive search for Asia-based companies difficult.

But, despite that criticism, university business courses were focussing more on Asian language skills and cultural appreciation.

Western Sydney University’s deputy dean of business, Dr Sara Denize said the university encouraged business students to take language as one of their electives.

But, like Mr Hilliard, Dr Denize said appreciation of Asian cultures was more important.

“We encourage our students to get experience in industries, such as hospitality and entrepreneur companies, in Vietnam, India and China,” Dr Denize said.

At the recent Out There summit organised by Western Sydney Leaders Dialogue, held at WSU, NSW Opposition Leader Luke Foley said teaching  Asian languages in schools was vital.

“In NSW schools, we are behind Queensland and Victoria in teaching languages such as Mandarin and other Asian languages,” Mr Foley said.



Publisher and editor, Michael Walls.
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Western Sydney Business Access (WSBA) covers the business and community issues of the Greater Western Sydney region of Australia. WSBA is the popular media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities and networks.