From spain, with love


I like dogs. But when I arrived at the Whiteoaks office this morning, there was a dog in the garden and when I tried to caress him, he barked at me.

I was surprised. I told a colleague, “he doesn´t like me” and she jokingly answered “he doesn´t like the Spanish accent”.

This is one of the reasons for my latest adventure to England. I need to improve my English. And where better than in the hustle and bustle of one of the leading technology PR agencies in the UK.

Only 19{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} of Spanish adults can speak fluent English. While there are many reasons for this, I find this statistic quite incredible.

You could lay the blame for this at the door of our magnificent Spanish movie dubbers (I’m even starting to pick up on British sarcasm!) or maybe the Spanish teachers from the 70s & 80s who, after spending six months in the UK or USA, thought that they were qualified to teach English in Spanish schools.

In Spanish, you only have to learn one sound for every letter. There are no tricky rules and other than the H, no sneaky silent letters. Once you learn the pronunciation rules, you can pronounce every Spanish word. Compare this to English and each vowel produces up to 20 different sounds. You see the problem!

After 20 years of working in public relations, I like to think I’ve helped my business and clients achieve their goals through creative, clearly communicated campaigns.

However, in today’s expanding business world where globalisation has extended working boundaries, I have come to appreciate the importance of communicating across borders. For clients operating on an international scale this is increasingly important.

Executed well, a good communication plan will be informative, persuasive, change perceptions, and ultimately adjust people’s behaviours. In a business environment this will ultimately lead to people buying our ideas, our services or our products.

In fast-paced industries such as technology, and with the ever-growing influence of social media, everyone wants to comment on everything. Everyone can share their opinions, regardless of their profession, training or nationality.

For me, being able to improve my language skills is necessary to help create powerful communications which resonate on a global scale.

English is the third language of the world, in terms of the number of speakers for whom it is their native language (between 300 and 400 million people), as well as the most spoken, behind Mandarin and Spanish.

As half of the population on earth is speaking or trying to speak English or Spanish, I see this as a key development for me as a PR professional.

I am sure that here at Whiteoaks I will be able to improve my language skills, but also I am excited by the prospect of learning a new perspective on the technology industry and the tactics and approaches to designing and implementing powerful communication plans with an English twist!

My final hope is that after these three months, the dog in the garden will like me! The jury is out.