5 Soft Skills You Can Develop By Learning a New Language in 2021

Matteo Talotta
6 min readJan 6, 2021

There’s no better time to grow than right now.

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As a result of the tumultuous year that we just went through on both personal and professional fronts, the importance of possessing a wide-range of transferrable soft skills cannot be stressed enough: it is fundamental.

While hard skills relate to technical knowledge, being qualities that are often teachable or measurable, such as financial, research or marketing skills, soft skills refer to personality traits that make us good at what we do, such as leadership, team work, and problem-solving skills.

What’s wonderful about the start of a new year is that it provides for a rather tangible starting point and subsequently easy check-points to track progress when it comes to developing new habits or competencies – you know, “New Year’s resolutions”.

Having said this, the past year has not only shown us how necessary it is to possess a number of varying soft skills, but also how interconnected the world truly is, and how human beings of diverse ethnicities and cultures will continue to become further interconnected as time goes on.

It’s no surprise then that given the increasingly competitive job market that we must affront today, individuals who possess the ability to speak multiple languages are in high-demand by employers, to not only open doors to new international markets but also bridge cultural gaps, both abroad and in-house.

The good thing is that we can check-off all of these boxes by learning a new language.

Yes, learning a new language may help us to develop the five essential soft-skills of communication, time-management, work-ethic, patience and self-confidence.


While this may seem rather obvious given that language allows us to speak, there is a fine difference between speaking and communicating.

When learning a new language, we learn how to think about our speech in ways which we wouldn’t normally consider when speaking in our native tongue.

We pay close attention to what we say and how we say it, making sure that we’re communicating our message clearly so that we’re understood, often simplifying our speech so that we can also understand.

We can then take this practice and apply it to the way we speak in our native tongue, particularly when interacting with others who are native speakers of other languages.

But the language-learning process does not only help us develop our verbal communication skills, but also our written communication skills (through studying grammar) and visual communication skills (through natural input via watching others, television shows, films, etc), as well as active listening – similar to the previous point about speaking vs communicating, there’s a difference between hearing and listening.

We need to be able to listen to understand how to best communicate with others, and when learning a new language, we train our ears to be extra-attentive in listening in order to fully comprehend what is being said, and subsequently replicate the language.

Time management

In order to achieve our goals when learning a new language (being the level of fluency we wish to attain), it’s necessary to form a learning plan and manage our time effectively so we can practice the language each day and not lose course.

While the concept of time-management may differ from person to person, it remains among the most desired soft-skills to possess in the professional world today, even more so in today’s age of remote work.

Good time-management allows us to work smarter (not harder) which in turn makes for tasks completed with greater productivity and less stress along the way.

With heightened focus and less stress, we are able to retain more information and be present enough to enjoy the process, thus advancing our abilities in the new language.

Work ethic

Like anything else that requires learning, we won’t learn anything if we don’t put in the work.

Similar to the aforementioned point on time-management (coupled with the new norm of remote work), having the ability to stay focused on tasks for as long as necessary to get them done – true persistence in achieving our goals – is essential when learning a new language.

In order to be successful in our language-learning pursuits, it is important to invoke four key values that form a part of a good work ethic: dedication, to the learning plan we set for ourselves; discipline, in maintaining our focus and not falling easy to distraction; productivity, in checking off our daily language goals; responsibility, in seeing through the learning process and holding ourselves accountable.

We can hone the work ethic that we demonstrate when learning a new language to then utilize it in our professional lives.

Companies don’t like to waste time micromanaging employees (or at least I hope they don’t), and so being able to show that we possess a high-level of self-sufficiency and a willingness to go the extra mile makes us that much more desirable as employees and/or job candidates alike.


“Patience is bitter, but its fruit is sweet.” – Jean-Jacques Rousseau

I’d like to believe that most of us have already improved upon this soft skill as a result of everything that was thrown our way over the course of this past year.

Patience plays an incredibly large role in the language-learning process, as it does in most things in life. We get that spark to learn a new language today and hope to speak it at a native level tomorrow.

We come around to realize that little by little, by practicing and achieving our small goals every day, we naturally become better at speaking and understanding the new language.

The beauty of learning a new language is that each concept or aspect of the language that we learn builds upon another, which provides us with a tangible way of tracking just how far we’ve come along in our learning.

The idea here is that we’re not waiting, as patience is often considered to be so, but rather we’re understanding the process itself and therefore the time required achieve our goals – is there a better way to develop patience than through learning a new language?


It can be quite difficult to complete tasks to the best of our abilities while lacking confidence at the same time.

Among a number of benefits, good self-confidence helps us to have faith in our abilities, make decisions faster, experience less fear about our roles or position in life, control our emotions effectively, and, most importantly, let go of the fear of failure – all of which will set us apart from others by truly leading by going above and beyond in our assigned tasks.

When learning a new language, self-confidence is crucial if we wish to achieve the learning goals that we set for ourselves. It does not matter how well we “know” a language if we’re unable to replicate the language due to a lack of self-confidence.

Mistakes are a major part of the learning process, as well as simply learning to not only face criticism from others but to not let that criticism bother us to the point in which we question everything we’ve already learned.

By facing our fears and using the new language that we’ve dedicated so much time of our time to learn, we build our self-confidence, which we can then transfer over to other aspects of our personal and professional lives.

A new year is upon us – let’s have some fun, form a new and positive habit that brings with it so many positive personal and professional benefits as we kick off the start of a new year. There’s no better time to grow than right now. I wish you a wonderful start to the year.



Matteo Talotta

🇮🇹🇨🇦 | Est. 2020 | The Only Way Out Is Through