University explores benefits of speaking Gaelic in business

Young cattle on the beach at East Kilbride, South Uist. Na Meadhoinean, or Middle District, has the strongest Gaelic-speaking community in the world, at 82% per cent. Picture: Allan Milligan/TSPL
Young cattle on the beach at East Kilbride, South Uist. Na Meadhoinean, or Middle District, has the strongest Gaelic-speaking community in the world, at 82% per cent. Picture: Allan Milligan/TSPL
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A university is to discuss whether speaking one of Scotland’s mother tongues could offer an advantage to businesses.

International business expert Seonaidh MacDonald will talk about his experiences of using Gaelic in a global business context at a lunchtime seminar offered by the University of the Highlands and Islands.

A native of Uist, Mr MacDonald’s career has taken him around the world. His last venture was to build Scottish augmented reality company MLed into a leading manufacturing business which was sold to Facebook in a multimillion pound deal.

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Speaking ahead of the event, he said: “Having Gaelic as another fluent language has allowed me to see how others can sometimes find difficulty in some of the nuances of English. This can lead to a degree of an empathy with other parties in, for example, multilingual negotiations and, as a result, can help to build trust and lead to stronger overall business relationships being formed.”

Gary Campbell, the university’s key account director, who organised the event, said: “Seonaidh’s experience shows that, where many people would assume having Gaelic as a first language might be a barrier, in fact it has been a bonus.”

The seminar, entitled ‘What’s the Gaelic for Entrepreneur?’, will be delivered in Gaelic, with English translation available. It will take place from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Thursday, November 16 at the An Lòchran building on Inverness Campus and can also be attended by video conference.