“I started taking Portuguese lessons because it was the only language we taught at the time that I didn’t know how to speak. I also wanted to experience first hand how students were using Lingo Live to learn a new language. Only later did I realize that I could use Portuguese to help grow our company,” said Tyler Muse, Founder and CEO of Lingo Live.
Learning Portuguese for the First Time
Tyler started taking Portuguese lessons the same way our students do in January 2014. He started off as a White Belt within the Lingo Live curriculum, meaning he was a complete beginner. In about six months, Tyler progressed to Yellow Belt, the next level of proficiency, by taking two lessons a week. "The hardest thing about learning Portuguese was not confusing it with Spanish. I learned Spanish previously through our platform and I kept mixing up the verb conjugations between the two languages," he said.
It wasn't until Tyler needed to prepare for a business trip to Brazil, that he changed his frequency of lessons from twice a week to six times a week. In two months, he advanced to Purple Belt, an intermediate level of proficiency. "It went from a fun hobby to acquiring a real skill that I was developing everyday. As I increased my frequency of lessons, the faster I was making progress," he said.
Now Tyler can write emails to new potential partners and clients in Portuguese. More recently, he's been able to take meetings and phone calls as well.
Using Portuguese in Brazil
"When I was in Brazil a few months ago, not only I was able to navigate around the country with ease, but I was able to conduct meetings in Portuguese with potential customers about our product," said Tyler, "I had about 20 different meetings where I was able to articulate the value of Lingo Live clearly. Nine of these meetings resulted in a proposal stage."
Although Lingo Live prepared him for his travels in Brazil and specifically for his business meetings, he still had a difficult time understanding unstructured slang. His current goals are to finish the Orange Belt level to achieve advanced conversational proficiency.
Tips to Succeed
"Learning a new language seems like a scary beast that’s an insurmountable thing. If you break up your learning into smaller pieces and focus on getting the most out of every individual lesson, it will help you reach your goal," Tyler said.
- Don’t be scared to make mistakes. The fear of making mistakes limits your ability to engage and learn openly when practicing your conversational ability.
- Consistency is key. Find time in your calendar that you know you have relative control over. Like anything in life, you often have to sacrifice an additional hour of sleep.
- Learn what's interesting to you. Don't hesitate to let your instructor know what you want or need to work on during your lessons. "I would role play with my instructor often when I wanted to practice my Lingo Live pitch in Portuguese. This helped me prepare for my meetings in Brazil."