Experiences and interactions while travelling teach us many invaluable lessons and skills. During the course of my trips for work and leisure, I have developed an affinity towards travel. Having discovered new places through decades of travel, the knowledge and experiences that I have gathered are more precious than the keepsakes and mementos which I have collected.
One of the most important life skills is navigating through difficult situations through the ability to communicate efficiently. Having good communication skills and being able to express yourself effectively can be the difference between spending the night at an airport or getting an upgrade to first class. Communication skills are the gateway to growth and travel is an excellent way to hone them.COMMUNICATE WITHOUT WORDS
As you travel, you will meet people who don’t speak the same language. In our country itself, language and dialects change every few kilometres. The ability to communicate with local citizens depends a lot on your skill to communicate effectively without words.
While there can be cultural differences, there are certain things that are universal. Travel has taught me to adopt openness and positivity during interactions. This means focusing on all non-verbal signs while talking to new people. Keeping your arms uncrossed, adopting a friendly posture, adjusting your tone of voice according to the situation, and above all, smiling genuinely to create a bond without the help of words. These are some of the most essential skills to communicate non-verbally.COMMUNICATE THROUGH LISTENING
Travel offers you the luxury of being completely involved in the task at hand, instead of constantly multitasking. When we think of communication, the first thought is always about getting our own message across. But listening - and listening effectively, is an essential part of communication. It maybe the lack of language skills or it may even be the lack of distraction, but each interaction while travelling is focused and fruitful.
The key to extend this to our day-today lives is to become engaged listeners. Begin by focusing completely on the person you are conversing with and truly listen without interrupting or redirecting the conversation to what you have to say. Avoid jumping to conclusions or judgements in your mind. Ask questions to understand different view points.COMMUNICATE FOR A RESOLUTION
Not all parts of travel are pleasant. The real test of your adaptability and negotiation skills is while travelling. Being assertive is often misunderstood, but it is an essential part of being a good communicator. It is definitely not about being louder, hostile, aggressive or argumentative. It’s about expressing your needs and wants in a clear and respectful way with no space for misinterpretation. During the course of your travels, there are situations in which you may express disagreement over things like monetary transactions or transit routes with local individuals. These instances teach you to do so respectfully and positively, without offending your hosts.
Beyond communication skills, travel is beneficial to every single one of us in multiple ways. In the world of constant connectivity, travel is the only medium that helps us disconnect and connect with things that should matter the most to us – learning, growth and human connection.