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12 Reasons Why People Who Travel Are So Endearing

12 Reasons Why People Who Travel Are So Endearing

We all have that one friend that has been almost everywhere in the world (7% in reality, but it is more than you have seen). They are the one who has awe-inspiring experiences that makes you glad that they are your friend. Ever wonder why they are so endearing? Here are 12 reasons:

1. They are fearless.

It takes courage to take a leap of faith and step outside of your comfort zone. They are not afraid of picking out a few phrases each day and trying them out. They aren’t afraid of trying new foods and making new friends.

2. They have an open mind.

They are open-minded when it comes to understanding why people are the way they are. They do not turn up their nose at different countries and their traditions. Instead, they embrace it and are fascinated when learning about traditions that are passed throughout the generations.

They see it as something special and will want to take the traditions back home with them.

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3. They are spontaneous.

They are usually the friends you go to when you want to have a great time. They are the ones who live in the moment do it enthusiastically. There is never a boring moment when hanging out with them.

4. They will always have great food suggestions (no matter what you’re in the mood for).

It doesn’t matter if you are in the mood for Chinese, Filipino, Mexican, Indian or any type of food at all. They will likely have a suggestion and an excellent one at that. They know you and they already know what the food tastes like, so more than likely they will pair you with a meal that will become an all time favorite!

5. They have excellent stories.

There are nights where you can just sit in a pub and listen to the hilarious stories they have about meeting different people around the world. They tell them with such passion, you can’t help but listen. They will tell the story and you can almost see yourself standing there in the city center of Brussels enjoying a chocolate truffle and a cappuccino.

6. They are great listeners.

In return, they are great listeners because they have to be. Being in a different state, country or continent, they need to listen actively. They have to pay attention when someone gives them directions about either the local culture or when they are being told about the landmarks.

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They are always there to swap stories with you, as opposed to only talking about their own travels and adventures.

7. They have confidence in themselves.

They have confidence because they need to have it. If they didn’t have it at first, they faked it until it became authentic. They realized that trying to speak another language does not get you anywhere unless you speak up and say it with confidence.

More than likely, they have been corrected many times and are now proud that they can get it right. They walk with confidence because they have more experience than the majority of people out there. Why? Because they took the steps to make it happen. Traveling is not just for the rich and they are living proof of that.

8. They will send back cool postcards and souvenirs.

When they travel, they will always find something cool to send back to their friends. They send you postcards  and trinkets to keep. And maybe if they love you enough, you will get one specially post marked from the post office in a place like Vatican City.

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9. They appreciate the little things.

In this day and age, it is pretty hard to impress people. Those who travel are great because they see beauty and appreciate the little things in life. They appreciate a sunset because not all sunsets look the same.

They have experienced getting their breath taken away from architecture and they love the feeling. They have sat and slowly enjoyed cups of coffee on early morning strolls through the streets of Seattle.

10. They are okay with not having a plan.

They can tell you of countless times they were lost looking for a landmark and stumbled into a hole in the wall place that served the best tacos. They can tell you they have walked in circles around Brussels city center because their GPS was looking for the English translation of a particular street, as all of the streets are in French.

It doesn’t matter to them at all because they are okay with not having a plan. They believe it leads to great stories to tell down the road.

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11. They have a great attitude.

No matter what, they have a great attitude about life. People that travel have problems of their own. After all, they aren’t robots without feelings. The only difference is that they don’t let their problems consume their life. They have seen a little bit of the world and realize things can always be much worse.

12. They will inspire you.

They inspire you to be more positive in life and to have hope. The more you hang out with them, the more you develop your own wanderlust. They inspire you to get out there and embrace the world as it is.

Featured photo credit: Travel Plans/ Connor Bleakley via flickr.com

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Margielyn Musser

Event And Volunteer Coordinator / World Traveler

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Published on May 18, 2021

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

How To Improve Listening Skills For Effective Workplace Communication

We have two ears and one mouth for a reason—effective communication is dependent on using them in proportion, and this involves having good listening skills.

The workplace of the 21st century may not look the same as it did before COVID-19 spread throughout the world like wildfire, but that doesn’t mean you can relax your standards at work. If anything, Zoom meetings, conference calls, and the continuous time spent behind a screen have created a higher level of expectations for meeting etiquette and communication. And this goes further than simply muting your microphone during a meeting.

Effective workplace communication has been a topic of discussion for decades, yet, it is rarely addressed or implemented due to a lack of awareness and personal ownership by all parties.

Effective communication isn’t just about speaking clearly or finding the appropriate choice of words. It starts with intentional listening and being present. Here’s how to improve your listening skills for effective workplace communication.

Listen to Understand, Not to Speak

There are stark differences between listening and hearing. Listening involves intention, focused effort, and concentration, whereas hearing simply involves low-level awareness that someone else is speaking. Listening is a voluntary activity that allows one to be present and in the moment while hearing is passive and effortless.[1]

Which one would you prefer your colleagues to implement during your company-wide presentation? It’s a no-brainer.

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Listening can be one of the most powerful tools in your communication arsenal because one must listen to understand the message being told to them. As a result of this deeper understanding, communication can be streamlined because there is a higher level of comprehension that will facilitate practical follow-up questions, conversations, and problem-solving. And just because you heard something doesn’t mean you actually understood it.

We take this for granted daily, but that doesn’t mean we can use that as an excuse.

Your brain is constantly scanning your environment for threats, opportunities, and situations to advance your ability to promote your survival. And yet, while we are long past the days of worrying about being eaten by wildlife, the neurocircuitry responsible for these mechanisms is still hard-wired into our psychology and neural processing.

A classic example of this is the formation of memories. Case in point: where were you on June 3rd, 2014? For most of you reading this article, your mind will go completely blank, which isn’t necessarily bad.

The brain is far too efficient to retain every detail about every event that happens in your life, mainly because many events that occur aren’t always that important. The brain doesn’t—and shouldn’t—care what you ate for lunch three weeks ago or what color shirt you wore golfing last month. But for those of you who remember where you were on June 3rd, 2014, this date probably holds some sort of significance to you. Maybe it was a birthday or an anniversary. Perhaps it was the day your child was born. It could have even been a day where you lost someone special in your life.

Regardless of the circumstance, the brain is highly stimulated through emotion and engagement, which is why memories are usually stored in these situations. When the brain’s emotional centers become activated, the brain is far more likely to remember an event.[2] And this is also true when intention and focus are applied to listening to a conversation.

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Utilizing these hard-wired primitive pathways of survival to optimize your communication in the workplace is a no-brainer—literally and figuratively.

Intentional focus and concentrated efforts will pay off in the long run because you will retain more information and have an easier time recalling it down the road, making you look like a superstar in front of your colleagues and co-workers. Time to kiss those note-taking days away!

Effective Communication Isn’t Always Through Words

While we typically associate communication with words and verbal affirmations, communication can come in all shapes and forms. In the Zoom meeting era we live in, it has become far more challenging to utilize and understand these other forms of language. And this is because they are typically easier to see when we are sitting face to face with the person we speak to.[3]

Body language can play a significant role in how our words and communication are interpreted, especially when there is a disconnection involved.[4] When someone tells you one thing, yet their body language screams something completely different, it’s challenging to let that go. Our brain immediately starts to search for more information and inevitably prompts us to follow up with questions that will provide greater clarity to the situation at hand. And in all reality, not saying something might be just as important as actually saying something.

These commonly overlooked non-verbal communication choices can provide a plethora of information about the intentions, emotions, and motivations. We do this unconsciously, and it happens with every confrontation, conversation, and interaction we engage in. The magic lies in the utilization and active interpretation of these signals to improve your listening skills and your communication skills.

Our brains were designed for interpreting our world, which is why we are so good at recognizing subtle nuances and underlying disconnect within our casual encounters. So, when we begin to notice conflicting messages between verbal and non-verbal communication, our brain takes us down a path of troubleshooting.

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Which messages are consistent with this theme over time? Which statements aren’t aligning with what they’re really trying to tell me? How should I interpret their words and body language?

Suppose we want to break things down even further. In that case, one must understand that body language is usually a subconscious event, meaning that we rarely think about our body language. This happens because our brain’s primary focus is to string together words and phrases for verbal communication, which usually requires a higher level of processing. This doesn’t mean that body language will always tell the truth, but it does provide clues to help us weigh information, which can be pretty beneficial in the long run.

Actively interpreting body language can provide you with an edge in your communication skills. It can also be used as a tool to connect with the individual you are speaking to. This process is deeply ingrained into our human fabric and utilizes similar methods babies use while learning new skills from their parents’ traits during the early years of development.

Mirroring a person’s posture or stance can create a subtle bond, facilitating a sense of feeling like one another. This process is triggered via the activation of specific brain regions through the stimulation of specialized neurons called mirror neurons.[5] These particular neurons become activated while watching an individual engage in an activity or task, facilitating learning, queuing, and understanding. They also allow the person watching an action to become more efficient at physically executing the action, creating changes in the brain, and altering the overall structure of the brain to enhance output for that chosen activity.

Listening with intention can make you understand your colleague, and when paired together with mirroring body language, you can make your colleague feel like you two are alike. This simple trick can facilitate a greater bond of understanding and communication within all aspects of the conversation.

Eliminate All Distractions, Once and for All

As Jim Rohn says, “What is easy to do is also easy not to do.” And this is an underlying principle that will carry through in all aspects of communication. Distractions are a surefire way to ensure a lack of understanding or interpretation of a conversation, which in turn, will create inefficiencies and a poor foundation for communication.

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This should come as no surprise, especially in this day in age where people are constantly distracted by social media, text messaging, and endlessly checking their emails. We’re stuck in a cultural norm that has hijacked our love for the addictive dopamine rush and altered our ability to truly focus our efforts on the task at hand. And these distractions aren’t just distractions for the time they’re being used. They use up coveted brainpower and central processes that secondarily delay our ability to get back on track.

Gloria Mark, a researcher at UC Irvine, discovered that it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds for our brains to reach their peak state of focus after an interruption.[6] Yes, you read that correctly—distractions are costly, error-prone, and yield little to no benefit outside of a bump to the ego when receiving a new like on your social media profile.

Meetings should implement a no-phone policy, video conference calls should be set on their own browser with no other tabs open, and all updates, notifications, and email prompt should be immediately turned off, if possible, to eliminate all distractions during a meeting.

These are just a few examples of how we can optimize our environment to facilitate the highest levels of communication within the workplace.

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

Effective communication in the workplace doesn’t have to be challenging, but it does have to be intentional. Knowledge can only take us so far, but once again, knowing something is very different than putting it into action.

Just like riding a bike, the more often you do it, the easier it becomes. Master communicators are phenomenal listeners, which allows them to be effective communicators in the workplace and in life. If you genuinely want to own your communication, you must implement this information today and learn how to improve your listening skills.

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Choose your words carefully, listen intently, and most of all, be present in the moment—because that’s what master communicators do, and you can do it, too!

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Featured photo credit: Mailchimp via unsplash.com

Reference

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