A long time ago, I visited the Taiwan Lantern Festival. This annual event is hosted by the Tourism Bureau. Through the entire country, people build large floats and structures that are like oversized lanterns (hence the name). It’s one of the primary yearly events and lantern exhibits are hosted through the entire country.
I went with my guesthouse owner’s nieces and a Korean guy who, like me, was staying there long-term. Because they walked, they mostly spoke Chinese to one another. These were discussing the boy problems of 1 of the nieces (teenage angst and romance you while you are 16 is universal).
Though these were speaking a language I didn’t understand, I followed along just a little. I laughed, I made some jokes, they understood, I understood.
As we walked around, I considered how among the things people always ask you about travel: “How are you different?”
It’s a difficult question to answer because most changes happen slowly and you rarely notice them. Today, after ten years of traveling the world, it’s easy to look back and start to see the many changes that I’ve undergone since I started backpacking. But, when you’re in the thick of it, you usually don’t start to see the big picture.
However, while at the Lantern Festival, I realized one major difference: I had gotten better at non-verbal communication.
From facial expressions to modulation of voice, I could get the gist of what folks around me were saying. I didn’t have to know fluent Mandarin. This skill had crept so slowly into my entire life, so naturally, that it appeared like it had been there.
Research implies that at the least 60% of our communication is non-verbal. We send signals with this body gestures, facial expressions, and modulation of voice. You just don’t recognize that when you’re in the home, speaking your native language. However when you’re abroad, it’s a thing that you depend on. It’s an art you develop, one you will need in the event that you don’t know the neighborhood language.
Even though many parts of the world have different norms and customs and gestures, in terms of non-verbal communication, a lot of it’s the same.
All of the traveling I’ve done has helped me master non-verbal communication. Years of confused looks, pointing, sounds, miming, and pigeon English was what allowed me to access the idea of understanding people without needing words.
With this skill, I possibly could probably never learn another language again but still manage anywhere. It’s working now; they don’t speak English perfectly in Taipei but I manage. I point, grunt, act out things, and I manage.
Learning how exactly to communicate without words is a travel skill which you can use during your life and in every parts of it. It can benefit you navigate bad situations, cope with people’s emotions, understand people, and play cool tricks with people at a bar. Most of all, it can help you manage while on the highway. You’ll have the ability to understand a person even though you don’t understand their language.
People’s facial expressions and body gestures tell as much about what one is feeling as what they say.
Don’t misunderstand me, I really like learning languages. I’ll continue steadily to learn them even easily can’t ever master them. I’m taking Chinese classes in a few days and desire to learn French come early july. It’s good to learn a few words in the neighborhood language, nevertheless, you don’t should try to learn the language fluently. You can aquire by without it.
Even when you never learn one word, you can still manage. I’m not saying never learn the language — you should make attempts. The locals will really enjoy it and it will assist you to learn just a little about the culture (plus, it could make your trip just a little smoother and assist you to avoid getting cheated or scammed).
However, occasionally, don’t. Practice some non-verbal cues. Figure out how to manage with signs. Figure out how to manage without words.
That’s my challenge for you.
The next time you are on the highway, don’t learn the language. Don’t even speak. Make an effort to foster understanding and communication without words. Point, use facial expressions, pantomime, act out what you would like, draw — whatever needs doing. Just don’t use words.
Your investment local language. Don’t make a vain attempt with a phrasebook to determine how exactly to order food or ask what their name is. Skip downloading the language for your Google Translate app. Forget everything.
Be bold and create a skill that will help in every areas of your daily life.
Because learning the non-verbal methods to communicate can help you communicate much better in every your regions of life and assist you to read situ