Despite all the information available on our screens, it cannot replace human interaction while on the go. Sometimes you ask simple questions to find out the important things: which train to follow, where to get a good coffee and if you can feed the wild monkeys or if they can bite your hand. Other times, you want to feel a deeper connection and gain a deeper understanding of the place and its culture, maybe even make new friends. Or maybe you just want to get rid of loneliness and desire. To make the exchange as smooth as possible, here are nine tips on how to have a satisfying conversation no matter where you are.
Many people become tense, nervous, or even anxious when they step out of their comfort zone. It can be stressful to be in a new place full of foreigners where you may not be familiar with the customs and may not be able to speak the local language. "The more alien the environment, the more likely people are to indulge in thinking about the amygdala, the oldest part of the brain that perceives the world through fear and threat," says Celeste Headlee, author of We Need to Talk. : How to Have Conversations. This problem. "" When that happens, you're not thinking logically, you're not using executive decision making, and you're not having fun. "To combat nervousness, advises Judy Apps, author of The Art or Conversation: Change Your Life. with effective communication. With confidence, "just take a few long, slow breaths through your nose and exhale through your mouth.
Consider a neutral starting theme
Unless you're looking for specific information from someone, keep the topic of your first casual interaction: the weather, the events happening around you, what you eat. If you choose the latter, be curious and respectful; Never describe food as "strange", "exotic" or "scary". Stay away from politics; Recent events can also be stressful. The app warns that you should never ask what people do for a living; It is considered rude in many cultures because it is associated with class. At first it's not a joke. "Most people think they're funny and very few are," says Headlee. "And when you travel, the humor rarely translates."
ask a good question
There are two rules for asking good questions: respondents know the answers and are interested in what they are discussing. Ask them what they are wearing; the tattoo; where they live; your favorite restaurant; great place to walk around to get an idea of the place you are visiting. "And it relieves the pressure from her anxiety," says Headlee. "When you ask questions, you don't care what you will say, you focus on what they will tell you."
answer with questions
A solid conversation involves give and take. When someone asks you a question, Apps suggests adding your question to the end of the answer. Don't just answer "yes" or "no". Even simple questions like "Have you been here?" you can answer: “No, I didn't. Do you come here often? "
keep it quiet
Generally, Americans see the quiet parts of a conversation as socially awkward, so we tend to fill in gaps in the flow. This is not true in the rest of the world, where moments of silence are common, so slow down your interaction. "In many Asian countries, it's quite normal for someone to sit still for a long time, but they don't give up yet," says Apps. "This could be interpreted as rude for an American to come in and think the person has finished speaking."
sorry if necessary
No matter how careful you are when talking to strangers, it is still possible to accidentally offend someone personally, culturally or politically. If this happens, don't say you didn't mean to offend, because your intentions don't matter, and don't argue whether what you said was offensive or not. Instead, be ready to admit and accept your mistakes. Headlee suggests asking for an explanation of the cause of your unintended violation so that you don't repeat the same mistake.
learn the language
When visiting a foreign country, learn some useful phrases such as "thank you", "hello" and "I don't speak your language, but I would like to learn a few words". “During my travels, I've found that when you tell someone you're trying to learn their language, they pop up,” says Headlee. “They love to listen to native English speakers who really want to learn their language. Only this can start a conversation.
practical practical practice
You don't have to wait for a trip to practice talking to strangers. The apps suggest starting conversations in everyday situations: queuing at the supermarket, queuing at an event or waiting for an appointment to start. You can go through all the steps of the process in a low-risk environment. Even if it doesn't work, "trust you tried," says Apps.
be a happy traveler
Remember the thought of the amygdala, where the world is seen through fear and threat? Well, positive social interactions tend to calm that part of your brain down. "A good conversation tends to involve the more developed parts of the brain," says Headlee. "They will lift your mood, increase your energy and make you more compassionate and patient, making you also more likely to take risks, try new things and enjoy them." In the end, you will enjoy your trip more. "