Hallo. That’s basically the only Dutch I learned on my most recent trip to Amsterdam. I’m an avid traveler who loves to experience different cultures and learn about the world; but picking up a new language can be tough. Luckily, packing my bags and jetting across the pond has allowed me to identify some key takeaways that have ultimately benefitted me in the workplace. Here are a few skills I’ve learned.
It’s not always easy to communicate when traveling but somehow you just have to make it work. Communication is important in any aspect of life and it’s especially important in the workplace world of advertising and communications. Whether writing, speaking or using computers, communication skills are essential. Understanding others’ points of view, opinions and how past experiences have shaped them, can help you to communicate more effectively.
Travel itineraries have become an absolute must for me. It is essential to have some sort of plan in place so I’m not left wandering through the streets of an unfamiliar territory. Mapping out locations of bucket-list attractions helps to maximize my time in each city I’m visiting. I believe organization in the workplace is even more important. I’ve learned that it allows me to be more efficient in my work, and spend time on valuable to-dos rather than spending hours “looking for that one file.” Some of the easiest ways to stay organized are keeping your calendar up-to-date, and synching it with your personal calendar on your phone; so no matter where you are, you know what’s coming up next. Also, to-do lists itemized by priority helps you to stay on task and on time.
Although I tend to have a very type-A personality, as illustrated by point number two, a part of me loves to be spontaneous. Whether it’s a local weekend getaway or a last minute train ticket to see the next European city, the non-planned and unexpected experiences can be the most exhilarating. In the workplace, spontaneity is just as important; some of the best ideas and work come from unexpected, novel thinking and perspectives. Although it may be hard to do, break your routines, act first, think later and allow yourself to take some risks. Some of your ideas will work out, and some won’t: that’s life. Spontaneity can be risky, but the reward is worth the risk.
Sometimes your travel plans don’t go exactly as you initially envisioned. We’ve all been cursed by flight delays, inclement weather, or lost luggage, which is why it’s important to adapt. The workplace is no different. If you can adapt to the circumstances that are unforeseen, you will be more successful. This also means you have the necessary creative thinking to find a new solution to any problem that may arise. Next time your deadline gets moved up, don’t sweat it.
Being an American from a city in the northeast, the fast-paced lifestyle is unavoidably engrained in me. The biggest lesson I’ve learned through my travels is that it’s okay to wait, slow-down, and “stop to smell the roses.” The same goes for working with others. Whenever something or someone tests your patience, count to 10 and breathe slowly and deeply, this will relax you and give you time to think before reacting, step back and analyze the situation, try to understand why you feel the way you do. Lastly, be empathetic. When there are delays, listen patiently and without judgment so you can understand the causes.
Travel may not have taught me another language, but I have learned invaluable lessons that are directly applicable to my everyday 9-5. By strengthening your communication and organizational skills, being more spontaneous, and keeping your mind open to adapting and having more patience, you’ll benefit. Trust me. That’s why I’ve taken off in the workplace.
Bianca is an account executive and world traveler. She has an instinctive understanding for the importance of building exceptional client relationships and is a strong team player. Bianca is motivated by creating change, meticulous organization, and a great handbag. When she’s not staying on trend in the ever-changing landscape of advertising, you can find her whipping up a pizza and spending time with her pup, Hudley.