As most of you know, I spent a few weeks in Europe back in October. That trip made me realize that traveling to a foreign country is something everyone needs to do. Of course there are amazing and beautiful things to see, but that is not the reason I am suggesting this.

I think everyone needs to go to a foreign country to learn one of the most important skills to becoming a better communicator: how to communicate nonverbally. This is a really important skill.

This was a very important skill when I was in France, for example, because I don’t speak French. The way I say bonjour and merci beaucoup probably made the French people hate Americans even more than they already do.

I’ll share something interesting with you.  On that trip we were driving through all these different little mountain towns one day, and we were hungry. Apparently, everything closes down between 12:00 pm and 4:00 pm. I don’t know when they eat lunch or what they do, but the whole area literally boards up and shuts down between those hours.

Nevertheless, we found this little food truck with a whole bunch of workers near it. I pulled up, we got out and I ordered some sandwiches. I picked out the sandwiches by pointing at the pictures. The guy offered me different beverages in French.

It was really fascinating, though, to stand there with eight or nine people who spoke a different language as they are looking at you and laughing. Most people feel very insecure at that moment, because they feel like they are being laughed at.

In reality, those people were just trying to communicate with me using nonverbal communication. They were using gestures and body language to try and communicate with me.

I think this is one of the best lessons we can learn. I’ve traveled all over the world and to a lot of places where I couldn’t speak the language, and every time I go to one of these places I feel like I’ve learned a great lesson.

You actually learn how to communicate better by not speaking the language. You’re forced to use your intuition.  You’re forced to use body language.  

You’re forced to use eye contact. So many people, especially American guys who are trying to meet women, are so afraid of eye contact. So many people are always looking for other people’s body language when, ironically, they really don’t even understand body language.

This is one of the reasons I tell people to travel abroad. When you travel abroad, it is all about body language.

It’s all about the way you make eye contact. It’s all about the way you smile and the way your smile engages others. When you travel abroad you are not only more aware of all of this, you are also aware that you are the leader for all of these things.

When many people walk up to someone in France, they do so with a pouty face because they can’t speak the language. When you do this, people are going to look at you say “Asshole American,” right? When you walk up with a big smile and ask if they speak English, you come off as a lot friendlier.

So one of the greatest things to do is to go to a foreign country and navigate your way around. Try and find a hotel. Try to find places to eat.

Don’t rely on finding people who speak English. Don’t even worry about whether people speak English, because what you’ll learn will make you more aware of things with people who do speak your own language when you get home. You’re actually learning worlds of information (pardon the pun) about nonverbal clues.

So save your money and get your ass to a foreign country. Avoid France right now because the American Dollar sucks there. You can go to South America for ten or eleven days and accomplish the same thing for half the price.