I spent about 7 weeks in Europe laughing. Invited to be part of the team that formulated a new conference in Spain, I offered everything from web restructuring, graphics, media material, page development and logistics to organizational and development ideas that helped it redirect itself to move from a heartfelt idea to a professional opportunity for many. Most of this was done in advance of this year, though landing on European soil, I was met with endless opportunities to laugh in its completion.
It was a lesson in communication dynamics as I struggled with the way to express and understand without full command of the culture or language. Some were very helpful, some gave me a chance to really learn, though mostly in Spain it was a lesson in silence. I realized that those who spoke from their heart were easier to understand than those in their head. I also took note of the fact that everyone says way too much anyway. Lots to laugh about, lessons to learn and when I left I had things to reflect upon.
Both of the times I traveled to France were full and rich with engagement. With the French some English was spoken so it gave me a chance to understand a bit. What I also discovered was the way in which tone was used... oh my how I could jump into agree or disagree and no one quite understood how, without full comprehension, I could respond... the trick was in playing with people and listening. When there voices went up, I knew a yes response would be favorable and when their tone went down, the negative was the choice. Because I didn't answer yes or no, but with a bit of emphatic fun, it became a very amusing experience of learning and laughing.
I attended two laughter conferences and several opportunities in a variety of places to share the best of what laughter offers us while in Europe and it was interesting to note how many cultural chuckles were the same while noting very interestingly how they were different!
My experience taught much about how listening, learning, laughing and language all flow together for an interesting understanding in ways to communicate. Europe laughs quite well I find, but somehow I think I had the last laugh!