It’s often frustrating to come up with the perfect gift idea for your loved ones, and depending on the occasion may leave you waiting outside a store for hours and hours in the search for that one single product. When you go on vacation and have the opportunity to introduce your friends and family to a new slice of the world, what’s the best way to commemorate the trip with a good souvenir? The answer lies in the question: for many people, the most-desired gift is an introduction itself.
What’s in an introduction? A lot, according to psychologists. 11 out of 20 Americans find their next job through a friend or family member or other contact, while six out of ten Americans meet their future spouse through an introduction. The simple act of giving people a connection with a new person may be one of the most profound forces in all of human interaction: famed entrepreneur Adam Rifkin reportedly made three introductions per day and got dozens of business opportunities and founded multiple companies. How can you capitalize on introductory power when you travel abroad?
There’s several ways. First and foremost, you can try to strike up a conversation with whomever you find around you. This can be supremely difficult in a nation or city where few people speak English, and may rely on you learning a few phrases of another language.
Whenever you make contact with a new person on a vacation, whether you’re buying ice cream from a street vendor or waiting in line for a museum, try to get recommendations — people love making their opinion known — on where to go, what to eat, and so on. Mention that you have friends or family back home who wanted to come with you but were unable to, and carry a business card with contact information.
If possible, set up a time later to meet a person, or to have them make an introduction on your behalf, so that you can expand your network. Use Internet tools like Skype to communicate with people back home, to make introductions or references when you need to do so across time and space. Make an introduction the best travel souvenir you or another person has ever had.