Social And Communication Skills 1/4: 

Time and Stress



Prepared by Dialogue Diversity

March 2020


NESET NEETs’ Empowerment for Sustainable Employment in the Tourism sector, is a 3-year project, funded by the EEA and Norway Grants Fund for Youth Employment which aims at supporting on a large-scale transnational basis the sustainability of youth integration in the tourism labour market in the NESET beneficiary countries (BCs), by creating conditions for NEETs’ employment and entrepreneurship in various forms of tourism, incl. alternative tourism.

The NESET beneficiary countries are: Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Italy, Portugal and Romania, whereas Iceland is involved in the project’s implementation as an expertise country.

The Project’s approved Proposal stipulates, among others, that a number of training Modules will be produced to support a Training course addressed to trainees with NEET characteristics in the partner countries. The Modules produced, deal with various types of skills considered to be associated with efforts aiming at strengthening young persons’ skills and upgrading their performance while working in tourism related jobs.

One of these Skills’ Groups is “Social and Communication Skills”, while two more Groups, i.e. “Employability Skills” and “Tourism related Entrepreneurship Skills” are also included in the NESET range of training topics.

Four Social and Communication Skills Modules have been produced by DIALOGUE DIVERSITY, for individual skills in that Group i.e. Respect (1/4), Empathy (2/4), Active Listening (3/4) and Open Mindedness (4/4).

Dialogue Diversity would like to acknowledge their staff for their contribution in the Preparation of these Modules.


March 2020


The present Module has been prepared solely for training purposes. Its text does not necessarily claim originality, as, besides the authors’ own contribution, it is also based on material from various other sources considered to be relevant, useful for training purposes and transferable. This is dully acknowledged in the text in various ways. The authors however accept responsibility for any failure to fully record all such instances in the text.

Table of contents

I – Skill´s Group

Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills

Final words.


II – The Specific Skills *

Respect 1/4

Learning objectives



Title: Building Blocks

Title: Get It Together

Role-play: At the Travel Agency







I – Skill´s Group

Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills

What are communication skills? Do we really need to work on communicating if it seems like we are pretty good at it already? The answer is a resounding yes! As Stephen R. Covey states: The most important ingredient we put into any relationship is not what we say or what we do, but what we are. And if our words and our actions come from superficial human relations techniques rather than from our own inner core, others will sense that duplicity. We simply won’t be able to create and sustain the foundation necessary for effective interdependence.

This really shows how vital communication is and how important is the way we communicate and interact with others. This is particularly important in the tourism sector. As it noted, communication is the foundation of all of our relationships, forming the basis of our interactions and feelings about one another.

There are many definitions of communication. Basically, communication means little more than ‘to share’. But where the sharing of a chocolate, a house, or other physical objects involves that the one sharing will keep a lesser portion of these objects to him/herself, sharing through communication does not leave the one sharing with ‘less’ than he had before he/she shared his/her thoughts, feelings, ideas, values, perspectives, viewpoints or ideologies. Communication not only involves exchange (transmission, encoding and decoding) of information, but has the possibility to generate new, more informed meanings and understandings for all parties involved. Accordingly, communication is not only about giving or sending information, it is about sharing information and by doing so, accumulating, creating and advancing knowledge. However, many definitions of Communication forget this meaning of sharing and value creation. For example, Wikipedia presents communication as predominantly unidirectional when pointing to it as “the act of conveying intended meanings from one entity or group to another”. Merrian Webstar dictionary defines communication as ‘a process by which information is exchanged between individuals through a common system of symbols, signs, or behavior’. And when we communicate, our purpose is also that our message is well understood by our listener(s).

In relation to Social skills, it is also evident their importance in the Tourism sector. What are social skills? Can we improve them? And the answer, again, is a sounded YES.

According to Wikipedia, Social Skill is any competence facilitating interaction and communication with others where social rules and relations are created, communicated, and changed in verbal and nonverbal ways. The process of learning these skills is called socialization. For socialization, interpersonal skills are essential to relate to one another. Interpersonal skills are the ability to communicate, or interact well with the other people, i.e., are the behaviour and tactics a person uses to interact with others effectively. Positive interpersonal skills include persuasion, active listening, delegation and stewardship, among others.

So, it is important to acquire good communication and social skills also because:

  • Effective communication shows respect and valueof the other person.
  • It helps us to better understand each other; not all communication is about understanding—some are intended to fight, dismiss, invalidate, undermine, etc.—but it should be!
  • It makes us feel more comfortable with each other and encourages even better and effective communication

Communication and social skills can be developed and improved. Specially, if we daily deal with people, personal or professionally speaking. In the tourism sector, this is even more evident and important.

Some tips can help guide us toward better communication with people in general. According to Australia’s Better Health Channel, the following tips (among others) can improve your communication process and be more successful in achieving your objectives:

  • Set aside time to talk without interruption from other people or distractions like phones, computers or television
  • Think about what you want to say
  • Be clear about what you want to communicate
  • Make your message clear, so that the listener hears it accurately and understands what you mean
  • Listen to the part / ‘partner’. Put aside your own thoughts for sometimes and try to understand their intentions, feelings, needs and wants (this is called empathy)
  • Be aware of your tone of voice
  • Remember that you don’t have to be right all the time. If the issue you are having is not that important, sometimes let the issue go, or agree to disagree
  • Don’t jump to conclusions. Find out all the facts rather than guessing at motives.
  • Discuss what actually happened. Don’t judge

Communication skills can be generally categorized as the oral, written and body language skills (Fatimawati et al, 2005; Jackson, 1999; Shamsudin Abd. Rahman, 1997). If tourist workers are able to master these skills and leave a good impression, then every country, and Portugal, in particular, may unfold further steps to further boost the tourism industry.

Tourism workers provide one of the first impressions on tourists in relation to the country. In this sector, when interacting with tourists, qualities such as professionalism, integrity, punctuality and politeness are indicators to lead to satisfaction. Having tourist workers with good generic, social and communication skills is more likely to build good tourist relationships.

So, we should ask:

  1. Does good communication skills contribute to the development of the tourism sector?
  2. What are the main aspects of communication skills that are important for the development of the tourism sector?

Several of the important features in communication and social skills are:

  1. Proficiency in languages such as English and other foreign languages
  2. Oral skills, written and body language
  3. Dress and attire
  4. Appearance and visual communication
  5. Manner of communication
  6. Knowledge of the respective country and common courtesy
  7. General knowledge and professional ethique
  8. Proficiency in formal and informal protocol
  9. Skills of delivery or relaying information to tourists
  10. Study of work ethics, such as honesty, willingness to help without conditions, etc.

Multilingual workers are needed to cater for various foreign nationalities that visit each country. Thus, many tourists without well-trained and experienced tourist guides may give a negative image to the hosting country.

Other aspects that need to be looked into seriously is professionalism of the tourism workers in which human qualities and dispositions are not to be neglected. Some of these qualities, as reflected in the survey done by NESET partnership are: personal character, good personality, i.e., friendliness, patience, and emphatic communication. Another important skill, although not reflected in the survey is appearance. These are virtues that go a long way in pampering tourists to stay longer and spend more. On the other hand, continuous learning and acquiring new knowledge and skills leads to better customer service. Work ethics such as honesty, self-conscience and competency in serving tourists are the foundation of excellence in tourism. These skills are, this way, also important in the Tourism business.

So, companies also communicate through how their employees look (e.g. what they wear), but most important is how employees behave when interacting with customers. The literature on emotional labor (and research indicating how more and more employees need to manage feelings and expressions to fulfil the emotional requirements of their jobs as we continue to move from a manufacturing towards a service- or experience-based economy) is quite extensive and in recent years, much has been written about issues such as complaint management.

Thus, these skills should be learned and obtained. Some of the benefits of obtaining communication skills are as follows:

  1. a) able to communicate information to visitors effectively
  2. b) able to identify an individual’s attitudes closely
  3. c) able to strengthen the relationship with tourists and can attract them to visit again
  4. d) able to solve complex problems and
  5. e) able to build network of relationships with foreign tourists.

Therefore, communication and social skills are essential in creating a good atmosphere in the workplace and ensuring understanding and strong links between “tourist worker” and tourists who visit each country.

We should have in mind teaching social skills with fostering social problems solving skills. However, the social skills taught are individualized to the needs of the students in the group.

The general categories of skills include:

  • emotion regulation
  • dealing with bullying and peer pressure
  • expressing feelings
  • social communication
  • negotiation and conflict resolution
  • conveying empathy
  • self-advocacy
  • age-appropriate behaviour, and
  • planning and organization.

Another very important area is complaints handling with a focus on the opportunity to create loyalty. Service is not defined by not making mistakes, but much rather how these are handled.

To finalize, the following 10 commandments of hospitality offer a good base for developing a professional and positive conduct in client presence:

  1. smile and be positive;
  2. greet all you meet: ‘good morning/afternoon/evening’, ‘you are welcome’, ‘my

pleasure’, ‘excuse me’, etc.;

  1. the answer is ‘yes’, never ‘no’;
  2. a guest’s concern is your concern;
  3. an absolute level of cleanliness and security is each one’s responsibility;
  4. escort guests, do not point;
  5. assist your colleagues;
  6. do not eat, drink, smoke or chat with colleagues in guest areas;
  7. enjoy your work, treating guests and colleagues with respect and dignity;
  8. act as an ambassador of your hotel inside and outside.

Final words:

Good communication is a skill that serves people in every area of life. Even the best communicators make mistakes, let alone those of us still learning how to improve. Imagine a world where everyone knew the emotion behind their message and tried to communicate with assertive kindness. So, think before you speak!

Equipping individuals with effective communication skills results in higher levels of emotional intelligence, higher test scores, lowering incidents of bullying, and improvements in overall mental well-being. There is so much to gain from practicing these skills.

With the omnipresence of technological advances, young individuals need to practice these face-to-face skills more than ever.

Building these skills in all age groups builds a society for empathy and emotional resilience. The more practice kids get in school and at home, the better these skills will become. Adults and kids alike have endless opportunities to change how they speak and address their shared needs.

Videos: : the magical science of storytelling | David JP Phillips | TEDxStockholm

II – The Specific Skills *

According to the survey results done by NESET partnership [regarding the need requirements in terms of needs vs already existing skills, available support and demographics of young people, as well as their perceptions, regarding the existing labour market-related challenges and opportunities from a tourism sector perspective], the following 4 specific skills were appointed as most important for a worker in the Tourist business: Respect, Confidence, Empathy and Open Mindedness and Active Listening. Below, the reasons we have found for the importance of Respect in the same sector.

Respect 1/4

Learning objectives:

  • Define ‘Respect’ in tourism context
  • Give several examples of how to show respect to others, themselves, and their environment in the tourism context
  • Understand why it is important to show Respect in the tourism context


Studies show that work conflict impacts us in significant ways—often even more than personal or family drama. That is because our identities are often tied to our work. So, feeling disrespected can affect our self-esteem and trigger anxiety, stress – and often lead to conflict.

It is easy to say we should act respectfully in the workplace. But what does respect look like when we’re stressed and facing a big deadline or a problem to solve?

You might think “Respect is easy—because I’m a good person.” But good people make poor choices all the time. So what is the difference between being “good” and being “respectful”? Being respectful is intentional and takes practice and skill.

Creating a shared language of respect

Before you can start building your respect skill, you need to have a shared language and common assessment of behaviors. Without this, when respect issues arise, conversations become emotional and can quickly escalate.

No matter how good of a person we may be, our first impulse or reaction isn’t always to be patient, widen our lens and switch perspectives. Learning how to do that is really a new work skill—a “workplace respect” skill.

Build your culture competency one day at a time

To build our respect skills as part of a commitment to cultural competency is a process in need to endeavour every day, as part of our interactions with each other in the workplace. The good news, however, is these behaviors become reflexive over time, the more we do them.

It’s much easier to see what a lack of respect looks like in others, than to recognize when you aren’t showing respectful behaviour.  Quite simply – we don’t always notice our own behaviours and non-verbal cues that can be perceived as a lack of respect.

Test out how you are doing by using this acrostic of 7 ways to show

  • Recognize how what you are saying is coming across.   Pay attention and watch for feedback from others. Watch your tone and use good non-verbal skills.
  • Eliminate negative words and phrases from your vocabulary.  Don’t use words that can be hurtful, offensive or misinterpreted.
  • Speak with people — not at them, or about them. Engage in a conversation, not a debate, or a lecture.
  • Practice appreciation. Show appreciationto those around you daily through your words and actions.
  • Earn respect from others by modeling respectful behaviors.  Don’t expect respect from others if you are acting like a jerk.
  • Consider others’ feelings before speaking and acting.  Is what you are saying kind? Is it necessary?
  • Take time to listen.  Don’t interrupt.  Always listen first.

So, how did you do?  Do you do them all, regularly?  What could you do better?   Pick out one of these descriptions of respect and work on making it a daily habit when you are communicating.

Showing respect is often something you don’t think about. But, it’s an incredibly important skill to develop to make your communication better for better results. Some of these behaviors will take time to practice and learn. But, it is well worth it! Learning to regularly show respect when you communicate will make a huge difference in your relationships at work and home.

Respect is then a way of positively treating or thinking about something or someone; it conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities. And it is also the process of honoring someone by exhibiting care, concern, or consideration for their needs or feelings.

Apart from this, Respect in the Tourism Sector also means showing respect for different cultures, races, religious, etc.  People committed to responsible and sustainable tourism must commit to respecting local cultures in ways both large and small. Respect should be the guiding principle behind all of your actions. Even if you don’t agree with a custom or a request, honour your role as visitor in someone else’s home and follow their lead, allowing local actions to guide all of your behaviours. The role these locations play in the lives of locals is far more significant than the fleeting satisfaction a tourist receives from engaging with a place outside of the context locals desire.  In many cultures, individuals are considered to be worthy of respect until they prove otherwise. Courtesies that show respect may include simple words and phrases like “Thank you” in the West or “Namaste” in the Indian subcontinent, or simple physical signs like a slight bow, a smile, direct eye contact, or a simple handshake; however, those acts may have very different interpretations, depending on the cultural context.

Thus, when travelling abroad, we need to show Respect for the destinations we visit. There is a growing trend amongst travellers visit remote destinations which are very often home to poor people to see unique landscapes and way of life. You might already know that negative impacts from tourism occur when the amount of visitors is greater than the environment’s ability to cope with the visitor volume. The ‘remote destinations’ are often populated by indigenous cultures, whose customs and traditions may be vulnerable to the over-bearing Western culture of tourists.

Visitors should keep in mind that we are entering a place that is someone else’s home. As visitors of another country, we should not avoid from our responsibility to sustain the natural and cultural wonders of our planet so that future generations can enjoy the same life-changing adventures we have shared. A growing number of travellers want their journeys to be less invasive and more beneficial to the local community. This is known as “responsible travel”. It is a respect for the local culture, environment and people wherever we visit.

Responsible travel encourages travellers to think about the impact of their trip and it is about making choices to reduce the environmental impact of travel, while enhancing positive impacts on the people and places we visit.  Responsible travel provides better understand the culture of the people they meet in the places they visit. It aims to facilitate interactions between travellers and locals – where each may learn from the other. In a nutshell, responsible travel is travel that is environmentally, socially, culturally and economically sustainable.

There are many ways to travel sustainably. Below are just a few ways you can get involved on your next holidays or as a Tourist Guide to make your journey more responsible and meaningful.

  1. Protect the environment

Crowds of tourists can often spell disaster for the environment, so you can try to help from little things by: pick up your trash and never litter, limit energy use, save water, reduce the number of plastic bags, napkins and disposable cups you use when you eat fast food, take away coffee / meals, etc.

  1. Protect wildlife

A trip to an animal conservation center rather than a zoo, seeing animals in their natural environment rather than in captivity and travelling only with companies who have a strong wildlife policy are great starting points. Think twice before you buy any products made from any endangered species, including animal hides and body parts, tortoise-shell, ivory, or coral – they could be ilegal.

  1. Change your commute

Part of the fun of travel is experiencing all the great ways to get around! Try out some of cool transportation – including cyclo, “xe lôi”, “xe lam”… where you can travel like a local. If you’re able, sample the local cuisine on a walking tour, or explore the streets on a cyclo rideget your heart pumping with a cycling trip, or jump into nature with a trek. Small groups: Less is more: less impact on the natural environment, more chance to enjoy your surroundings. Less crowding out of places, more time spent meaningfully interacting with locals.

  1. Respect local culture

Finding out more about how other cultures work is not only interesting and exciting; it reflects how grateful we are to be welcomed by them. Before travelling, it necessary to learn a little bit about the local culture and traditions of the place that you are visiting. Not only will it potentially save you from culture shock, but you might learn something that actually stops you from causing offence.  Did you know that in Vietnam, crossing your fingers (which means wishing for luck) is actually just about the most offensive gesture you can make towards someone? Ensure that you are familiar with what is acceptable to photograph in the destination you are travelling to – some religious sites and processions are prohibited from being photographed or filmed. So always ask permission before taking a photo.

  1. Dig deep into the local culture

Culturally conscious activities, such as visiting villageshome-stay, trying local cuisine and learning about traditional crafts, invite travellers to experience the authentic lifestyle of locals. Seeing these sides of life is not only fascinating but essential to our true understanding of the country. Like the long-lasting memories that come from them, the experiences are what make it priceless and unique.

  1. Keep tradition alive

Shop locally from traditional artisans. Buying goods from local businesses also supports the continuation of traditional, culturally-important skills that have been passed down through generations. You can even support the economy by learning some new skills: cooking classtry your hand to make a pottery ware or a hand-made lante in Vietnam villages, for example.  This reduces the embodied energy (energy consumed through production and transport) and supports the local economy and keeps their traditional crafts alive.

  1. Use local services

Another great way that you can help is to support local by eating and drinking local brands, looking for locally owned restaurants and hotels, utilizing the knowledge of local tour guides, or buying supplies from local operators… These mean your money goes right back into helping the country that you’re visiting.

  1. Support local communities

Be wary of giving money or gifts to people on the streets, this includes beggars or children. Instead, support the community through a reputable local organization. Supporting organizations that in turn support vulnerable communities such as educational programs is often a more constructive approach to helping those in need.

We believe that the best education comes from travel; it broadens the mind and enriches our lives. It is then up to us to protect these places we set out to explore. Even the smallest changes to your itinerary can transform how it impacts local communities, wildlife and the environment. We invite you to explore your world with vigor and compassion, respect and wonder, and to fully understand how good it feels to be responsible in your travels and adventures. Building a culture of sustainability will however, take time and you, the traveller or the Tourist Guide, can become part of the solution.


* adapted from


The resources in this section include tips, techniques, exercises, games, and other activities that give the opportunity to learn more about effective communication, help guide interactions with others, and improve communication and social skills. All the activities have a common goal: they will help anybody become a better, more effective, and more positive communicator. The selected activities take into consideration the tourism sector. The following activities also develop or enhance Respect skills.

Title: Building Blocks

Nº of participants: Four or more people

Objectives: Build descriptive and instructional skills, as well as teamwork.


Blocks or stackable figures

A table


  • Assemble a team of at least four people, and give them two identical sets of building blocks. Assign one person in the team as a director, one as a builder, one as a runner and the remaining members as observers.
  • Stand the director and builder on opposite sides of the room facing away from each other. Have the director build a unique structure from the building blocks and give directions to the runner who will relay them to the builder. The builder will then use the directions to create a structure identical to that of the director within 10 minutes. After each round, discuss the exercise with the team.
  • Task division in teams helps with efficient completion of projects. However, cooperation, effective communication and trust are key prerequisites for it. Building Blocks helps foster these important parts of teamwork.
  • If you have a larger team, split them into separate teams to see who completes it best. If you have a smaller group, the director can give directions to the builder without a runner.

Title: Get It Together

Nº of participants: Four or more people

Objectives: Build focus and encourages teamwork

Material: Blindfolds, Colored tape, Assortment of small items


  • Divide players into two-person teams and blindfold one member. Use the tape to create a circle in the middle of the room and place various items within it. Based on directions given by their partner, the blindfolded member must retrieve specific items from the circle. The partner giving instructions may not enter the circle.
  • The game becomes complicated and challenging as more and more two-person teams join the fray. When it becomes virtually impossible for teams to communicate and navigate, or once all the objects have been retrieved, the game ends.
  • Building focus helps team members concentrate on the person they’re communicating with despite potential distractions. Try switching the roles within each team after every round so the members can learn more about their own and other’s behaviour in challenging situations.
  • This game works best in large groups since it increases the game difficulty. The more chaos by the end, the better!

Duration: 30 m / flexible



Role-play[1]: At the Travel Agency

Respect is something that has to be seen and experienced to understand.Young individuals can learn a great deal from serving others. For example, putting the needs of others first is one way to show respect. Participating in a community clean-up project is one way. Secondly, helping out with younger students (reading buddies) is another. Or, volunteering in an elderly centre, for example, to help clean tables or help at meal times is yet a third. All are ways to work as a group to serve others and show respect.

Personal connections: Give the group the opportunity to share about ways in which they show respect every day. What does it mean to treat other people with respect? Have the group brainstorm a list of do’s and don’ts for treating people with respect. Ask for specific examples of each behaviour they identify. Hang the list up on the wall as a reminder.

Have the group identify as many differences as they can among their members. This should include national, racial, and cultural differences, as well as different talents, disabilities, etc. How do they feel about all this diversity?

Objective(s): to understand the meaning of respecting others in a working context

Scenario: Travel Agency

Number of participating Trainees – How should Teams be formed?  Groups of two and the same number of individuals as the number of pairs.

“Roles” and how will they be allocated: Divide the group of learners in two. Tell the first group they have to work in pairs and they are Tour guides working for a travel agency organizing tours all over the country. Inform them that the other group of learners are new employees whom they have to integrate in their activities so that they learn faster the business process and procedures. Instruct them that in each pair, one of them wants to integrate a new employee in the group and the other doesn’t want to include this person because he/she is different in some way (different race, a “nerd,” from a foreign country, etc.).

Trainer/Facilitator’s tasks, before, during and after the Activity: takes notes for later discussion and writes the conclusions.

Duration of the Activity: 30 m

How are participants expected to present the Activity’s results after its completion? After the role play have a group discussion. Then, have two others do another role play changing what it is that’s different about the new guy (for instance, he or she is HIV positive). Repeat this process changing the difference each time.




For the Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills, which the series of sessions you are going to participate aims to upgrade and for which specific Learning Objectives have been set, HOW would you rate your existing knowledge?

 My knowledge is practically non-existing



I know very little

I consider my knowledge to be moderateI consider my knowledge to be rather adequateI claim to have a very good knowledge
I understand the meaning of ‘Respect’ in tourism context     
I can give examples of how to show respect to others in the tourism context     
I Understand why it is important to show Respect in the tourism context     


For the Skills’ Group: Social and Communication Skills, which the series of sessions that you have attended aimed to upgrade and for which specific Learning Objectives had been set, HOW do you now rate your knowledge?

 My knowledge is practically non-existing



I know very little

I consider my knowledge to be moderateI consider my knowledge to be rather adequateI claim to have a very good knowledge
I understand the meaning of ‘Respect’ in tourism context     
I can give examples of how to show respect to others in the tourism context     
I Understand why it is important to show Respect in the tourism context     


Having attended training sessions aiming at helping you upgrade your RESPECT SKILL, how do you rate the various elements of your training?

 Very Poor



AcceptableVery satisfactoryExcellent
Training Material
·         Training Handouts distributed     
·         Multimedia presented     
·         Other resources suggested     
Training Methods Used
·         Face-to-Face lectures     
·         Group Activities & Discussions     
·         Customised Learning Platform     
Trainers involved
·         Knowledge of the subject     
·         Level of preparedness     
·         Effectiveness in knowledge transfer