Travel Into Deeper Connections

About the Author
Zoe Lemme is a Success Consultant and Trainer at Great Kids. Zoe has been a Growing Great Kids supporter for over 20 years, beginning her love for the curriculum at a Healthy Families Arizona program in Tucson, Arizona. In the heat of an Arizona summer, Zoe loves all things inside, reading, going to the movies, having meals with her family, and when she can wrangle them, hanging out with her three adult children.

My trip of a lifetime was in a small town on the coast of Croatia that was once a part of the Venetian trade route. It has a beautiful coast for summer visitors and ancient buildings for tourists.

The city of Split was where I spent my 50th birthday with a group of friends. We had a tour guide to take our group through Diocletian’s Palace. Tour guides in Europe often have to be trained and licensed. They must prove their knowledge, and they have to be certified.

But as I learned through my travels that week, knowledge isn’t everything.

Split was the only stop where my entire group wanted to stay with the guide instead of going off to explore at the end of the tour. What made it stand out? Looking back, I can sift through the experience and identify it was the skills our guide had to bring us into the story of the city and communicate the interesting facts in a way that kept us interested.

They were engaging and knowledgeable and used a variety of communication and relationship skills.

  • They shared personal stories that were relevant to the location,
  • talked about challenging subjects in a way that was inclusive,
  • gave multiple perspectives,
  • partnered with us for a shared experience,
  • created space for conversation,
  • and followed our lead by moving on when we weren’t as interested and lingering when we were excited.

From a tour guide’s perspective, employing these effective communication and engagement skills equals good reviews, more tours, and better tips.

This made me think about the importance of communication and relationship-building in my job and how to enhance my skills. I imagine the benefits of employing these skills in any job would produce positive outcomes. Effective communication skills build relationships in which people return because they felt the same way I did that day, valued, connected, wanting more, and most importantly, with memories I treasure. As I continue to grow my own skills, I hope the people I connect with feel like I did that day.

How would enhanced communication and relationship-building skills change your interactions with each other, partners, clients, and customers?

To help people become better communicators and develop deeper connections Great Kids has created a NEW training opportunity – ENGAGE. The even better news is that anyone can take this course, not just home visitors or GGK curriculum users. To see if ENGAGE is a fit for you or your program, visit


1. Adler, R. B., Rodman, G., & du Pré, A. (2020). Understanding human communication (14th ed.). Oxford University Press. 

2. Brown, B. (2021). Atlas of the heart: Mapping meaningful connections and the language of the human experience. Harper Collins Publishers.

3. Korfmacher, J., Duggan, A., O’Neill, K., Filene, J., Sparr, M., Frese, M., & Sexton, E. (2019). Promoting effective communication to broaden and strengthen the effectiveness of early home visiting [Abstract]. APHA 2019 Annual Meeting and Expo. https://apha. Paper/442850

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