December 14, 2018 - Issue 18-49

Good afternoon  ,

Shaking hands - for those of us with a few or more years in the business world and in "traditional" social encounters, it seems pretty much second nature, doesn't it?!

Many younger text-punching people struggle with and even  are  intimidated by shaking hands. Employing social skills in the work place and elsewhere seems to be a dying art just when it's needed most. Here, Kate King takes up this topic.

Growing up, a long time ago, I remember my father coaching me on how to shake hands. He showed me how to do it in a way that cemented a connection between my hand-shaking partner and me. Other  skills like speaking directly, smiling, making eye contact, etc. were also on his agenda.

Apparently, many parents and schools aren't imparting this to their kids these days. 

There are a few private high schools and colleges who offer to help students understand and practice the dynamics of personal face-to-face interaction. 

Some may require attendance in these programs.  It's that important! How does it leave you feeling if someone offers a limp hand to shake? Or doesn't make eye contact during the shake?

In this article, Kate describes what companies  like Subaru and Bank of America are doing about this. T oday's world requires a whole different skill set from that of a few years ago. Many traditional chores are handled by automation. 

More and more, people are there to interact with...people, and do it in a caring, customer-friendly way. According to David Deming, whom Kate quotes, the portion of the workforce in such jobs has increased by 12 percentage points in a bit over 30 years. 

The rate of that change is almost certainly increasing.  Filing, entering data, depositing checks, etc. no longer need  human intervention, once the systems are in place.

Even telephone etiquette suffers as electronic communication becomes more prevalent. Skills such as listening intently, smiling on the phone, and other such niceties need to be practiced and honed.

Electronic text-based communication has its place. We just need to understand that such exchanges are data transfers, not conversations

In my view, and apparently in Kate's, conversations ought to be part of human interaction.

John Stevens

P. S.  For other thoughts on electronic media's impact on communication, you may want to check  this  out.


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About John

Throughout a career spanning over 45 years my management style has been one of building teams to bring several competent people together to focus on a common objective. I noted early in my career that, in most organizations, there is an enormous amount of time, energy, and effort wasted by people working at cross purposes.

As I transition to life in the Argentine outback, my focus shifts from coaching to helping other business coaches and advisers get their message out to their prospective clients. With my first-hand knowledge of the benefits of effective business coaching, I am uniquely qualified to help business advisers of all stripes convey their message.

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John B. Stevens, Freelance Copywriter

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