I just read a great new book, out in September, by a friend, Daylle Deanna Schwartz, called “Effortless Entrepreneur” that distills the wisdom of two college friends, Nick Friedman and Omar Soliman, who founded College Hunks Hauling Junk.
What struck me most was their management advice — that when you hire and manage people under 25, maybe younger, you have to gently coax them (!) into actually talking face to face to real people, i.e. clients and customers, which also involves (!) looking them in the eye, shaking their hand, listening and showing that you have heard them.
What a concept!
These two business owners learned the hard way they have to consciously and carefully train their young employees how to interact well and courteously face to face and by telephone using their voice with others, who are likely somewhat older and expect what they consider civility.
Sounds really basic to me but apparently not so much because so many young people (love that phrase!) now only communicate through texting. Not speaking by phone (LOL) or even face to face (ROFL.)
Sht Me. Srsly. (Fill in that first word as you see fit.)
Whatever tribal customs work well in high school or college, it must come as a terrible shock when not everyone communicates in the same fashion.
Some of us geezers actually enjoy face to face conversation instead of living attached to a piece of technology. So, entering the workforce, which often shows all the flexibility and willingness to accommodate your very own personal needs as, say, an I-beam, will also mean picking up some new, even uncomfortable social skills as well.
I got stood up last week by someone younger than 25. They did not telephone me, eschewing both cell and land-line. Nor did they email. They said they sent a message on Facebook, (I do not own a Blackberry), but there is none there to be seen. I drove an hour each way to meet this person, ate alone, then drove home, really annoyed.
No phone call? No email? I only found out this person wasn’t dead by emailing (after I made several calls and FB messages.)
The problem with Facebook? If you decide to blow someone off and are chatting away on FB shortly before and after, we know you aren’t bleeding arterially or lying anesthetized on an OR table. In geezerworld, those are the only two reasons I wouldn’t show up, or expect someone else to, possibly without letting the other person know you’re severely ill or injured.
When I asked some people older than 25, they said they’d experienced similar behaviors.
Have you done this? Or experienced this — a total mismatch of communication styles? How (if at all did you resolve it?)
Maybe this works really well for the younger set, but if or when they try to work with or be-friend others even a decade or so older than they, they need to remember that we don’t all communicate using the same tools anymore.
I’m thinking passenger pigeons myself…