This is a growing area of concern for me, particularly amongst younger members of society. With the huge explosion of social media, the skills that used to be acquired by meeting and chatting to friends and parents are increasingly being lost. Face to face communication is the way these skills develop; reading the body language and understanding the impact your style is having. We all know about teenagers being a bit lacking in the interpersonal department. That’s normal but they do need to understand how important it is to display the best side of their personality when it comes to interviews for school places, job interviews and promotion situations in the workplace.
In these sessions I will work with them to explore the impact they are having. It’s not about telling them to change. I will simply cause them to think about the impression they are causing in others and ask them to reflect upon the desirability of that impression. My experience is that once awareness is raised in a non confrontational, questioning style, huge dollops of personal awareness kick in and up goes the level of responsibility for change.
I had a very interesting session with a pair of twin boys, eleven years old. Bright, pleasant, intelligent boys who were excellent at sport and up for scholarship at a very good school. Their Mum asked me to do some mock interviews with them and so we spent an afternoon together. I did a bit of preparatory work. First I advised them of the requirements the school had and some examples of good practice. We then did the interviews and both their Mum and I were very surprised at how poorly they sold themselves. Mum had done a fair but of coaching herself and they are usually socially very polite and impressive. We had a look back at our interviews and they both saw the opportunities they had missed to create a really positive impression.
Happily they got the places. Only 10 out of 90 applicants got in. It’s a tough world.
Another example is a plumber’s apprentice who attended my property with his mentor the other day. I’m sure one day he will be a fine plumber but getting a word of conversation out of him was like undoing a very rusty nut. I spoke to his boss who said they knew he was quiet and awkward and hoped he would eventually develop and learn to converse. I hope so too, his career will be very limited unless he does.
If you have someone in the household or company who needs bit of help, I’d be very happy to meet them and see how we get on.