Service of Sayings

May 22nd, 2016

Categories: Awards, Hope

 

Ernie Anastos and Kathie Lee Gifford

Ernie Anastos and Kathie Lee Gifford

Hardly a month goes by without at least one email filled with beaux mots or insightful sayings. I enjoy most and wish that I could create some worth repeating.

I heard a few last Thursday spoken by presenters and winners at the 67th annual Christopher Awards.  I’ve written here about different aspects of the awards over the years. I’ve been lucky to help promote them. The awards are presented to authors and illustrators as well as film, TV and Cable writers, producers and directors whose work “affirms the highest values of the human spirit.” The Christophers, rooted in the Judeo-Christian tradition of service to God and humanity, is guided by the ancient Chinese proverb—“It’s better to light one candle than to curse the darkness” which explains the gracious, uplifting atmosphere at the Awards.

Back to the sayings. One was “a tsunami in cultural change,” a powerful collection of words to describe the climate in which the series “When Calls the Heart,” [Sunday night on the Hallmark Channel], has nevertheless been successful—renewed for the fourth year and a winner of the Christopher Spirit Award. In the midst of the storm of self-centeredness, finger-pointing and negativity in much of society, this show, for family members to enjoy together, tells “universal stories with themes like forgiveness, redemption, sacrifice, courage, and banding together to help one another,” said Brian Bird, executive producer who also spoke the words above. “The characters on our show reflect those virtues and hopefully make a lasting impression on our viewers.”

As a presenter Kathie Lee Gifford, Today Show co-host, referred to “Bringing shalom to chaos.” In referencing “shalom,” she said she meant the word in its original definition–a sense of well-being and harmony–not the now familiar greeting.

 

Joseph Kim, author, "Under the Same Sky"

Joseph Kim, author, “Under the Same Sky”

Many of the stories told by winners do just this. One example is the story of Bard student and author Joseph Kim [photo right]. Today he looks and sounds like most college students, focusing, for instance, on how he’ll cover next semester’s tuition and board. But in his book, “Under the Same Sky,” you learn that his road to college was far from routine. Kim documented his journey from starvation and homelessness–his mother and sister escaped to China leaving him behind in North Korea. His new life here was made possible by activists and Christian missionaries. He hopes, some day, to find his sister–hence the book’s title.

In his book for children six years old and up, “Poet: The Remarkable Story of George Moses Horton,” Don Tate writes about a slave who taught himself to read and became the first southern African American man to be published. Tate’s goal was to present the topic of slavery as more than just an uncomfortable word and to demonstrate the poet’s relevance in children’s lives today. Too many kids graduate from high school functionally illiterate. Tate’s publisher, Margaret Quinlin, [photo below], Peachtree Publishers, accepted the award for him.

Ernie Anastos, honored with the Christopher Lifetime Achievement Award, quoted a Greek saying that he “had a wish to die young but as late in life as possible.” This remarkable newscaster has been at it nonstop since he worked at a radio station at 16. He shared his frustration when he says, “Good evening,” to his audiences–he’s the news anchor at 6 pm on Fox 5–only to proceed to prove it’s not, which is why he focuses on positive news. He said you are measured not by what you’ve learned but by what you’ve taught.

The Greek saying reminded me of the bravery of the subjects of some of the winning books who, while young, sacrificed self for cause. Two young Jewish women in Meg Wiviott’s book for young adults, “Paper Hearts,” risk death in Auschwitz by creating a forbidden birthday card. U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Travis Mills lost all his limbs in an IED explosion in Afghanistan. He fought through painful rehabilitation and today lives a full life as husband, father and veterans advocate. His story is in the book “Tough As They Come.”

Can you name other initiatives that emphasize the positive? Do you have favorite sayings?

Jim Wiviott, author Meg Wiviott and publisher Margaret Quinlan, Peachtree Publishers

Jim Wiviott, author Meg Wiviott and publisher Margaret Quinlan, Peachtree Publishers

 

Service of Learning from Costly Medical Mistakes

May 19th, 2016

Categories: Common Sense, Medical Care, Medical Malpractice

Whoops

Umpteen articles and op-eds have been written about malpractice lawsuits. I found Laura Landro’s Wall Street Journal piece heartening as she described how doctors are using the information to improve care.

This approach is clearly a benefit to physicians to alleviate the number of distracting and time-consuming lawsuits made against them but as a patient, I was glad that someone is learning from the mistakes to prevent future instances. I also hope this initiative is nothing new.

MalpracticeIn “Mining Malpractice Data to Make Health Care Safer,” Landro reports on a 2013 study that doctors spend “11 percent of a 40 year career with an unresolved, open malpractice case.” Scarier is the statistic that “250,000 deaths a year are due to medical error.” This, according to Landro, came from a recent article in BMJ that noted findings by Johns Hopkins researchers. Commonly the causes are misdiagnosis or “poor technique in a procedure.”

Landro broke out what doctors in a few specialties have learned:

  • Usually overweight mothers matched with larger babies can cause shoulder injuries to infants if they get stuck inside the mother. By identifying those who might be at risk for this set of circumstances, a hospital and doctor can address the option of a C-section early.
  • In the ER, one doctor noticed that “failure to explore a wound that was infected or contained foreign bodies was a key factor in many cases.” Now a doctor in that hospital must check a wound after a nurse or PA attends to it and before it’s sewn up. They noticed that this, alone, didn’t do the trick because sometimes they miss, say, a stingray barb. Therefore patients must be instructed to return to the hospital if they don’t feel well.
  • In cardiology, blood thinners cause problems because “patients haven’t been properly educated about the risks and didn’t understand follow up instructions.” And when more than one doctor is involved, each may think that the other one has taken care of communicating this information. The solution was to ensure all patients on blood thinners are “‘set up with effective management,’” wrote Landro, quoting Dr. Sandeep Mangalmurti, a cardiologist.knee PT
  • Follow up is also crucial in knee and hip replacement cases where patients don’t “adhere to a treatment plan or keep follow-up appointments.” A third of cases involved injury as a result. One doctor and his group use a mobile app to send reminders to patients about making appointments and follow-up procedures.

By the end of the article we read that improved communications between doctors and patients is paramount. To that I must add a loud “duh.” Isn’t this a tall order in a system in which patients see a doctor for minutes a visit and often a different doctor each time?

  • Doctor checkup reminderDoesn’t a lot of what the doctors found went wrong repeatedly seem like what common sense should have prevented?
  • Would you be less likely to start a medical malpractice suit if you felt the physician and his/her team had done everything possible to care for you or a loved one?
  • Have you ever felt that a health care professional treated you or a loved one indifferently—that you were lucky nothing tragic happened as a result?
  • Have you heard of initiatives that take advantage of such date, like these?

Doctor communicating

Service of Wardrobe and Grooming: Planning Ahead for Women and Men

May 16th, 2016

Categories: Fashion, Planning Ahead, Politicians, Politics

Jane sanders

Last week I sent a note to winners attending the Christopher Awards this Thursday to ask them to look for me because I’d like to include them in a group photo that I’ll send media after the event.

It’s always a scramble to gather a good number of people by category–in this case authors of winning books–during the cocktail hour. I like as many as possible to share in the publicity opportunity. It’s awkward and disrespectful to tuck into a group of people happily talking, stare at a name on a badge, and turn away from someone because they aren’t the person you’re looking for so this year I also made myself a sheet with their publicity photos.

To help me find them, two of the women wrote back immediately describing the dress they were going toSarah palin wear—one bright pink; the other a green floral. Both my collaborator on the project, David Reich, and my husband laughed in wonderment that they knew so far in advance what they were going to wear. A third woman, after asking about the dress code, reported she’d wear a long skirt and dressy top.

I related to them: For one thing, I need to determine if what I plan to wear needs to be ironed by me or a dry cleaner. My hair stylist doesn’t work on Thursdays and no matter what I wear, if I’m not happy with how my hair looks, I could be in vintage Chanel and I wouldn’t be happy. However, the wonderful stylist, who understands these things, said she’d come in on Thursday for me.

And I’m wallpaper at this event.

Think of what it must be like for a woman running for office—or the spouse of a man who stands on countless stages in line of the camera’s eye. Men have a big advantage. They only need to decide on necktie color—blue or red—and to be sure the tie has no mayo stain.

Elizabeth warrenEverything about a woman is under scrutiny. You’ve never seen one wear the same favorite day after day, photo after photo. On the contrary, most on the national stage don’t wear the same jacket twice. Bad hair days are out. And makeup? Maybe D. Trump is concerned about the latter two but both are essential for women.

How far ahead do you plan your wardrobe for a special occasion as a guest at a wedding, graduation, baptism, or naming or as part of the team at a product launch, awards, client or fundraising event? Do you agree that most women have this disadvantage?

Hillary clinton

 

Service of Bad Business Behavior

May 12th, 2016

Categories: Bad behavior, Paying Attention, Speaking

Bad business behavior

I might have been at a rowdy sports event the other evening instead of at the opening of an elegant Manhattan showroom. The lack of respect to the gracious hosts, when they wanted to address their guests, was cringe-inducing.

It started well. The space was expertly designed to enhance a handsome line of hard goods. To celebrate, wine and champagne flowed; wait staff passed hors d’oeuvres made on the spot by a master chef; charming floral bouquets punctuated the room and on entering you could feel the energy and enthusiasm of the crowd. The event was clearly a great success. In addition to the overflow attendance, some guests even looked at the products [instead of at each other]. 

public speakingThe company is foreign-owned. After they were introduced by an American executive, two marketing people from headquarters welcomed guests and the chairman declared the showroom officially open. I was embarrassed by the way this NY audience behaved. After less than two minutes, the cacophony was such that most couldn’t hear. Guests could have been at a beach picnic talking loud enough to be heard over the roar of an angry ocean. In spite of the brave faces of the speakers, this experience must have been a nightmare. What a welcome to Manhattan.

I think guests owe it to a host, at a business function, to listen to the commercial. They might even learn something! There was a large hallway by the elevator with plenty of room for those who were bursting to talk and didn’t want to disturb the other guests. Not a soul took advantage of it.

constant textingI empathize with the hosts. I have produced many events like this for my clients so maybe I am too close to the subject and have unrealistic expectations.

Perhaps the terminally chatty never plan on having to address a similar horde? Maybe they spoke with abandon because they were shell-shocked to see other people as they’ve been hiding behind their texting devices for too long? I can’t offer a reasonable explanation for this behavior. Can you? Is it the exception or the rule?

Shhhh 3

Service of More Born Every Minute

May 9th, 2016

Categories: E-Commerce, Mobile Wallets, Moving, Online Security, Politics, Scams, Toys

Suckers

Sorry to have to share more scams for suckers but it’s important to get out the word.

Moving right along

Did you hear about the Douglas County, Georgia family that hired a moving company through Craigslist and with the exception of one box, lost all their worldly goods?

Moving van plainThe movers had stolen the U-Haul truck [that the vehicle didn’t have the name of a mover painted on the side would have given me immediate pause]. According to Richard Elliot of WSB TV, after loading the truck the movers “appeared to be heading to the family’s new home in another county. But along the way, the homeowner said, the movers ditched her and vanished.” Estimated loss: $75,000. The box was recovered on a sidewalk by Cobb police two days later.

The homeowner was grateful. She’d said “If I don’t get anything back, I want that box, because it has all of our social security, birth certificates in it. It has death records from my mom and son,” she said, as well as the family Bible. The iPads and phones were missing from the box.

The naïveté of the customers made me sad: Most would have kept small electronic items and personal papers with them or stored them with friends. No wonder they were easy marks. I have to give it to the movers: They cleared the house in four hours. That’s lightening fast. Given my recent experiences in moving, I’d guess they didn’t pack or protect much; they must have tossed the furniture and other belongings in the truck.

Vote by hanging up

Telephone town hallHave you been invited to attend a town hall meeting on the phone with a political candidate? Take care warned Catherine Fredmen on www.Consumerreports.org where she shared intel from David Dewey, director of research at Pindrop Security, a firm that sells anti-fraud detection technology to call centers and others.

If you’re enticed by scammers that take advantage of the season and you give your credit card number to donate to your favorite pol, “Not only have you handed over money to an unknown entity, you have opened the door to identity theft.” She advises if the call is unsolicited, don’t play ball.

Not playing around

V TechWrote Fredmen, “Scammers are after more than your credit card number. Instead, they glean personal information to build detailed profiles that can be used for sophisticated forms of identity theft that may not be immediately obvious.” Her example is VTech, a toymaker. She continued: “For example, scammers could exploit the VTech data breach, which compromised the profiles of 6.4 million kids around the world, to hack identities for years. Because kids have no credit history and their parents generally don’t check their credit reports regularly, the theft might not be noticed until the kids grow up and apply for a credit card or financial aid for college.”

Mobile wallets on the move

“Dewey put the security of mobile wallets to a little test,” such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, Samsung Pay, Android Pay and PayPal, added Fredmen.  “First, he secretly copied credit card numbers and expiration dates from a few colleagues at Pindrop. A little Google investigating revealed the answers to ‘secure’ identification questions (such as a colleague’s mother’s maiden name) needed to activate the colleague’s card under Dewey’s mobile wallet account. Within minutes, Dewey had strolled over to Whole Foods and bought lunch for the office—paid for by his unwitting colleague. (The colleague was reimbursed.)”

Are you familiar with these scams or potential breaches? Know of others?

Android pay

 

 

 

Service of How Much Will You Do to Win a Prize?

May 5th, 2016

Categories: Coupons, Games, Prizes, Promotions, Surveys

winning raffle ticket

It’s fun to win a prize which is why raffles are so popular, lucrative for charities and an easy way to gather business cards at events, at retail, restaurants and other businesses. It’s one thing to pull out a card from wallet or handbag and another to work for the prize. The question is, how hard will you try?

Coupon

coupon 4A friend hoped to receive a $75 coupon from a major retailer. First she posted something about the brand and the offer on Facebook; next she sent it to 15 friends and after doing that, learned she had to share it with groups. She wrote, “That’s when I gave up.”

Survey

After a major or minor purchase I’m willing to fill out a survey and several times have stopped after only a few questions, even if there’s promise of a major prize for one of the respondents. I’m happy to share my impressions of a product or service, and to provide additional comments to flesh out why I clicked 10 or one to indicate “great” or “lousy.” SurveyHere’s my limit: I don’t want my personal information flying around the Internet any more than it already does, nor do I want to land in that brand’s metadata pool to receive every advert popup it deems perfect for me. Ask me my income, age, weight and lock me on that question so I can’t move to the next one if I don’t respond, and you’ve lost me.

Game

A grocery store I go to on occasional Saturdays was conducting a Monopoly game. You’d be given tiny pieces to stick on the game board depending on how much you bought. It was easy to match the pieces to the board while watching TV. I never came close to winning any of the many prizes as most of the new pieces duplicated ones I already had. I never bought anything I didn’t need in order to get more pieces so the store and I came out even: neither won. The game–the first I remember playing–was over this week.

Have you received generous coupons for completing tasks or won any of the prizes online surveys tempt you with, or stopped when you didn’t like the personal information survey takers asked for or won a grocery store game? How much will you do to win a prize or do you never bother? Do you think survey takers care less about how you rate their products and really want to know more about their customers?

Acme winning Monopoly game board

Service of Enough Already: When [Too Many] Things Keep Going Wrong

May 2nd, 2016

Categories: Attitude, Bad Luck, Luck

bad luck black cat

I was once pick pocketed at a personal low point and I’m sure it happened because I was both distracted and nervous, therefore a great target for a talented person. I was having more than a bad day or week—it was more like a bad year–but, as a good and sage friend often says calmly, regardless of the calamity, “this, too, shall pass.” And, indeed, it did.

There are ways to help things along according to Sue Shellenbarger in her Wall Street Journal article, “Having a Bad Week? Tricks for Turning It Around.” She wrote: “You can’t fend off all bad luck, but if you change your reaction, it can have a very powerful effect.”

Good luck four leaf cloverShe noted: “Mishaps make people feel anxious and uncertain, and often lead them to look for patterns as a way to regain a sense of control, according to a 2008 study by researchers at the University of Texas at Austin and Northwestern University.

“At these moments, it is worth remembering that misfortune is often a random event. There is always a probability that several bad things will happen at once, says Jane. L. Risen, an associate professor of behavioral science at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a researcher on judgment and magical thinking.”

Good luck horseshoeWe all know folks who think that the universe is against them. Others consider themselves lucky no matter what—that things could be worse, so they feel grateful. Richard Wiseman conducted a study years ago that corroborates the usefulness of this approach. An example of how it plays out might be that if a right-handed person breaks a hand they react, “Isn’t it lucky I broke my left hand!”

There’s also the issue of the jinx. Shellenbarger described a man for whom the roof fell in after his friend observed that his decade old jeep never needed repairs. Not only did it suddenly break down the next week but his credit card was stolen, his computer crashed losing his book manuscript, he sprained his ankle and had an unfortunate first date, but that wasn’t all. To pull himself together he headed for his motorboat and a calming ride but then its steering mechanism locked as he was making a turn with the result that it travelled in circles for ages, in front of an audience on land who thought his predicament hilarious.

“At times we get so rattled by a bit of bad luck that we make things worse,”  Shellenbarger wrote. “A belief that you are unlucky has been linked to deficits in decision-making skills, self-control and shifting from one task to another, according to a 2013 study led by John Maltby, a senior lecturer in psychology at the University of Leicester in England.”

Shellenbarger described a woman who suffered a ridiculous number of catastrophes ending up with a broken wrist so she couldn’t work. “She took comfort in thinking about her network of family members and friends, who would type for her if necessary. She credits her positive attitude as the reason she’s recovering faster than expected. “Another helpful technique is mental time travel, Dr. Risen says. Imagine yourself in the future; think about how, after the misfortune is over, you’ll have a good story to tell.”

Do you knock on wood? It helps, she wrote, because it, like finding a four leaf clover or carrying something that you think brings luck, will inspire positive expectations “as if you’re shielding yourself from bad luck or drawing good fortune your way.”

What techniques do you use to turn around a spate of bad luck? Do you have talismans or routines that break a spell or help give you back your equilibrium?

 knock on wood

 

Service of Retail: A Bellwether of the Economy’s Health, Impact of Shifts in Purchasing Habits or What?

April 28th, 2016

Categories: Economy, Real Estate, Retail, Work

empty store in manhattan

On a recent weekday we walked down First Avenue from 70th to 53rd Street in Manhattan and were alarmed by the number of empty spaces where stores, restaurants, nail salons and other business once thrived in a neighborhood swarming with people.  The worst was an entire block with rental signs in all the street level windows.

The Mt. Kisco Daily Voice reported last week that the Poughkeepsie Kmart branch is one of 78 to close around the country in May. I’ve driven by it a few times a month for years. The times I dropped in I found that the supposed value priced store offered cheap fashion and home fashion with no flair and commodities at far from discount prices which, in part, may account for this news.

On to another retail scene. “Upscale Shopping Centers Nudge Out Down-Market Malls: Some retailers are closing stores in weaker-performing locations to focus on Web sales and more luxury spots,” was a Wall Street Journal headline for Suzanne Kapner’s article. She wrote “Once-solid regional ‘B’ malls that thrived for years are losing shoppers and tenants to the ‘A’ malls—those with sales per square foot in excess of $500, according to Green Street Advisors.

“The research firm estimates that about 44% of total U.S. mall value, which is based on sales, size empty store 2 ave 1and quality among other measures, resides with the top 100 properties, out of about 1,000 malls.” Kapner continued: “Mall owners disagree about whether the Internet is their main problem. They point to demographic changes that redirected population and income growth away from malls built years ago, along with a real estate glut that has left the U.S. with 24 square feet of retail space per person, compared with 15 for Canada, 10 for Australia and 5 for the U.K., according to the International Council of Shopping Centers.”

A few days later, also in The Wall Street Journal, Kapner wrote “Glut Plagues Department Stores,” where she reported that hundreds will close “to regain the productivity they had a decade ago.” Green Street Advisors was again her source. Some 800 are expected to close representing “a fifth of all anchor space in U.S. malls.”

The developers will figure out what to do with these properties and customers will find other places to buy what they need but what about all the employees–how will they make a living?

I wonder if these retail signals representing mom and pop enterprises to major brands reflect shifts in purchasing habits or a canary in the economic coalmine–or both? Politicians and their followers looking for easy answers and quick fixes will blame increased minimum wage laws and the greater cost of health insurance for employees under Obamacare. Others will fault the closings on the massive shift of disposable income from the middle class to the extremely rich, which has occurred over the last 35 years. What do you think?

empty store 2 ave 2

Service of Traditional, Faux and Inadvertent Marketing: Mother’s Day, Gold Toilet & Promposal

April 25th, 2016

Categories: Art, Internet, Marketing, Promotions

MarketingMost marketing promotions are designed to push product, an organization or initiative and are created by those who benefit. Some are dressed up to look like art or charitable generosity but are really to raise the visibility of merchandise, an association, cause or person. And sometimes groups of people support a concept that, as luck would have it, benefits businesses.

Traditional Marketing

I must have had marketing in my veins when, as a kid, I didn’t get why Mother’s Day irritated my Mother's Daymom so much. She thought it was a fabrication to sell cards, candy, flowers and restaurant reservations. As an adult, I’ve helped countless clients to sell their products, services and concepts, which may be why I always appreciated the Mother’s Day ritual. I also love to give gifts and to celebrate occasions. With the exception of Father’s Day, I don’t think many of the offshoots such as secretary’s or boss’s day have done nearly as well.

Marketing in Sheep’s Clothing

Gold Toilet on NYT pageArtist Maurizio Cattelan or his handlers pulled off the second kind of marketing scheme with his sculpture of a gold working toilet that the Guggenheim Museum is installing. You couldn’t miss a giant shot of it on the front page of The New York Times’ “TheArts” section last week that topped serious copy about it. In fact it appeared all over the place. To pragmatist me, it’s ridiculous, has nothing to do with art and everything to do with getting the artist’s name front and center–but I’m clearly out of step.

Inadvertent Sales Windfalls

Nancie Steinberg, whose son Austen is a high school senior, shared info about a Promposal Austen 1phenomenon—promposals–that help sell pizzas, poster board, flowers, cake and more. I’m betting that unlike Mother’s Day, teens came up with this activity and that merchants benefit from it. Does it matter, as long as it’s all in good fun and everyone wins?

Promposals were new to me but not to Caitlin Dewey who wrote about them in The Washington Post in 2014 and tracked the first mention of the word to a Dallas Morning News article in 2001. She followed the movement to its “going mainstream” in 2002-2005. In “A Short History of the ‘promposal’” she defined it as “the eyebrow-raising high-school ritual wherein students go to elaborate, terribly public lengths to ask each other to prom.”

Austen presented his date of choice with a rose bedecked sheet cake decorated with “Will You Go To Prom With Me?” in orange frosting [photos right and below]. His friends videotaped and photographed the moment. She said “yes.”

Dewey wrote of boys in Arizona who laid trails of rose petals from a prospective date’s home to the school and a chap in Idaho who secretly set his girlfriend’s alarm to ring at 3 am with a message “Hope its not too late—will you go to the prom with me?” These and others such as hanging signs from highway overpasses, filling yards with balloons or wearing gorilla suits were all done in 2006, before high school kids had access to Facebook and pre Tumblr. YouTube was the place to be then as now. Dewey reports there are 40,000 promposal videos and 900,000 tagged “prom proposal” or “ask cute.”

What are some of your favorite marketing ideas? Any that annoy, surprise or fall flat?

 

Promposal Austen 2

 

 

 

Service of “Hello” II

April 21st, 2016

Categories: Hello, Phones, Telephone Interviews

Vintage telephone

Phone conversations may be on the wane but you never know when you’ll need to carry on a coherent one. The way things are trending, fewer and fewer Americans will know how to answer a business phone as naturally as locking the front door. It’s to their detriment.

Sue Shellenbarger, in her Wall Street Journal article, “What Children Learned from the Shared Family Phone,” addresses the subject. She wrote, “Nearly half of U.S. households no longer have landlines and instead rely on their cellphones, up from about 27% five years ago, the National Center for Health Statistics says. Among young adults ages 25 through 34, fewer than one-third have landlines. Even at homes with landlines, the phone rings mainly with telemarketers and poll-takers.”

vintage woman on phoneShellenberger quoted one parent describing her kids speaking with her parents: “It drives me bananas when I hear them on the phone saying, ‘Yup, yup, yup.’” [My guess is that many kids did that as long as there have been telephones and calls to grandma.]

The reporter pointed out other benefits of landlines: They work in a blackout and don’t need to be charged. And when you use one to call 911, the emergency operator will know where you are calling from.

Should anyone care about whether kids are taught to answer and speak on the phone? You may be thinking that thanks to technology, companies don’t need a person to do this, so why the fuss? Not everyone wants to depend, for example, on a site like opentable.com, especially if they’ve ever been turned away by a hostess claiming she didn’t have a reservation, as happened to a pal who had invited me to dinner.

When they are older, children might be at a disadvantage if they are interviewed on the phone for a job. A friend’s daughter, who lived on the east coast, just got a great position in the west where she wanted to move. She was invited for an in person interview only after she aced a few telephone calls.

kid on mobile phoneSome jobs involve interviewing others. What if you must cold call to earn a living or if you want to serve on a phone bank to collect funds for a charity or encourage fellow citizens to vote? While customer service jobs in this country are shrinking, there still are companies here that need people to help customers through tech and billing issues. Staff picks up the phone for small companies, from an auto body shop, restaurant, pharmacy or dry cleaner. Do such businesses have budgets for phone training?

Were you taught to answer the phone at your parent’s home at such a young age you don’t even remember when it happened? Do you think phone skills matter? Do employers still assume the ability to answer and speak on the phone is so basic that people arrive with the natural ability? Are there other skills that technology has made obsolete that might still come in handy?

Teen on phone in 1960s

 

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