Friday, July 21, 2017

Pick up the phone Millenials!

Why Millenials don't pick up the phone as much? Why has texting replaced calling?

Millennials, more so than older generations, have mastered the countless capabilities of their smartphones – taking photos and videos, editing those photos and videos, booking flights, setting DVRs, posting to Facebook, snapchatting, tweeting, gaming, and so forth. Unfortunately, what I’ve found during my years in the professional world is that members of my generation, through lack of skill and utilization, overwhelmingly lack proficiency in the most basic function of these devices: holding a phone conversation.


Why Are They So Bad?
The evolution of communication technology over the past couple decades has played a key role in developing this dubious trend. Millennials in the work force have considerably more communication options available during their high school and college years than the older generations once had, creating far less reliance on voice calls while impeding their telephone proficiency as a result. Things were much different for Gen X. Before email went mainstream in the mid to late 90s, phone calls were most often the best mode of instant contact. After email came instant messaging, texting, blogging, social networking and the myriad of options available today.
Older Gen Y and Gen X have an advantage over younger Millennials because at least a portion of our adolescence came before the great exodus from voice calls. I chuckle thinking back to the period of my teenage years, prior to my first cell phone, when I would carry around a master list of phone numbers scribbled on a sheet of notebook paper. That same pocket that lodged my phone list typically carried some loose change in case I needed to use a payphone, of course. If I wanted to get anything done - get a ride home from practice, make plans for the weekend, discuss a homework assignment – I had to pick up the phone. Communication technology now provides young people with several avenues to bypass that once crucial step.

Phone Skills in the Digital Age?
Text communication (social media, text messaging, email) cannot possibly replace the interpersonal value of a voice call, so entry-level employees who are in any way timid on the phone need to prioritize improving that skill. They often bring many advantages to a team: new ideas and perspectives, social media prowess, and an ability to quickly adapt to new technology. The problem is, for any client-facing employee, that those positives can be easily negated by an inability or unwillingness to effectively communicate over the phone.
In the early stages of building my financial PR agency, Flackable, I hired a young freelancer who was recommended to me for a small project. We started with a quick (and less than impressive) call to go over the project, and that conversation ended up being the only time we spoke over the phone. I sent a request for a quick chat to discuss her progress, and in return I got a lengthy email update. She sent me a text message with a rather detailed question, and I replied, “Call me. I’ll explain.” Instead of a call (because that would make too much sense) I received a series of excuses as to why this person could not talk. What should have been a simple project ended up chewing up too much of my time, largely because of this young person’s phone inhibitions. The final product was actually very impressive, but there is no chance that she’ll ever get my business again – at least until she learns to pick up the phone.


My generation as a whole has no choice but to improve their phone skills in order to be competitive in the professional realm, but it’s hard to say when trend will develop. Don’t get me wrong; I’ve talked to many impressive young professionals who are masters on the phone, particularly those in media and communications fields. On the other hand, many still lack the confidence and skill of rapport over the phone.
Phone skills, like any skill, can be developed over time with training and repetition. Millennials shouldn’t count on employers to provide that training, as most managers will expect any educated hire to already possess a basic ability to conduct business over the phone. Young people need to build these skills on their own. Avoidance is the worst thing they can do. Instead, they should go out of their way to use the telephone until they start building comfort and confidence.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

May holidays & the biggest beach in Europe

The weather is finally getting better in Paris. Spring is almost over and leaving way to another summer in Europe! Finding time to enjoy the good weather is not so hard either. In France we can't complain about having too little public holidays and being able to take some time off.

The month of May is the winner, having the most long weekends. Many locals take vacations and enjoy the weather which at this stage at this point is not too hot like summer and not too cold like early spring. Many opt to fly to new destinations like I've done when I went to Asia a few years ago.

 Because of all those weekends, many people do what is known here as < FAIRE LE PONT > It means “to make the bridge” maening prolonging a weekend. For example if the public holiday is on a Thursday, then you “make the bridge”. That is what is happening this week for me.

I am off of work Thursday and Friday so Wednesday night we are headed to La Baule in Loire Atlantique (North West of France) to enjoy some time out of the city and take in some fresh air and relaxation.

Did you know that the biggest beach in Europe is located in La Baule? I just learned this.
Pretty cool!

Here is a list of May holidays:

May1st  :Fête du Travail / Labor Day aka Fête du Muguet  (lily of the valley)
The flowers are picked and people give them to their loved ones. They smell so like spring but only last a day or two before they dry up. 

May 8th  :La Fête de la Victoire /  Victory Day
Conmemoration of the end of World War II.The French President always makes a ceremony watched by many on TV. Very emotive.

May 14th :Ascension
Catholic Holiday.

May 25th :Lundi de Pentecôte /Pentecost Monday
Catholic holiday. This holiday was eliminated and once again reinstated after France had a big heatwave where many elders died.

I have been working hard on so many projects including selling and buying a car, finishing off at work before a big pause I'll take, moving to a newly constructed apartment and working on all it's planning and logistics, dealing with new family plans, etc. I am looking forward to this long weekend and <faire le pont>.

Happy end of May everyone!

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Why food tastes different while flying


When we fly, we must refuel. Hydrating and eating are important, specially on long haul flights. That little pleasure makes the trip a bit more fun. May it be a warm panini or a bag of chips with a glass of wine all goes.

I've had my share of bad airplane food but when they surprise you with something, it is quite a highlight for me. I still remember that flight to Singapore and they served the best sandwich I've had so far while flying.
Food is an experience for all our senses specially a treat for our tastebuds when we are 35,000 feet on the air. Anything we take a bite into will take a little bit more of effort in onrder to taste it and smell it. The spicy, the salty, the sweet and the bitter take a different role.This is in fact because our senses are affected by the altitude and the cabin pressure on the air.
Foods are selected more strong, more intense because our tastes buds get affected while flying and need to be pushed a bit further in order to taste correctly.

 Mix altitude with a lack of humidity, and your senses are all a bit messed up!

Now I know why my Baily's on the rocks didn't taste like the usual!

As a result of the altitude and the dry air, our taste buds start reacting in almost the same way they do when we may be getting a cold. While we can still sense sour, bitter and spicy, Hurray for strong bloody mary's! Our ability to detect sweet and salty flavors descends by almost 30 percent !
Who knew why those crispy little pretzels were so good when I eat them on the plane! So salty!
So even if you are not a fan of very salty chips and you crave them on the plane, now you know why.

Safe travels and cheers!