Googling "people skills" dredges up some mighty strange stuff. Their sixth highest listing is a blog or column in a publication called AskMen.com, Canadian Edition. I haven’t looked at the American version because this one is so… well… astounding. However, I’m easily won over. If it’s true that 5 million read this stuff, it has to have some value and impact.
If this is what it takes to get men, presumably mostly young men trying to find their way up in organizations, to read some of the 40,000 articles claimed on the site, it can’t be all bad. But you have to read to believe. The article in question on "people skills" is a said to be a re-post. Apparently this is a popular topic. It supposedly responds to a guy who asks how he can stop swearing so much at work. Would anyone really ask that? No matter, it supports developing effective social skills – much to be applauded.
The author suggests in the first couple of paragraphs under the tip "Speak Clearly" that men should wake up and become "eloquent" as a way of getting ahead. Sounds like a fairly big jump. To quote: "He can beautify, amplify and impress his colleagues with his million dollar words and witty comments." Say what, "beautify… his colleagues?" Even allowing for cultural differences in approach and language, that’s an unusual suggestion.
I was also mightily intrigued by the words linked to other articles. "Listen" shows up as a blue link to an article about the need to listen to your significant other – excellent advice, but some of the examples might be called questionable. The same with the article linked for "Emotions." Again, a laudable topic with undoubtedly good intent, but definitely backed up by what you’d say at the very least are ‘unusual’ examples. I’ll leave it to readers to check these out since reporting the contents would not really fit here.
The bottom line? Everyone is and should be concerned about their people skills at some point. If it takes rather odd examples to get through to a certain segment of potential leaders, so be it. It won’t be my market, but I’m glad someone’s making the effort. I just hope they graduate to something a little more focused at some stage.