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Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today's Wired World and Parent's Guide for Smile & Succeed for Teens Review by Jodi Galland

Kirt Manecke
Smile the Books
(248) 685-0483
PO Box 145
Milford, MI 48381

Award winning author Kirt Manecke spent nine months working with teens in preparation for writing this social skills book for teenagers. In Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must Know People Skills for Today's Wired World, Manecke provides middle and high school students with the information they need to develop skills to shine at school, a job, or in any social situation.

This 130-page paperback contains helpful guidance for teens to learn, then implement, important social skills to get and keep a job or even to market their own business. Whimsical black line illustrations will appeal to teens while the text guides them through the ins and outs of social and business situations. In chapter one alone, they will learn the top ten people skills. Other chapters cover interviewing, sincere apologies, telephone conversations, handling complaints, and volunteerism.

For many, learning the people skills necessary to navigate through a success-filled life have taken a backseat to technology and the wired world. Smile & Succeed will also help your child know when to put away their phone and what phone usage tells customers about them and about how they feel about them. Manecke also mentions that once a teen says something or puts something up on the world wide web, it's there forever. Many adults struggle with this knowledge. It is a great lesson for teens.

Parent’s Guide for Smile & Succeed for Teens is a complementary 67-page paperback and is a wonderful accompaniment to the teen manual. It aligns nicely with the teen book and offers hints and activities for walking your young adult through the easy steps in their book. Some of the parent-led assignments are creating a resume and cover letter, filling out applications, role playing, and using the phone with a SMILE. It's a pretty good bet, you might learn something from this set as well. A section in the back provides space to take notes on your family's experiences learning and using the skills learned.

Instruction comprises of ten essential skills, such as firm handshakes, body language, and SMILING. As the parent of a child who struggles in these areas, I found many helpful hints and assignments both in the teen book and the parent guide. When the difficult topic of making and maintaining eye contact is discussed, Manecke instructs teens to look at their conversational partner's nose. He also explains why looking directly at a person is important. This may be the single most valuable part of each section. Explaining “how” and “why” helps so much more than telling “what.” Many young adults know at some level what the expectations may be, but the reasoning and the implementation sometimes has never been taught.

Mastery of these skills offers your child a chance to become successful and give them an advantage in his or her future successes. The Smile & Succeed for Teens family of books offer you a chance to spend focused time training and assisting your teen to becoming a confident, kind, and helpful employee, volunteer, and student. I recommend these books to parents of children on the spectrum who need a bit more focused work to learn these interpersonal skills as well as parents of neurotypical teens who just want to prepare them for the business world.

Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today's Wired World $9.95

Parent's Guide for Smile & Succeed for Teens $14.95

Smile & Succeed for Teens is also available in audio book.

Schoolteachers will find The Teaching Guide for Smile & Succeed for Teens a valuable classroom resource.

-Product review by Jodi Galland, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December 2018