I get to work with a lot of young people, and it makes my days much more enjoyable. Between my office and working as a volunteer at the local high school and as an usher at my church, I am exposed to lots of great kids.
However, one thing that I have noticed that is a real problem is the difficulty they all seem to have with eye contact. If there is any sort of a screen present (computer, tablet, smart phone, laptop, whatever) they almost always prefer to watch the screen rather than to look at me.
While I’m the first to admit that I’m not much to look at, I don’t think that these young people realize the potential cost of failing to look at the person who is speaking to them. If I have a promotion or pay raise, a better assignment, or a little bit of useful knowledge to pass along, they are much less likely to get their hands on it if they can’t look me in the eye.
Regardless of how much time they spend in some sort of virtual world, the young person who takes the time to understand the power of looking at someone when they are speaking to them has a very useful skill and, potentially, a strong competitive advantage.