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home : features : features May 23, 2016

10/29/2013 10:54:00 AM
People skills workshop Nov. 6 in Flagstaff
Clifford Fewel will put on his “Vital Skills” workshop Nov. 6 at the Flagstaff Aquaplex community room. Katherine Locke/NHO
Clifford Fewel will put on his “Vital Skills” workshop Nov. 6 at the Flagstaff Aquaplex community room. Katherine Locke/NHO
Katherine Locke

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - Clifford Fewel will present what he calls a "Vital Skills" workshop designed to help adults succeed in getting a job or anyone starting a new career on Nov. 6 at the Flagstaff Aquaplex Community room.

Fewel said the skills that can help you in your career or in getting a job are sometimes those that were learned at home. But, in an increasingly busy society, where parents work and teachers are overloaded, some people may not have learned those skills.

"I'm aware of manners and then I notice that people don't practice them as much, especially the arriving generation," Fewel said. "I think it is terribly important that we treat each other well and that we have a way of presenting ourselves that presents our best possible self."

Sometimes, he explains, it can be as simple as a firm handshake while making eye contact, something he practiced in a maximum security prison and a minimum custody yard where he worked as a correctional guard. The respect Fewel offered to inmates and the respect he received as a result of his actions gave him the idea for the workshop.

"I've seen with the quote unquote 'dregs of society,' I've seen the ability to respond positively to good manners. It certainly can be taught," Fewel said.

Getting a job in a highly competitive job market means standing out from the crowd, Fewel said.

"There are ways to do it that are never even spoken of but they are just noticed and appreciated and they are assimilated by the person who has something that you want," he said.

A handshake. Looking someone in the eye. The ability to make small talk while waiting for your meeting to begin. These are all essential skills that Fewel said potential employers notice just as they notice the lack of those basic skills.

"They won't ever say, 'hey, I really appreciated the way you shook hands' or 'I really appreciated the eye contact,' but they will sure notice if you don't," Fewel said.

A recent job fair at Twin Arrows also brought home the need for the workshop. One of the woman who was in charge of the logistics for setting up the job fair said to Fewel that they had 1,000 applicants show up but most came unprepared.

"If they came unprepared, it's because they don't know," he said.

Fewel wants to make learning "people" skills easy.

"My thought was why not bring it out, bring it to them in places like a community center, make it really accessible and just share some common things that a certain level of people who are in the working world who are decision makers, who hold a certain power, maybe it is the hiring manager, maybe it's your parole officer, maybe it's your teacher, or your kid's teacher....if you're aware what their world is like and you're able to put yourself in their chair then you stand a better chance of making an impression," Fewel said.

While Fewel acknowledges cultural challenges in shaking someone's hand firmly or meeting someone's eyes, he also said that learning to adapt to another culture, especially when something is needed from a person of that culture, is essential.

"You need to meet people on their terms," Fewel said. "Why? Because it is in your self-interest to do so."

Fewel said people can expect a fun-filled interactive and informative two-hour workshop. In addition to training on shaking hands there will be instruction on taking and leaving phone messages that will get you remembered and much more.

"That's so critical," Fewel said. "The portion of that workshop is called 'managing your own brand' that you're remembered for all the right reasons."

The workshop is $5 on Nov. 6 from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at the Flagstaff Aqualplex Community room, 1702 N. Fourth St. Anyone is welcome to attend by reserving a space or by just showing up.

More information about the workshop is available from Fewel at (928) 814-2442.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2013
Article comment by: Clifford Fewel

Thank you for such a well-written story, Katy Locke. I wish to point out to readers that the $5 admission fee is also good to bring a friend a two-for-one deal. Thanks, and I hope to meet many new people next Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. at the Aquaplex Community Room.

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