February 2006 Newsletter
Audrey Nelson Ph.D, Inc

Smart Talk

Reach Out and Touch Someone:
Think Twice!

...Touching in the workplace is a “touchy” subject. Every person has his or her own rules for touching. It usually revolves around their relationship with the other person and personal preference and comfort level. And we know some workplaces have a culture where people are greeted by hugs and touching is a norm.
...But what if a person doesn’t want to be hugged or touched? How about a manager who abuses their power by touching employees? Touch is usually a variable that is acted out from the top down; that is, a manager may feel they have the license to touch employees because of their “title” and position. An employee will think twice about initiating touch with a manager.
...It is also important to consider the different types of touch. The range may be from the pat on the back to the sexual shoulder rub! There are “zones” of the body that are strictly off limits! About half the sexual harassment cases I have served as a consultant or expert witness have involved inappropriate touching! Unfortunately, a few people have ruined for many. Now it is important to think twice before touching another person.

We should be aware that some folks go along to get along! They feel uncomfortable with the touch but don’t want to say anything for various reasons (don’t want to rock the boat, don’t want to hurt the person’s feelings, dislike confrontation, etc.).

open to the public

Society of Women Engineers “Engineers Week Dinner”
February 17, 2006
Colorado Springs
“The Lost Art of Conscious Communication:
A Talent for a Technical Age”

Registration Connie King


Windstorm Insurance Network
February 10 and 11, 2006
Hilton at Walt Disney Resort
Orlando, Florida

Registration Michelle Griffin

Here are some useful guidelines for touching:

1. Is the touch reciprocal and equally initiated?
2. The handshake is a safe touch and accepted business ritual.
3. Observe people’s nonverbal reactions to touch.
4. Is the touch limited to only a select group or all people?
5. What are the cultural rules for touching in your work environment?

What People are saying about Audrey

I've already received a comment from a male engineer that you are definitely his wife's favorite of speakers at past Engineers Week Dinners and he and his wife are delighted that you will be speaking at our Engineers Week Dinner again this year!

Connie H. King, Esq., P.E.
SWE-PPS Treasurer & PEC-PPC Vice President
Merrill, Anderson, King & Harris, LLC

I liked the examples of how the differences between men and women play out. The idea of gender flexing is very useful for folks in law enforcement, especially women! The video, power point presentation, handouts were all excellent. You know how to approach a sensitive topic with humor and powerful content. I like the way you slide the critical issues between humor. This was very interactive and informative. Lots to think about. You know your stuff.

Participant comments
Rocky Mountain Women in Law Enforcement 2005 Conference

…enjoying your book and Cds immensely. Very helpful! They really help with understanding through better listening of both verbal and nonverbal communication.

Greg Benjamin
Senior Vice President
NorthMarq Capital,Inc

"Audrey's Top 4 CD Communication Hits"