Debra Benton explains the art of the virtual handshake

The executive coach and consultant offers tips for doing business in the digital world

By , IDG News Service |  IT Management

"Everything I write about comes from conversations," Benton said. In the past, those conversations were often with older, more experienced executives and others who Benton looks to as mentors. "Now, with this last book, a lot of the mentoring I got was from people who are much younger than me who are technically brilliant. They look to me to provide a seasoned voice. I look to them to provide the technical voice."

Benton, who is 58, opened the book's introduction noting that by 2015 it is believed that the workforce will be one-third from the millennial generation, one-third from generation X and one-third from baby boomers. "It could get funky. The only digital interpersonal relationship and communication rule will be: there are no clear rules," she wrote.

One place to start, however, is by dropping the notion that the business world is not personal. Benton encourages her readers to get to know those they deal with so that even in email or over the phone there is that sort of personal connection, where people remember things about one another's lives and mention them.

"All of life is just personal relationships, and business whether online or off is personal relationships with people, with money and title attached, but the point is that it's all about humanity," she said.

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