Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World by Kirt Manecke

Posted in Educational, Reviews, Special Needs Teens by - March 09, 2016
Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World by Kirt Manecke

Having “Good People Skills” is the key to success at school, in a job and in life. Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World-A Crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication by Kirt Manecke shows you exactly what you need to know about basic personal and professional skills. As soon as I finish this review, I am giving this excellent book to my 16 year old granddaughter who just started her first part-time job while finishing grade 11.

The people skills in this easy-to-read handbook are for teens and young adults of all abilities. Students with autism, Down syndrome, ADHD, etc. who often need help with life skills will greatly benefit from reading this book. Lucky are the students who have an adult who goes over it with them and, better still, if it is part of their “Life Skill” course at school.

page from  Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World - A Crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication by  Kirt Manecke

Help Teens Make a Powerful First Impression!

The common sense tactics teens learn in this hand book will follow them into adulthood and help them with all relationships with classmates, co-workers, family and friends. In our speedy, wired world where face-to-face social skills take a back seat to “gadget-communications”, teens need to hear about the importance of a smile, strong handshake, appropriate attire, and going the extra mile for a customer or your employer.

Folks reading the book with someone with autism will have to discuss the section on the importance the author places on “eye-to-eye contact”.  It is good that people with autism learn this is what many neurotypicals expect. However the autistic individual might build enough confidence after reading this book to explain to an employer or customer about this difficulty and go on and do the work required.

Targeted Audience: Middle School & High School (Ages 12 and Up)


  • Mom’s Choice Gold Award honoring excellence in family friendly products
  • Learning Magazine’s Teachers’ Choice Award for the Classroom
  • IPPY Gold Award recognizing excellence

People Skills for Life

Leaning to treat everyone with respect will get you far in life. The life skills and techniques teens will learn in Smile & Succeed for Teens are immediately useful and will help them the rest of their life. Readers will have more confidence at school and at work. The competition is tough and teens need to stand out and make a good first impression by showing an intelligent, attentive, willing-to-learn attitude that will get them their first interviews to a first job, from high school to landing that scholarship, to a work term/internship to nailing that dream job.

Author Kirt Manecke based this handbook on his award winning first book for adults, “Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service”. Like the advice in Smile written for employers and employees, the lessons taught in his book for teens will help them make and keep friends, find and keep a job, overcoming stress, and even the benefits of volunteering.

I love the inspirational quotes that support the content after every new concept. Here’s the quote about volunteering: “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.” ~Winton Chuchchill, fromer prime minister of the UK

More Features we like in Smile & Succeed for Teens:

Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World

  • Conversational style of writing in a pleasant, motivational tone that does not seem like “preaching”.
  • Calls to action prompts are simple and effective.
  • Woven within the easy-to-read text are bullet point lists, links to more information and statistics that leap at the reader from a small screen found on many of the pages.
  • Texts written on a grey background are personal accounts that make the author seem like a trusted adult/friend and help to make his message clearer.
  • A book you can pick up, turn to any page, and learn something; therefore, a handbook teens will leave on their desks to refer to it often.
  • page from  Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World - A Crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication by  Kirt ManeckeIndex to retrieve info quickly.
  • Detailed Table of Contents.
  • Handbook of only 131 pages is not intimidating to teens.
  • Different size and style of fonts makes it more interesting.
  • Black and white artwork has an entertaining comic book or cartoon look with speech bubbles that continue to inform.
  • Each lesson taught is followed by examples and reasons why it is important.
  • Book has a list of further reading for each chapter at the back of the book, which can supplement transition curriculum in schools or community based programs for young adults entering the work force.

Witty Writing from Chapter Titles to Content and Quotes

With chapter titles like the following three, one can easily see why parents and teachers would want the youth in their care to have access to this book. The third chapter in the list also has the sub-titles.

Chapter Titles:

The Top Ten People Skills

How to Make Your Friends and Customers Smile

Get That Job

Use Your People Skills to Communicate Like a Pro

Keep Them Smiling
More Top People Skills for Life, Work, and Volunteering

  • Apologize and Mean It
  • Call People by Name
  • Be Prepared: The Six P’s
  • Dress for Success
  • Keep It Professional
  • Master Electronic Etiquette
  • Learn Your Business
  • Make It Easy for Customers to Do Business with You
  • Follow Up

 “Wired Tip” With Distinct Icon

I can see some of the readers, once they have read the book once, will keep the book handy and flip the pages and read here and there in the book. They will surely go over the wonderful “Wired Tip”. Many have links to web sites with added information. Read a few:

  • WIRED TIP: Electronic communication does not require eye contact. Face-to-face communication demands it.
  • WIRED TIP: College admissions officers will review your social media and online profile before admitting you. Make sure your online reputation is professional and does not include questionable or inappropriate content or photos.
  • WIRED TIP: For tips to overcome stress at home and at school visit and click on “Free”.
  • WIRED TIP: To save money on work clothes that may not become part of your personal wardrobe, search online for consignment shops or stores such as a Salvation Army or Goodwill near you.


Smile & Succeed For Teens Teaching Guide PDF is now available. Great for classrooms, community groups helping young adults transition from high school to the work force or further education. This Teaching Guide is a also an ideal church and youth groups (scouting, etc.) tool and can be used powerfully for nonprofits, businesses employing teens, and more. Short, quick and easy to use and implement, just like the book Smile & Succeed for Teens.

  • Lessons in the Teaching Guide are flexible and can be assigned daily, semiweekly, weekly or whenever there is available time in the classroom.
  • 27 pages (33 pages total) PDF. Make teaching students communication skills quick and easy!
  • Created By Teachers, For Teachers! For Grades 6-12

About the Author: 

Kirt Manecke Author of Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World - A Crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication Kirt Manecke is an award-winning author, and sales and fundraising expert. The former owner of an award-winning specialty retail business, Kirt’s books promote and teach the simple premise that good service is good business – that if you treat your customers well, you will be rewarded in return.

Kirt Manecke’s passion for customer service and sales began years ago, when he co-founded an award-winning start-up – a specialty retail business in Michigan. Having worked at other businesses during college, Kirt wanted his own company to be different and better; to train its employees in ways that would result in more sales and profits, and it worked!

This desire led to the development of an extensive and innovative six-week training program for new employees, where they were introduced to proven techniques and had to pass a test before joining the sales team. The program worked. Kirt watched as confidence – and customer satisfaction and sales – soared. The tenets taught in this first training program provided the basis of his award-winning book, “Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service”.

Kirt’s award-winning book “Smile & Succeed for Teens” is a crash course in face-to-face communication for teens based on his award-winning book “Smile: Sell More with Amazing Customer Service“.

Kirt is a strong proponent of buying local to create thriving downtowns. He shares his passion for land conservation and animal welfare through volunteer work. He volunteers his skills to help end animal cruelty and preserve natural spaces in the United States and abroad.

Buy Books by Kirt Manecke

  •  Smile & Succeed for Teens: Must-Know People Skills for Today’s Wired World – A Crash Course in Face-to-Face Communication by Kirt Manecke 
  • Social Skills for Teens: The Teaching Guide for Smile & Succeed for Teens (June 2015) 

This post was written by Lorna
Lorna d’Entremont: Co-owner of SentioLife Solutions, Ltd. the company behind KidCompanions Chewelry (2007) and SentioCHEWS (2013), mother of three, grandma of 5 and wife. She is a retired teacher and special needs advocate. Throughout she has taught all levels from grade 2 to grade 9. Lorna loved teaching and enjoyed seeing the students progress in the school system. During her 30 year career she took a few years off to raise her three children.