That, Bob Dickson, President of Dale Carnegie Training of Western Connecticut, told Westport Sunrise Rotary today, is the only negative in How to Win Friends and Influence People – a best seller today as it has been since it was first published in 1936.
Dale Carnegie began teaching the “soft skills” of confidence-building to individuals almost 100 years ago. Over time the training expanded, adding “professional skills” as it was adapted to meet needs of the business world. Today over 8 million people around the world have participated in Carnegie programs.
Dickson offered club members a series of Carnegie precepts designed to help develop success in business.
The objective, he stated is to create opportunities. He opened talking about luck and lucky people: “Lucky people generate their own good fortune and create their own opportunities.”
Building relationships was important in Carnegie’s early programs. Today it’s called networking. But its benefits haven’t changed. Dickson stressed the importance of building a strong network, staying closest to those who can be most helpful, of adding and sharing information and helping others.
Reciprocity, he called it.
He called a network an “Emotional Bank Account,” and noted that people will most often help those who have helped them – people in whom they have an emotional investment are most likely to reciprocate.
He talked to the importance of staying positive. Positive expectations create positive results. “If you think you can, you will.”
Success is typically not immediate. But remaining positive, persistent and resilient help you do the things needed to stay in the game, stay aware of, then capitalize on opportunities that seem to find their way to you.
Listen to your intuition – we were told to stay with our first answer when we took College Boards. We should continue to listen to that same intuition and let our gut lead our brain to opportunities.
Look for opportunity in every noun you encounter. Every person, place or thing may present opportunities to hold on to, use or share. Keep your eyes open, be creative, and think strategically, plan beyond the immediate.
Be a great conversationalist because people like people who are. Dickson told a story about a dinner party at which Dale Carnegie initiated a conversation by asking his seat mate if she “had done anything interesting recently?” She launched into a two and one-half hour monologue covering every detail of her recent three month safari in Africa. Carnegie did little more than ask leading questions. At the end of the evening the woman told him he was a great conversationalist.
The moral, Dickson noted, was that people like to talk about themselves. Let them. They will think of you as a good listener. And listening, he said, is an important but undervalued skill.
Dickson’s last point was the easiest – smile. It’s easy. It’s disarming. And makes others want to be with you and help you.