365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 16. April 10, 2011
I was at the nail salon today getting a manicure and pedicure. The challenge is—I feel the same way about getting my nails done as I do about getting teeth pulled. It’s a mild form of torture—and how I wish they would just sedate me for the entire process.
I wondered if I could swing the application of Dale Carnegie principles while I was there. I smiled as I walked through the salon seeing the other customers. I grinned as I showed the manicurist my accidental mishap with the nail polish I spilled all over my hands. The other customers looked amused at least. As the mild mannered gentleman clipped, sanded and used all sorts of horrifying implements on my feet I sat cringing, with my hands on the arm rests in a death grip. Oh, I put on a good show.
Suddenly one of the manicurists got up and dismissed herself. Apparently she wasn’t feeling well—and her two clients were left with half finished manicures and pedicures.
These two clients started to complain – they had been there for an hour and a half, etc, etc. One of the manicurists—a junior in high school— did her best to shuffle from one client to the next.
Somewhere along the way light conversation began among all of us. Nothing profound—just friendly, small talk. It was a nice human connection and a great way to diffuse the stress levels. The woman next to me was getting her nails done because she was going to a musical tonight. The other two complaining ladies admitted they were enjoying the massaging chairs and they were happy to be away from their husbands and kids.
I enjoyed watching and being an active participant in this process. Another customer came and started to complain that she had an appointment and she’s been waiting 20 minutes. The staff apologized.
I informed the complaining customer that they were short staffed—an employee went home sick. The look on the customer’s face completely changed. Oh—I understand. Her demeanor turned to pleasant and accommodating.
Armed with confidence that the Carnegie principles were working—I decided to turn my attention to the high school student who was now painting my toenails. I told her I admired her patience and skill with the task. That I have no ability to do what she does—and besides—my own feet scare me. She thanked me and laughed. I learned she wants to go into medical school but she’s worried her grades aren’t good enough. I asked questions here and there and she continued to talk about herself.
When it was time to pay she thanked me for my patience. They had been short not one—but two employees that day and that it was especially hectic for her and the others to pick up the slack.
I smiled, thanked her and gave her a good tip.
The Dale Carnegie principles I used today:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Principle 2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 5. Smile.
Principle 7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Principle 8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Remember, the next time you’re in a setting where the service isn’t what you are accustomed to—take a moment to remember the employees are human. A kind word, patience and understanding can go a long way in making sure you get good service and you also diffuse a stressful situation.