365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 18. April 12, 2011
As I parked my car at the Hilton hotel this evening my favorite song began: The Dog Days Are Over—by Florence + Machine. I drew courage from that song—for I was going to embark on a different experience this evening.
I recently donated a 24” x 36” framed photograph to a charity auction. And this evening was the big auction. The attendees were important people—in an expensive part of the city. I labored this morning trying to figure out what to wear so that I’d blend in. As I entered the reception hall—I drew from the Dale Carnegie principles. I smiled.
You see, the important detail here is that I didn’t know a single person at this event. The only vague connection I had was that I knew the mother of one of the event coordinators for this event.
I planned on just stopping in for an hour—to see my framed photograph in a public setting. But I ended up staying for the entire event. You see, I met the vague connection—her name was “Patricia”. We ended up talking the whole evening. I asked questions, listened and asked more questions. I was interested in learning more about her, what she does for the company she works for and more about her mother— whom I know pretty well. I wasn’t trying to get anything in return. I just listened.
I mentioned to “Patricia” I was afraid no one would bid on my photograph. (The sheet was blank with no bidders yet).
Then when I checked back I noticed she put her name down as a bidder. Then a couple other individuals starting bidding. There was a bidding war over my photograph. They asked me questions about the photo—what was my inspiration—where did I take it—how did I get so close up to the subject in the photograph. I felt like a real photographer.
By becoming interested in other people—they became interested in me—and as a result—my photograph brought in $250 for charity. Everyone won this evening.
The Dale Carnegie principles I applied are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 5. Smile.
Principle 7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
So remember, if you enter an uncomfortable situation where you don’t know anyone—try the time tested technique of smiling. This tends to disarm people. Then encourage others to talk about themselves and what interests them. You will discover this technique puts you at ease and makes you a more personable individual to those you meet.