365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 26. April 20, 2011
Today officially marks 30 days. Thirty days ago at precisely 10:05 am I sent an invoice to Charlene and I have not received payment for my work. I was fuming this morning just thinking about Charlene-the-Deadbeat who clearly does not realize the very foolish decision she has made not to pay me. I am considering my options of how best to burn the bridge.
I was discussing this matter with a friend over coffee—explaining that Charlene-the-Idiot does not realize who she’s dealing with.
Granted, deep down inside, I am aware I’m not demonstrating very good Dale Carnegie-like behaviors. It seems like all the Dale Carnegie principles have been put on a shelf somewhere—way out of reach. This is a matter of money. And I want what I earned.
Before calling Charlene-the-Deadbeat I was reasonable enough to take a deep breath. I even said a prayer. “Please God help me have a pleasant sounding voice on the phone. Help me to talk in terms of Charlene’s interests.” I flipped through Dale Carnegie’s Golden Book as a quick refresher of the principles I needed to find the strength to apply.
I picked up the phone and called Charlene-the-Person-Who-Will-Pay-Me-Now-Or-Else.
I began in a friendly way. (I was floored I was able to swing that!) My confidence soared because I had this under calm control. I didn’t open with “Where’s my money Charlene?” or “What’s your problem Charlene?” or “How do you sleep at night knowing you stiffed me?”
No. I asked how she was doing. We talked at length about what’s going on in her world—she told me about her husband and children. I let her do most of the talking—asking a few questions here and there. I was generous with my time and interest in her life. We reached a point in the conversation where she asked why I was calling. I delicately said that I hadn’t been paid—and was wondering if perhaps she didn’t get the invoice.
To my shock—she said—“oh no! I sent check #789 two weeks ago. You should have it by now!”
She ended up calling the bank and confirmed the check hadn’t been cashed–so she reissued a check for payment in full.
To top it all off she gave me some contacts that might also be interested in my services.
The Dale Carnegie principles I was very SLOW to adopt but eventually did use:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Get all the facts.
Never try to get even with your enemies.
Admittedly, I should have given Charlene the benefit of the doubt before assuming she was a deadbeat. In all the years I have known Charlene—she’s a decent human being. There was no reason to assume she was dishonest. By taking a deep breath, remaining calm and getting all the facts directly from Charlene—I kept the dialogue positive and professional on the phone. I learned more about my client in terms of her future needs for my services and I also gained some helpful business leads.
So remember, before assuming the worst in a human being or a circumstance—take a deep breath and get all the facts before reacting. This will save you from the unpleasant experience of eating crow, having egg on your face or even missing future business opportunities. You will also prevent yourself from wasting energy on negativity or worry.