365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles
Day 64. Saturday, May 28, 2011
I wasn’t looking forward to having brunch with Robert, an associate from work. In my mind, I had better things to do with my time on a Saturday. I even tried to scheme a way out of the meeting. But there was no use. Sure, I could probably get out of the brunch—but in the long run, I would not be better off for skipping the meeting.
I showed up on time and was mildly hopeful the meeting would go well. Robert and I chatted idly for a bit. I could sense we were both trying hard to make the best of the circumstance.
Robert and I aren’t great conversationalists with each other. Neither party seems terribly interested in the other. But today was different. I put effort into finding something that interested Robert. In this case, it was his recent trip to Florida. I asked him how his trip went and he proceeded to talk non-stop about it. I listened with interest, asking questions here and there. When I asked particular questions—his face lit up—as if in shock that I would remember random details he had shared with me in the past.
He and I must have talked for about an hour. Rather, he did most of the talking, I did the listening. The brunch / meeting ended up being one of the most effective meetings we’ve had in a long time.
The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Win Friends and Influence People
Principle 4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
Principle 7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
I am flabbergasted just how easy and pleasant today’s brunch went. The reason is simple. I became interested in the other person. I chose a topic that was near and dear to his heart—and he talked on and on about the subject. When we had exhausted the subject he then turned to me and asked me questions about subjects near and dear to my heart. He too listened attentively and asked questions.
It is true that most people like talking about themselves. That won’t change. But your approach can change. By taking interest in other people and encouraging them to talk about themselves, you end up making friends along the way. This is a more rewarding approach to take with people instead of dominating a conversation or not engaging at all with them.