Day 123. Enthusiasm is not only contagious… it produces results.


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 123. Wednesday, July 27, 2011
I was on my way to a 2 hour seminar at a community college this morning.

I followed the MapQuest directions—and I estimated I was going to arrive a half hour early. It’s great being prepared.

Except as I made my final turn—I discovered I was turning in to a residential area. I realized the college was nowhere in sight. Was MapQuest wrong?

I double checked the address. I missed a detail. “Preston Park” was the street name. Not “Preston Road”. Who knew there were two streets with the name “Preston” in them? I continued on my journey and probably made more U-turns in one morning than most people do in a week. I was stressed because now my half hour of being early was turning into 15 minutes and I felt the minutes quickly slipping away.

I almost gave up on finding this place and considered going to work. But I told myself I can’t give up. Besides I’ll miss out on learning something new.

Finally… I found my destination. It was an office building. Now where to park? I circled a few times and found the parking garage. I got lost walking in the garage…. and by this time I was 5 minutes late. I considered giving up. But then I thought—no. I’m here… I just have to figure out how to get out of this garage and into the office building.

I composed myself and realized the obvious—take the stairs down. I made it to the office building and found my class on the 4th floor. There were several of us who walked in late so I didn’t feel too horrible.

The class was on email marketing and using social media. My boss has been suggesting I take these courses for awhile now. But until now I had no interest. I do email blasts on a regular basis already. And I have so many tasks on my plate—I really can’t take on too much more without breaking. My workload at times leaves me tired and jaded.

It turned out this 2 hour class, despite being free, was one of the most informative classes I’ve had the opportunity to attend. I left the class with rejuvenated interest and a real enthusiasm to apply the new techniques at work.

Enthusiasm has many uses just like a Swiss Army knife.

When I arrived at work I invited a couple coworkers into my office and I shared what I learned. I was excited and I have a particular enthusiasm that is contagious—I know this because I could see my coworkers around me getting excited and interjecting their ideas. This quiet office was now aflutter with excitement and even more importantly, we were implementing the new ideas now. It wasn’t—“we should”… or “we could” do this… it was let’s do it now!

Before my assistant left for the day she mentioned that she had some additional marketing ideas that she’ll work on this week. This was music to my ears.

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 30. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

Oftentimes I am so busy with my own work that I don’t do a good enough job motivating those around me at work. Sometimes it’s just easier to stay focused on my own concerns. But today I found that by engaging with my associates—I set the tone for an environment that was more interested and livelier. Individuals wanted to take on new responsibilities and experiment with new ways of marketing—all because I went to a free seminar and came back bubbling with enthusiasm. (good thing I didn’t give up on finding the office building!)

Remember, if you want others to be motivated you have to be motivated yourself. You’ll also find that work is no longer drudgery but a great place to learn, implement new ideas and achieve success as a team.

Day 111. I was wrong about the talkative account representative who visited today….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 111.  Friday, July 15, 2011
I heard the ding of the bell from the other end of the hallway.  We had a guest in the building.   

This guest was Susan, our account representative from the U.S. Postal Service. 

She was here to meet with Marcy who is in charge of our shipping department.

I heard the two women talking in the other office as I worked on a marketing campaign.

I was struck by the account representative.  She was very perky and talkative.  The conversation between the two women was just small talk at first.  But then Marcy began discussing details.  Details like the best method for shipping products to Canada and the challenges of shipping overseas, etc.

Susan, the account representative listened to Marcy’s woes, offered suggestions and was absolutely perky during the entire process.  There was even an in-depth explanation of why delivery takes a little longer to Hawaii.  Susan actually made the business of shipping interesting.   

See! There's opportunity to apply Dale Carnegie's principles just about anywhere!

I was also struck by Marcy.  Marcy does more than run the shipping department.  She handles the customer service department—she’s the main point of contact with our customers via phone and email.  I was so impressed that despite her workload, Marcy cared about the details of shipping. 

While I’m detail-oriented in certain areas, shipping products is something I consider myself the least qualified to do.  I cringe when I have to exert energy by mailing an envelope. 

I imagined myself in Marcy’s shoes meeting with Susan.  I’d be horrible in that meeting.  I’d be short and to the point.  Marcy put enthusiasm and cheerfulness into her work. I imagined how the meeting would be different if Susan wasn’t talkative and perky—what a dry and boring meeting that would be!  Susan clearly puts enthusiasm into her work. 

Their meeting ended.  I continued working on my marketing campaign with enthusiasm by setting up the html code, the links and various other details.  Broken links have not happened on my watch and I do my best to make sure it never happens. 

The Dale Carnegie principles demonstrated in this story are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Do the very best you can.

Today I was able to witness other people putting enthusiasm and care into their work.  It was inspiring and a marvel to observe.  I don’t care about shipping boxes.  But I do have the tedious responsibility of testing links in html code a couple times a week—so I can appreciate the work involved in shipping boxes.  To ship boxes successfully someone has to care—and it’s even better when they put enthusiasm into it by finding the most economical methods to save the company money. 

My initial reaction to hearing a talkative account representative in our building was uh-oh… another chatty Cathy in our building.  But then I realized she did her job well—she was interested in learning more about our needs and her chatty style was actually effective.  She put enthusiasm into her work. 

For my part—my personality is the complete opposite—I’m not so chatty—but I do get my job done and with enthusiasm. 

We all have our strengths.  When we apply our strengths with enthusiasm toward achieving a goal—we are able to achieve success.  It doesn’t matter if the task is shipping boxes, testing html code, running a corporation or performing surgery.  No matter the task or your station in life—do your best, put enthusiasm into it and success will come.

Day 94. I was enthusiastic over a hotdog….


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 94.  Tuesday, June 28, 2011
This morning my associate asked me to photograph a holiday table runner. (if you’re not in to decorating—a table runner is a linen you would place on a table for decoration).

My specialty is photographing butterflies, spiders, flowers—basically anything in nature.   Clearly a table runner is not any of these things.  And to make matters worse—the table runner needs props—like a nice table, maybe a plate of cookies, or perhaps props to suggest a picnic or 4th of July cookout… like a hamburger or hotdog….

My heart sank as I thought about having to do this task.  I don’t have any of these props—and this is not my area of expertise.  This is why we use a professional studio for these types of products—because we just aren’t equipped to do this ourselves.

I decided I couldn’t avoid the task even though I felt this was beyond my skill level. I started scouting the office building for a nice table and various other props I could use for this photograph.  It was a real stretch of the imagination—we have office furniture like filing cabinets, desks and shelves—not picnic tables, or side tables or 4th of July props. 

I managed to find a nice oak finish table but the shot looked pretty boring.  I needed a festive plate of cookies or something.  I went to the kitchen to see what I could “borrow”. 

That’s when I spotted them on the counter… hot dog buns from a recent company cookout.  Then I checked the refrigerator… yes!  I found an unopened package of Hebrew National Hotdogs!  But wait… it gets better.  Mustard!  Potato chips! 

My thoughts were racing as I grabbed all the food and took everything to my little photography studio.  I thought I could get away with just throwing all the props on the table runner and taking a photo.  But I really needed to set up a hotdog in a bun with potato chips on the side.  The scene I was creating had to look authentic. 

I tracked down the owner of the hotdogs for permission to use one for my photo shoot.  He looked at me with amusement and said—“that’s an unusual request.  Go for it Smiling Daffodil.” 

So I did.  I prepared my plate of food to use as a prop—a cold hotdog in a bun with mustard.  It was a thing of beauty.  I think everyone in the office thought this time I really lost my mind.  But I was having ridiculous fun. 

I set my plate of food on the table runner and snapped photos.  The scene was good considering I’ve had little experience or success with these types of scenes.

Oh, the perks of being a "photographer" today! After the photo shoot I got to eat the props. Tomorrow I'm hoping to photograph a steak!

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

Today I photographed a hotdog on a table runner with enthusiasm and it shows.  If I had thrown my hands up in the air in defeat before even starting I would have failed.  Instead I decided to do my best and make this task fun and creative. 

My lesson to you—if I can get excited over a hotdog—imagine what you can do!  Put enthusiasm into your work—and you might just discover success will come naturally. 

Housekeeping / Notes:
Mark your calendars for Guest Blog Wednesday!  (for new arrivals— all my blogs get posted sometime between 11 pm – 3 am.  Guest Blog Wednesday
theoretically happens on Thursday). 

Catch up on past blogs, reread your favorites or look at past blog photos by clicking here

Writers needed!  If I can write about a hotdog I am certain you have an even better story to share.  Just pick any of the Dale Carnegie principles (they are at the bottom of each of my blogs—and tell me how you have applied the principle.  That’s it!  If you are reading this blog—I am certain you know how to reach me.  Post a comment, email or send an instant message.  Or try the old fashioned way— talk to me face to face.  Ha.

Thank you for reading.  (Yes, the final photo with the actual table runner looks much better than the photo featured here…)

Day 85. Put your heart into a task and you’ll benefit from the outcome


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 85.  Saturday, June 18, 2011
I was listening to the radio on Friday and heard the forecast for Saturday was 104 degrees.  Yikes.  I decided the best thing to do was take cover from the heat. So I ended up at the office. 

You might remember my blog earlier this week about a pillow

The outcome of that pillow: 
Seth, Stefano and many other individuals loved the pillow.  I was truly touched. 

At the very end of the day I received “acknowledgement” for the pillow I made by the one person I desperately wanted attention from.  It hurt. 

In my heart I knew the moral of the story was simply to live Dale Carnegie’s principle:  “expect ingratitude.”  I do my best for myself and no one else. 

So today… my plan was to make another pillow—something entirely different.  It’s a bit ironic because I fled this office on Friday to have lunch just to get away from the building.  Now I was voluntarily going to spend my Saturday afternoon at this office to sew. 

Well—I made a mess of the entire sewing studio.  When I do a task I’m very…enthusiastic.  I put my heart into it.

Love what you do

The outcome of my afternoon… this heart pillow I made for my dad for Father’s Day.  (Granted being the marketer that I am—I will give it to him and take it back so I can use it for some marketing pieces.  Dear old dad will get the pillow back eventually….)

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today are from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Do the very best you can.

I created a pillow today not for the purpose of gaining approval, recognition or appreciation from the one person that denied it to me last time.  Instead I made it because I know I am capable and I loved making it.

My advice to you—pursue your interests whole-heartedly and don’t worry what other people think.  When you take these measures, you are true to yourself and the results of your effort will shine.

Housekeeping / Notes:
Daffodils fade but fortunately for you my blog posts don’t!  Be sure to check the archives / pictorial gallery for your favorite blog post or to catch up on what you missed.  Click to view.

Day 78. Baby bibs brought me a smile!


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 78.  Saturday, June 11, 2011
A month ago I purchased a set of baby bibs I had planned to embroider and give to my friend Marcella who recently had a baby. 

I only got around to embroidering one.  Various other interests happened plus I got busy with work and the six bibs have been untouched on my desk. 

Today I was thumbing through some photos from my recent trip visiting Marcella.  I came upon a photo of the bib that I gave her.  I remembered her reaction when she received it.  She loved it. 

I decided to hit the sewing room and finish the project I started. But I wasn’t feeling very creative as I was designing the bibs.  The task felt more like an obligation than something fun.  The first couple of bibs turned out “ok”.  But as I got more involved in the task I felt more confident and more creative. 

Put enthusiasm into your work!

I started experimenting with interesting fonts, embroidery designs, fabrics and thread colors.  Before I knew it—the bibs were finished—and they look great. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

Remember to approach a task with enthusiasm.  You will find that taking a positive approach to your work will yield better results.

Housekeeping / Notes
Be sure to check out bonus material in the Day Old Bread and Doggie Bag series!  My name is Daffodil…Smiling Daffodil.  

Day 48. Dale Carnegie’s principles can be applied on good days too! Wow!


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 48.  Thursday, May 12, 2011
It was 3:03 pm CST.  I was in my coworker’s office when it happened.  The bell rang in the warehouse.  Fortunately, I dressed appropriately for work today—jeans, a t-shirt, and some good running shoes. 

I made a mad dash to my office to grab my camera.  I’ve been especially trigger happy and today of all days must be documented. 

With camera safely around my neck, I raced into the warehouse… just in time to meet the UPS man. 

Behold…. my box!  Not just any box.  The box I’ve been longing for all week long.  The box that contains my precious laptop that I carelessly forgot in Michigan. 

Happiness delivered by the UPS man

I greeted the UPS man with a big stupid grin.  I snapped a quick photo of my box.  Then raced back to my coworker’s office where we safely unwrapped the precious cargo.

After reacquainting myself with my laptop I gave my coworker a puzzled look.  “What am I going to write about in today’s blog?  I’ve had a good day.” 

We both looked at each other—then at my laptop. 

Then my next concern became—“what photo would capture the relief and happiness of this moment?”

I left work a little earlier than usual and headed for home still pondering the perfect photo for my blog. What captures the essence of my happiness today?

Take the time to appreciate the little things

It didn’t take long before I noticed the sky.  The sky looked the way I felt.  It looked like it was rejoicing with me.  My long lost laptop reunited at last.

There were rays of light peering through the unusual arrangement of clouds—with shades of pink and blue scattered about.  It was so beautiful it was ridiculous. 

What normally takes an hour to get home probably took two hours.  I kept driving but then I’d notice the sky. I’d take a detour to get a better glimpse then I’d have to find a safe place to park to snap photos.  By the time I got home it was dark—but what a great way to spend an evening.  Me, my laptop and a beautiful sunset.

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today is from How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Count your blessings – not your troubles.
Put enthusiasm into your work.

You see—I could have spent my day worrying about all the work I have to complete by next week and the fact that half the company will be out of town and unavailable to help me.  Instead I focused on the blessings of this day—the return of my laptop.  I am certain I will get all my work complete – I’m just not going to spend all my time worrying about it.  Instead I will focus on being enthusiastic and positive about the simple things in life. 

So remember—look for the blessings that come your way each day.  Blessings might come in unexpected forms—like the safe return of something lost or the beauty of a sunset.  Taking this approach changes your outlook in a positive way.  You are able to spend your time more productively and you’ll be amazed by how much energy you have.


Housekeeping/Notes
Read Day 42 where I discuss the reason I forgot my laptop.

Day 33. Part 2. Use Dale Carnegie Principles to recover from feeling like an idiot.


Despite my best efforts sometimes I can sleep through just about anything

As I mentioned in the Day 33 blog entry, I woke up late. I woke up so late—I nearly slept half the day away.  I got up at 11:40 am.  (Despite two alarm clocks and two text messages)

I was disgusted with myself.  This is not the first time I’ve done this. It’s not that I get in trouble at work.  Everyone finds it funny.  I guess people like to see flaws.  The perception of me is that I’m a hard worker—a workaholic. 

I made it to the office at 12:32.  I was frantic but glad to have made it in.

After realizing my lunch plans were cancelled with my friend I sat down at my desk. I realized it was lunch time.  I’m late for my Starbucks visit for my Java Chip Frappuccino.

I quietly snuck out of the office—I felt like such a loser.  Here I am—I slept half the day away, I waltz into the office super late—and then after a few minutes of being at the office I leave to get my Java Chip Frappuccino.  Talk about shame and guilt.

I left anyway because I know there’s no use in fighting it.  My routine is important.  I will be thinking of my Starbucks Frappuccino all day. 

I return to the office—Frappuccino in hand and feeling much better.  I ease into the day with enthusiasm.  Yes, I was super late.  But now I will recover with style—with enthusiasm.  I whizzed through several projects I had to work on.  I tackled some editing with gusto.  I whistled while I worked.  There was a general feeling of happiness coming from my office.

What I realized is that no one really cares that I was late.  It’s not that there aren’t standards or rules at the office.  But I have a reputation of working very hard—despite my occasional disasters of oversleeping.  The key to today—I approached the day with enthusiasm.  This distracted me from thinking I was an irresponsible adult for oversleeping.  And by the end of the day—I had gotten quite a lot of work complete!

The Dale Carnegie principles I used in this scenario:
From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.
Cooperate with the inevitable. 
Use the law of averages to outlaw your worries.
Try to profit from your losses.

Remember, sometimes stupid mistakes or silly accidents happen.  Rather than dwell on feeling like a fool or an idiot—profit from the experience.  Turn the circumstance into something positive.  See if you can get more work done in less time.  See if you can distract everyone by your productivity that they forget you came in late.  Remind yourself that you have a reputation for being reliable, a good worker, etc etc.  When you take this approach—you focus your energy in a more positive, forward thinking direction that is more beneficial to you than wallowing in your mistakes.

Day 32. The Dale Carnegie Principles kept me from getting into fight with the President of the Homeowner’s Association Part 2 of the Lassie Story


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 32.  April 26, 2011
Preface:  Please read Part 1 of the Lassie Story first.  Fans of the blog have given it a top rating, it features some great Carnegie lessons and Part 2 will make more sense.   

Unexpected discovery on Easter

It was 7:45 am on Monday—and I decided to call the animal hospital before they close for the day.  “Hi—I’m the woman that found the sheltie—did anyone claim him yet?”

 The operator responded, “No—not yet.”

“Ok, I replied.  I’m going to knock on doors in the neighborhood and post signs.”

“Oh, that would be great.” said the operator.

I put on some nice clothes and set out on my mission.  I wanted to be sure I looked well put together so that people would be open to hearing what I had to say and not think I was soliciting.  (in other words… I put on my best pair of jeans, a nice t-shirt, my new shoes and a smile.)

I was certain I knew where the dog lived.  He lives at the house where I saw him circling the car.  I knocked on the door, smiled and asked the gentleman if he was missing a dog.  No, he wasn’t.

I was not expecting this answer.  I was rather stunned. 

So I tried some other homes.  I was getting one of two response—either no one was home or they weren’t missing a dog. 

What was striking about this experience was how friendly and appreciative the neighbors were.  They were grateful I was on a mission to find the dog’s owner.  To me this was an obvious course of action—I promised the dog I’d find his owner and I fully intended to follow through.  Personally, I go nuts losing anything

After awhile I realized I needed to treat this task like a marketing campaign.  I decided to strategically post my waterproof signs throughout the neighborhood.  (I made the signs waterproof by sealing them in clear plastic bags.)  I taped the signs on the lampposts and stop sign posts.  I even went to the local gas station and gave the cashier one of my flyers. 

Then as I was taping a sign on one of the most frequented light posts in the neighborhood… a woman drove up beside me.  She said to me in her British accent… “you can’t post signs.”

I had a split second to react…

I turned to her and calmly said… “what would you suggest?  I found a dog last night and I’m trying to find the owner.” 

She gave me her business card and said I could visit the Homeowner’s Association website and post information there.  Her name, of course, was the infamous, “Betty Lou”. 

I have never met Betty Lou in person but I am well acquainted with her.  I am certain this woman watches every move I make.  She sends me postcards in the mail letting me know I have weeds in my flowerbeds and I need to remove them.  She lets me know I left my trash bin outside on a day other than trash day and that I must remove the bin immediately or pay fines.

She is President of the Homeowner’s Association—and I have the privilege of paying her salary and the services she diligently provides. 

I remove the sign, dejected.  I start scanning my memory for a Dale Carnegie principle to get me through this.  I manage to amuse myself by concluding she and her staff are very efficient.  Their very existence is to make sure no one breaks rules.  I can appreciate they don’t want to junk up lampposts.  After all  look at how pretty all the lampposts are without signs… (well, except for the lampposts that still have my signs plastered on them…)

I decide to outsmart Betty Lou.  There are no rules against putting flyers on doors—I know that for a fact because I get flyers daily. 

So I walk the neighborhood putting flyers under doormats, carefully positioning the flyers so that the homeowners see the dog’s photo first.  There are a lot of homes with signs—“no solicitors, no flyers.”  I decide the signs aren’t directed to me—I’m doing a public service.  So I continue my mission.

I found a house with the fence fallen over from the storm.  The owner had a door mat that said “Wipe your paws.”   I can picture the sheltie living here.  This must the house.  I knock on the door—no answer.  I left a flyer under the mat.

As I’m walking—I see a woman—and approach her with a smile.  No, she hasn’t lost a dog.. but there’s a neighbor three houses away that did lose a dog!

I raced over to the house and knocked on the door with anticipation.  No one answered the door.  I left a flyer under the mat.

By this time it’s 11 am.  I decide I’ve done enough for the day and I’m late enough for work.

Once at work, I call the Homeowner’s Association to find out where I could post information on their website.  I spoke with “Patricia”.  I told her the entire story about Lassie—the Easter dog I found.  She was completely sympathetic.  

“It even knows tricks…I’m sure someone is missing their dog,” I tell Patricia. 

 “Oh yes, no doubt”, she replied.  

Patricia gets information on the dog just in case someone calls looking for him.  At one point in the conversation I hesitate—and said, “I’m going to get in trouble with you…. You see, I posted signs on lampposts.  I know I’m not supposed to… but I feel so bad for the dog and the dog’s owner.  I have a dog too and if I lost my dog… I would hope someone did the same for me….”

Patricia said.. oh, don’t you worry.  I would have done the same.  The worst that will happen is that they remove the signs.  But it will be ok.” 

 “Oh thank you,” I said to Patricia. 

 ———
It’s evening now and I’m driving into my neighborhood.  My heart sinks.  ALL the waterproof signs I lovingly posted on lampposts and stop sign posts are gone.  I wanted to cry.  Really?  Do you not have a heart Betty Lou and your minions?  (Patricia is excluded from this group of course)

As I am checking my mail a neighbor drives by—and asks if I found the dog’s owner yet.  I was touched he cared enough to ask and he expressed his gratitude for my mission.

After having dinner I went to the store to pick up a stuffed animal toy for the dog.  Then driving over to the vet, I remembered I held the dog in my arms.  He knows my scent.  I decide to rub the stuffed animal on me—so that my scent is on the toy.  This way, he will be comforted with a familiar scent. 

I walked into the animal hospital and the same technician from the night before greeted me.  She said…we have good news!  We found the owner!

“Thank God!” I replied. 

The technician said, “you were his guardian angel!  We called the owner and he insisted the dog was home.  We explained we tracked him down with the microchip in the dog and the owner admitted he was out of town until Wednesday.  The dog must have escaped somehow.  So the dog will remain with us until then.” 

I smiled completely unaffected by the carelessness of the owner to leave a dog alone for three days.  I was just relieved I was able to keep my word with the dog to reunite him with his owner. 

Before leaving I told the technician, “I brought a toy for the dog.”

The technician replied, “oh, I’ll make sure the dog goes home with it!” 

I handed her the little stuffed lamb I carefully selected for the sheltie.  

A variety of Dale Carnegie principles were used in this story:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 10.  The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Principle 13.  Begin in a friendly way.
Principle 19.  Appeal to the nobler motives.
Principle 18.  Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
–          Live in “day-tight compartments.”
–          Do the very best you can.
–          Put enthusiasm into your work.

 I did not let the Homeowners Association prevent me from executing my plan of action.  When they tried to stop me—I found creative ways to comply with the rules while still keeping focused on my goal.  I was even able to convince Patricia, an employee with the Association that breaking the rules did make sense in this case. 

In this story enthusiasm trumped everything.  I was no longer nervous about knocking on strangers’ doors, interrupting their mornings and asking them if they lost a dog.  I was able to think creatively and strategically—from waterproof signs, to observing which homes had fallen fences to posting signs at busy traffic areas. 

You might ask why I didn’t just wait a day or two to see if the microchip had current contact information on the owner.  I couldn’t bear to think of the owner being worried sick about his/her missing dog.  I would want someone to do the same for me.  I even planned for the worst—I was thinking of individuals who could adopt the dog. 

If you take anything from this story—I hope it is this—approach a task with enthusiasm.  When you approach a task with enthusiasm you will accomplish things you never would have imagined.

Day 28: Phone call from random woman turns into great opportunity


365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 28.  April 22, 2011
This morning I heard some stressful phone conversations coming from our customer service center in our building.  Being a Carnegie graduate I was eager to help—but I didn’t know how to give any of the employees encouragement without coming off condescending or arrogant.  I can understand how the job can be stressful and thankless.  I wrung my hands and did nothing….

At 3:45 pm the phone rang in my office. 

I picked up the phone and said warmly, “good afternoon, XYZ company.  This is Susie Q.”

Woman on other end of phone:  “Hi Susie Q—how are you today?”

I replied with gusto—“I’m great!  How are you?”  (Note to the reader:  I have NO idea who this person is—she hasn’t identified herself.  I’m also anxious to find out if management will send us home early since it’s Good Friday.  Despite these personal concerns I decide to do my best by having a cheerful voice on the phone.) 

The woman on the phone replied with a heavy sigh, “I’m SO TIRED.  I’m hoping they send us home early today.”

SIGH… would you like to buy our services….

At this point—you can hear the sound of crickets.  I don’t know how to respond to this—so I stay silent. 

Woman on phone:  “I’m calling to sell you services in such and such we have the best services in town… are you the owner?”

I replied, “No I’m not the owner and our company is not interested.”

Woman on phone:  “Well, if you’re not the owner it’s not your place to tell me the company isn’t interested.”

I responded, “Just a note—it’s probably not a good idea to tell me that you are so tired before you try to sell me something.” 

Woman on phone:  “Well you were the one that asked how I was doing.  I was just answering your question with honesty.”

I replied to the woman, “I hope you have a good weekend—sounds like you need the rest.”

Woman on phone:  “Click.”

I set the phone back down after being hung up on and chuckle to myself.  I told my associate Henrietta the story.  (Henrietta spends a large portion of her day handling our customer service calls.  She has immense patience that I don’t have—but like all of us can use encouragement from time to time.) 

To dramatize the concept I said with enthusiasm, “Henrietta, can you imagine if you answered the phone and began with a low, unhappy voice like this:

     “Hi, this is Henrietta (sigh) what can I do for you (sigh).” 
     The customer on the line would respond, “hi Henrietta (sigh) I was calling to place an order (sigh) but now I’m too disinterested and tired (sigh).” 

Both Henrietta and I got a good laugh at my very exaggerated skit. 

I said to Henrietta, “that woman that called me is nothing like you Henrietta.  You do a good job.”

The Dale Carnegie principles I used today:
From How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 2.  Give honest, sincere appreciation.
Principle 20.  Dramatize your ideas.
Principle 28.  Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. 

From How to Stop Worrying and Start Living:
Put enthusiasm into your work.

So remember, sometimes the best way to encourage, praise and motivate others is to give an exaggerated example of what not to do.  This method gets a good chuckle.  It also sends a message that you appreciate their work and you are giving them a fine reputation to live up to.  After all, no one would want to be the “dramatized” version of Henrietta that I played.