Day 40. How to get someone to open your email

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 40.  May 4, 2011
Preface:  I considered skipping my own blog post since I had a guest blogger but somehow that seems to break the rules.

It’s Wednesday and I still haven’t received a response about an email I sent LAST week. 

This is why I have to do things myself—I quietly mutter to myself.  On the other hand—this is probably an opportunity to use a Dale Carnegie principle… grumble.

You see, I delegated a task (so hard to do) to an associate last week.  I asked him to follow up with a client about an urgent matter.  I could have done the task myself but I thought why not delegate for a change.

Before stepping on toes today I asked my associate if he had any updates from the client.  He said the client is impossible to reach.  So I delicately mentioned I’d try following up with the client directly. 

 I drafted the following email to the client:
Email Subject line:  Great news about the response to your product XYZ!Body of email:
Dear ABC Company,

We are so excited to report about the positive response to your revolutionary new product.  I’m sure you must also be pleased with the results of the marketing campaign.

We’ve had a few inquiries from prospects interested in your products but they are unable to get the information they need from your company’s website.  I’ve done some research on my own to try to give them the information they need—but not being an expert on your product or website—I’m afraid I’m not the best at assisting them.

I just wanted to make sure you were aware of these inquiries.  Please let me know if I carelessly missed this information on your website.

Thank you for your attention to this matter. 
The Smiling Daffodil

 As you would guess I got a response within the hour. 

The Dale Carnegie principle I used in this scenario is from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 8.  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Principle 26.  Let the other person save face.

Let the other person save face

Instead of writing a subject line like “Problem with your website” or “This is the 2nd email request I’ve sent”—I spoke in terms of the client’s interest.  My client is interested in gaining new prospects and making the sale.

Then in the body of the email I continued to speak in my client’s interests.  I politely suggested that product information might be missing from his website—but not being an expert I could be mistaken.  The client was quick to fix the mistake and respond within the hour.

Remember, it’s easy to jump down someone’s throat and tell them they have done something wrong.  But when was the last time you felt motivated to correct your own mistakes under those conditions.  Instead—season your words with respect for the other person.  Don’t tell them they’ve done something wrong or point out they have ignored your 10 million email requests.  Instead, speak in terms of their interests.  This will make them more receptive to your suggestions.  When you take this approach you let the other person save face and you are able to get the results you are seeking.

Day 20. Ordering a chicken strip combo meal turned into an ideal opportunity to use the Dale Carnegie principles

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 20.  April 14, 2011 
It was 5:15 pm as I walked into Church’s Fried Chicken in a rough part of the city.  I looked at the cashier and hesitated—waiting for her to greet me— or at least speak to me.  I found myself getting irritated by the lack of enthusiasm for my business.

I proceeded to order a chicken strip combo meal.  She behaved completely disinterested in the transaction.   

As I was filling my cup with ice—the cashier sighed heavily.  I thought to myself—here’s my opportunity to practice the Dale Carnegie principles. 

I said to the cashier, “has it been a long day?” 

Her demeanor softened and she said, “yes.” 

She explained that while her shift started an hour ago—she has a 5 month old baby at home that’s keeping her very busy.  Not to mention three other little children.  I proceeded to ask questions here and there—showing interest. 

I asked, “do you at least live nearby?”

“Yes, about 10 -20 minutes from here,” she replied.   

“Ah, that must be nice—I live about 30 miles from here.” 

We talked for several minutes as my chicken strips were getting fried.  She asked where I worked and what I do. 

As she was bagging the food she asked with particular care if I wanted any hot sauce or ketchup.  She handed me my food and said warmly—“see you next time!”


As I walked to my car I thought to myself—using the Dale Carnegie principles is like taking candy from a baby.  It doesn’t get any easier than this to change an indifferent moment or even a negative experience into something positive.  You just have to put the effort into taking action.  Everything else will fall into place.

Candy buttons

The Dale Carnegie principle I used today 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.
Principle 8.  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. 

When you encounter an individual who is grumpy, negative or indifferent—you’ll find it takes very little effort to transform their demeanor simply by showing them genuine interest.  When you take this approach—you will experience the similar pleasure I did—of knowing you caused that transformation.

Day 19. Learn a proven method for dealing with a grumpy ill-mannered woman

365 Days of Living the Dale Carnegie Principles

Day 19.  April 13, 2011 
I was standing in line at a bookstore waiting to purchase two books for my friend Beatrice.  There was just one cashier working at the counter.  A sloppy dressed mother and daughter were standing in line behind me for about a minute when the mother began to complain about having to wait in line.  

The mother said, “this is taking forever.  I hate waiting.  I can’t believe they only have one cashier….” 

I didn’t want to listen to this customer’s endless complaints for something so trivial as standing in line for a few minutes.  In all honesty I felt she was an ill-mannered fool.

I turned around to the mother and daughter and with a calm voice said, “would you like to go ahead of me?  I’m in no hurry.” 

The mother replied, “no that’s ok.”

I replied, “no I insist—knock yourself out—please go ahead of me.”  

So we switched places in line. 

The mother continued to complain about the cashier—saying “I wish she would hurry up and stop talking.”

I gently told the woman, “You know—I bet she’s had a long day just like you and me.”

The scowl on this mother’s face completely softened.  She said, “yes, you’re probably right.”

She paused and said, we’ve been shopping all day trying to find these school books….”

It was now the mother and daughter’s turn to go to the cashier.  As they approached the cashier the mother turned to me and said politely “thanks again.” 

They paid and left.  It was my turn to pay for my books.  I approached the cashier with a smile—knowing full well the cashier had no idea I probably saved her from a grumpy customer.

The cashier greeted me and I commented that I liked her hair.  It was the kind of hair I’ve always wanted.  It was a nice dark brown, long and curly.  We began to discuss hairstyles and how she always wanted straight hair but now she likes her curly hair. 

The transaction probably lasted a minute.  But I am certain in a small way I made that cashier feel admired for having such nice hair. 

The Dale Carnegie principles I used this evening are from How to Win Friends and Influence People:
Principle 1.  Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Principle 5.  Smile.
Principle 8.  Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
Principle 9.  Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. 

I could have told the customer to shut her vey large mouth and quit complaining.  I could have criticized the customer for not dressing in a presentable manner in public or for being an overall belligerent human being.  But instead, I spoke to her in a civil manner that interested her.  She wanted to be served next and I was happy to accommodate. 

The next time you encounter an individual who won’t stop complaining and is encroaching on your peace—rather than escalate the problem by telling the person off—diffuse the situation.  Talk in terms of that person’s interests in a calm, friendly way.  It won’t cost you a dime and it will give you a sense of peace knowing you controlled the situation. 

Incidentally, the two books I purchased this evening for my friend Beatrice were How to Win Friends and Influence People and How to Stop Worrying and Start Living.

A feast better than prime rib, mashed potatoes, sauteed mushrooms and asparagus is proving Dale Carnegie's principles work!