Dale Carnegie: Reflections from Week 1

Dale Carnegie CourseThis summer I am taking a Dale Carnegie Course on Effective Communications and Human Relations. I have several reasons for going through the course that I’ll share later, but I want to capture my thinking as I go through the class.

The first week of the class was primarily to get to know the other members of the course, to learn ways to connect with people, and to introduce the “Five Drivers to Success.” We spent a significant amount of time discussing the value of knowing people’s names, the importance of favorable first impressions, and techniques for recalling names. The class is three and a half hours long, and I worried I’d struggle to remain interested and engaged. I was wrong. The course facilitator is exceptionally energetic, and the time elapsed quickly.

The 5 Drivers for Success

One of my first takeaways from the first session of the Dale Carnegie course was the importance of being skilled in each of “The Five Drivers to Success.” These interconnected areas of self-confidence, people skills, communication skills, leadership skills, and stress/ attitude management provide opportunities for continued growth and personal and professional breakthroughs.

The Conversation Stack

As an ambivert, I can be outgoing and charismatic, but I also enjoy sitting back, listening, and thinking deeply. One of the things I appreciated from the first class was learning about the concept of a “conversation stack.” The concept is a mnemonic to help when starting an exchange with someone one is getting to know. I’m adding “the stack” to my toolbox for making connections with people I’ve newly met. The visuals include the following items:

  • a doormat
  • a house
  • a family
  • a work glove
  • helicopter
  • tennis racquets
  • light bulb

I won’t give away the rest of the mnemonic, but I’m planning to use this and will be practicing it until I feel more comfortable engaging new people.

So What?

From these ideas, I am reflecting and identifying breakthroughs I want in each of the five areas of success. One of the most important is having the self-confidence to take more risks and exercising steps to reduce stress and to improve my productivity.  I also plan to use the conversation tools to make deeper connections with newcomers. We’ll see how it goes.