I’m taking a Dale Carnegie course this summer as I take a sabbatical from teaching to launch a business. I’m using this space to capture my learning and reflections on the class as I go. You might want to read my posts from week one and week two if you missed them.
Shut Up and Listen
The assigned readings for the session were chapters 1-3 of Part 2 of How to Win Friends and Influence People, chapters 1-2 of Part 2 of How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, and chapters 4-6 of The Quick and Easy Way to Effective Speaking. After reading the assignment, I know I need to do a better job of encouraging others to talk about themselves. I’m not a bad listener, but I could improve. In fact, I’ve caught myself several times this week not focusing on what another person is saying or monopolizing the conversation with my own stories and ideas.
Enthusiasm = The Secret to Success
The primary focus for session three of the Dale Carnegie course was harnessing the power of enthusiasm. We spent the first part of the class connecting with an accountability partner and making commitments to bring energy to an area where it had been previously lacking. At first, I struggled to come up with anything because I’m pretty excited about what I’m currently doing. Then, I realized I’ve put off doing some of the planning and organizing of the business that I need to do. I must formalize my business plan and develop a marketing strategy. So, I committed to my accountability partner that I’ll get that done over the next six weeks.
Additionally, a quote in the course manual from American steel magnate Charles Schwab struck me. Schwab said, “A man can succeed at almost anything for which he has unlimited enthusiasm.” Unlimited. That’s a tall order, but I recognize that one’s enthusiasm and perseverance often determine his or her success.
Acknowledge Our Successes
Coupled with the discussion on the importance of enthusiasm was time for each member of the class to share a personal success. The goal was two-fold. First, we shared stories of our past achievements to help us enhance our professional communication skills. Second, we acknowledge our successes because it helps us recognize our strengths. As each class member shared his or her story, I was impressed by the accomplishments of so many in the group. Additionally, our trainer Adrienne did a fantastic job of pointing out each person’s strengths based upon what he or she shared. I was inspired.
From these things, I’ve decided I need to work on listening actively to others, on bringing enthusiasm to all my efforts (even the stuff I avoid), and on recognizing and celebrating my accomplishments as well as the achievements of others.
Does this make sense? What tips or advice do you have for growth in these areas? I’d appreciate hearing your thoughts.