This week we are looking at Dale Carnegie’s third and fourth principles of likeability.
3. SMILE – A simple way to make a good first impression
Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you, you make me happy. I am glad to see you.” That is why dogs make such a hit. They are so glad to see us so, naturally, we are glad to see them. A baby’s smile has the same effect.
-The employment manager of a large New York department store told me she would rather hire a sales clerk who hadn’t finished grade school, if he or she has a pleasant smile, than to hire a doctor of philosophy with a somber face.
The effect of a smile is powerful, even when it is unseen. Telephone companies throughout the United States have a program called “phone power” which is offered to employees who use the telephone for selling their services or products. In this program they suggest that you smile when talking on the phone. Your “smile” comes through in your voice.
-The ancient Chinese were a wise lot, wise in the ways of the world; and they had a proverb that goes like this: “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.” Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds. Especially when that someone is under pressure from his bosses, his customers, his teachers or parents or children, a smile can help him realize that all is not hopeless; that there is joy in the world.
4. Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves – Carnegie said this was an easy way to become a good conversationalist and shared the following:
-Once I attended a bridge party, but didn’t play bridge. There was a woman there who didn’t play bridge either but she discovered that I had once been Lowell Thomas’ manager before he went on the radio. So she said: “Oh, Mr. Carnegie, I do want you to tell me about all the wonderful places you have visited and the sights you have seen.” As we sat down on the sofa, she remarked that she and her husband had recently returned from a trip to Africa. I’ve always wanted to see Africa, but I never got there. Do tell me about Africa.” That kept her talking for forty-five minutes. She never again asked me where I had been or what I had seen. She didn’t want to hear me talk about my travels. All she wanted was an interested listener, so she could expand her ego and tell about where she had been. Was she unusual? No. Many people are like that.
-I also met a distinguished botanist at a dinner party given by a New York book publisher. I had never talked with a botanist before, and I found him fascinating. I literally sat on the edge of my chair and listened while he spoke of exotic plants and experiments in developing new forms of plant life and indoor gardens. There must have been a dozen other guests, but I violated all the canons of courtesy, ignored everyone else, and talked for hours to the botanist. Midnight came, I said good night to everyone and departed. The botanist then turned to our host and paid me several flattering compliments. I was “most stimulating”, and he ended by saying I was a “most interesting conversationalist.” Why, I had said hardly anything at all. I couldn’t have said anything if I had wanted to without changing the subject, for I didn’t know any more about botany than I knew about the anatomy of a penguin. But I had done this: I had listened intently. I had listened because I was genuinely interested. And he felt it. Naturally that pleased him. That kind of listening is one of the highest compliments we can pay anyone. In reality, I had been merely a good listener and had encouraged him to talk.
-I’m sure you know department store owners who will rent expensive space, buy their goods economically, dress their windows appealingly, spend thousands of dollars in advertising and then hire clerks who haven’t the sense to be good listeners; clerks who interrupt customers, contradict them, irritate them, and all but drive them from the store.
-Listening is important in every part of our lives. Millie Esposito of Croton, New York, made it her business to listen carefully when one of her children wanted to speak with her. One evening she was sitting in the kitchen with her son, Robert, and after a brief discussion of something that was on his mind, Robert said: “Mom, I know that you love me very much.” Mrs. Esposito was touched and said: “Of course I love you very much. Did you doubt it?” Robert responded: “No, but I really know you love me because whenever I want to talk to you about something you stop whatever you are doing and listen to me.”
So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems.
In the 44 years I’ve been involved in selling-related occupations, the skills I observe as most lacking in sales and customer service reps are basic communication skills. That’s why I focus my online coaching sessions on topics in that arena. Take a FREE look at how I do that here, as I may be the missing piece at your company!
Did you miss the previous posts in this series?
©2016 Robinson Training Solutions, LLC