After thousands of complaints poured in regarding my post about Dale and Andrew Carnegie…nope, just kidding…no one complained.
The topic of that post came up because of a great story my friend Jan Sutton shared with me.
Jan has been a business owner as a Farmers Insurance agent for over twenty years. Early in her career she took advantage of a short, teaser-type meeting sponsored by the Dale Carnegie company. While their website states they improve individual and business performance, most people associate Dale Carnegie with the topic of public speaking.
Jan got fired up at the initial meeting and signed up for their two hour presentation. As she recently talked to me about speaking pointers she remembers from all those years ago, I recognized that many of the ground rules for speaking in public are still important today.
- Arrive early, check out the room and get to know it, test the equipment, and introduce yourself to the people running the show.
- Appearance matters.
- Body language speaks louder than your words can.
- Be nice.
After that presentation Jan stopped at her parents’ home. She excitedly told her father about all the fascinating new information she had buzzing through her head. Her dad stood up and left the room. Returning from the basement, he held out Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. This is THE book that started the whole Carnegie movement.
When Jan asked, “Oh, you took the class too?” her dad answered, “Yes. I was taught by Dale Carnegie in New York.”
In the late 40s and early 50s her family had lived basically around the corner from where Carnegie started. To think that her dad had been personally trained by Dale Carnegie blew Jan away. Me too!
Then she started thinking about the advice her dad had given her over the years. He’d always been so supportive of her tackling new subjects, taking chances, and then branching out to own her own business.
In thinking back, she wishes she had paid attention sooner and listened more intently to her parents’ stories. She offers up this advice to younger people: Interview your parents! Find out all the interesting stuff they know! Do it now!
One trait evident in Jan is her fervor to keep learning and improving. She looks for opportunities to gain knowledge, and she takes advantage of any class that’s offered. I’m sure at this point you won’t be surprised to learn she’s a participant in a leadership class.
She also recognizes the value of having a coach. As she expounds on that subject, she takes on an exuberant tone of voice.
“Do you think you don’t need a coach? Have you ever watched the Olympics? When the gold medal winners are shown, who is standing beside them? Yes, their family…and their coach. Regardless of what level you are at, even if you are at the top of your game, you need a coach to hold you accountable and to keep you motivated.”
And my guess is that both her dad and Dale Carnegie would be very proud.