Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
Tough assignment? If you can’t do those three things, what can you do? A former bacon and lard salesman for Armour and Company came up with a viable — and effective answer.
It was October of 1912 and Dale Carnegie found himself near a huge box factory (oops, inside joke there) — no, living in the 125 Street YMCA in New York City. After a successful career in sales, his recent attempts at acting had been less so. He began teaching a class at the Y and quickly discovered that when people became more confident in one area of their life, it could translate to success in other areas. Through experience, he learned that speaking in front of a group (one of mankind’s greatest fears) was the perfect vehicle. It only stands to reason, that if this fear can be controlled — and channelled, it opens the door to great potentials.
Many of those potentials were uncovered early on in the evolution of what would eventually become “The Dale Carnegie Course in Human Relations and Effective Speaking.” By the mid-1930s these potentials had become categorized into three areas significant to both business and personal achievement. Becoming a friendlier person, becoming more convincing (winning people over to your way of thinking) and effective leadership skills became important subjects for Carnegie. He wrote about them in what is now recognized as one of the most influential best-selling books of all time, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
The most successful of his books, it became the primary text book for the Dale Carnegie Course. From that meager beginning in the YMCA in New York City in 1912, Dale Carnegie Training (as it is known now) has grown to become the nation’s oldest and largest training company. Today, over 85 countries have Carnegie affiliates — many are local franchises. According to the company website, over eight million people world-wide have participated in their training which now includes a wide variety of training opportunities in personal development, sales, management and motivation.
A customer came into my pharmacy the other day and asked if she had the correct product for her needs. I assured her it was and then asked, “Would one be enough — or would two be better?” I hadn’t thought about my reponse. It just came out.
Every day, a skill learned in class appears in my behavior as a habit. When I become conscious of such, I often pause and smile for a brief reverie of great times. The habits formed are still obviously with me and represent a key component of the Carnegie program. I often look back on the time I spent as an instructor for the Baton Rouge franchise of Dale Carnegie with great pride and satisfaction. I still remember the names of many of the class members and graduate assistants with whom I worked. The old analogy that says, “You can’t learn to ride a bike by reading a book or listening to a tape” still applies. Providing a safe environment to practice new skills and develop success-oriented habits makes Dale Carnegie Training unique, effective, and lasting.
The worldwide Dale Carnegie community will observe the 100th anniversary of this legendary course throughout 2012. The introduction of several new training programs will highlight the company’s observance. The actual birthday is in October. We will soon publish our interview with Michael Crom, Executive Vice President and Chief Learning Officer for Dale Carnegie Training.
“The Carnegie Centennial” is second in a series of articles with subjects that observe a 100th birthday in 2012. First was an influential classic English novel. Next up is, “The Birth of the Nation” but not the movie. Join us all year long as we take a look at famous (and not so famous) events, people, books, movies, and companies that share the birth year of 1912. Just search for the MCMXII tag.
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