A turning point in my life came in 1982, at age 25. I purchased a paperback copy of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” and kept it in my service truck. I used to read it at lunch. It inspired me to begin listening to books on tape. I quit listening to my extensive rhythm and blues collection, gave up the front page of the newspaper, and began keeping a journal. I turned into a sponge.

As an HVAC technician, I had a C+ level of technical skills, but with Dale Carnegie’s help, I became an A+ people guy. Sales and opportunity soon followed. His book became my “People Handbook,” my “Human Relations Bible,” so to speak. It is so dog-eared and worn, pages fall out when I open it.

Born in Maryville, Missouri, on Nov. 24, 1888, Carnegie knew only poverty as a boy. He ascended to become the top salesman in his company and region by hard work and study. He moved to New York City in 1911 and began teaching public speaking courses at night, so he could research and write during the day. “How to Win Friends and Influence People” sold over 5 million copies by his untimely death in 1955.

Carnegie believed and taught a simple rule: “It’s possible to change other people’s behavior by changing one’s behavior toward them.”

I recently reread this classic self-help book and listened to it on CD. I determined that I could raise my interpersonal relationship bar if I were to turn his timeless principles into affirmations/goals and bombard my subconscious with my 12 favorite Carnegie principles — as in, record them onto Garage Band, transfer them to iTunes, upload them to my iPhone, and listen to it 1,000 times, which takes me about a month.

So here we go, my 12 paraphrased goals, submitted for your approval:

  1. “I smile at as many people as I can all day long.”
  2. “I have an amazing memory for names. I employ I.R.A. (impression, repetition, association) so their names stick.”
  3. “I dominate the listening in every conversation and people enjoy being around me! I love to listen and learn all day.”
  4. “I employ ‘Yes AND’ while I listen to keep the spotlight on other people. I observe, acknowledge and heighten what I hear to make my conversations about others. It’s not about me!”
  5. “I am a ‘good-finder.’ I enjoy catching others doing things right. ‘Good for you!’ is my favorite phrase. I enjoy making others feel important.”
  6. “I avoid arguments and negative or mean people. I smile politely and walk away. I would rather be happy than right.”
  7. “I show respect for other people’s opinions, often saying, ‘You feel strongly about that...’ I resist the temptation to correct, criticize, or condemn.”
  8. “When I am wrong, I promptly admit it. Life is too short to be a jerk.”
  9. “I begin a conversation in a friendly way. My attitude and approach to others is consistently positive, affirming, and kind.”
  10. “I ask open-ended questions (who, what, where, when, how, why?) to learn more about the people I meet. I am naturally curious.”
  11. “I enjoy silence. I think twice and speak once or not at all.”
  12. “I let other people feel the idea was theirs. I often give credit away. I build other people’s confidence and esteem. I grow people.”

Imagine what would happen and how your relationships might change if you read these 12 goals twice a day for 30 days? Better still, record them and store them on your iPhone and listen to them 10 times a day!

You just might win way more friends and influence everyone you meet, professionally and personally. But that wouldn’t work where you live ... or would it?

I kind of miss that old service truck. Come to think of it, I kind of miss audio cassettes too ... you know, twisting the reel to make certain it plays right. OK, not really. Now where did I put my iPhone?

Communication is an invaluable tool for technicians, or anyone in a service business. To learn more about communications and selling, visit EGIA.org/ACHR-Techselling and download a free training package replete with online courses, a step-by-step guide to the perfect service call, industry research, and much more.

Publication date: 4/22/2019

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