Dale Carnegie knew that approaching someone with praise and honest appreciation was a sure way to avoid a confrontation. In his legendary book, “How To Win Friends and Influence People,” he tells the story of Dorothy Day of Garden City, Long Island:
Mrs. Day was to give a luncheon to a small group of friends. It was an important occasion and she was eager to have everything go off smoothly. She trusted in a man named Emil, who was the maitre d’hotel, to coordinate the affair. But on this occasion Emil let her down. The luncheon was a failure and Emil was nowhere to be seen. He had sent only one waiter to take care of the attendees, and the waiter didn’t have the faintest concept of first-class service as he persisted in serving the guest of honor last. Additionally, the meat was tough, and the potatoes were greasy. It was a horrible experience and Mrs. Day was furious.
The next day, however, she happened to attend a lecture on human relationships. As she listened, she realized how futile it would be to give Emil a dressing down. It would just make him sullen and resentful, and kill any desire for him to help her in the future. Beside, she surmised, Emil hadn’t bought the food, nor cooked it. And he couldn’t help it because some of his waiters were not as experienced in first-class service as he thought they were.
So the next day when Dorothy saw Emil she decided to begin in a friendly way. Although Emil was braced for a confrontation, she explained that she didn’t hold him responsible for things he had no control over.
Emil’s face relaxed and he smiled. “Exactly, Madam,” he said, “the trouble was in the kitchen. It was not my fault.”
The following week Emil oversaw another of Dorothy’s parties. This time the table was adorned with two-dozen red roses and Emil was in constant attendance. The food was excellent and hot and the service was perfection. Four waiters instead of one served the entrée, and Emil personally served delicious mints to finish off dinner.
If Dorothy had berated Emil for the first party, would she have gotten the type of service displayed at the second party? Decidedly not! Instead she used praise and honest appreciation to bring about desirable results.
Here’s an example of this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey:
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