A bachelor friend of Dale Carnegie, about forty years old, became engaged, and his fiancée persuaded him to take some dancing lessons. “The Lord knows I needed dancing lessons,” confessed the friend, “for I danced just as I did when I first started twenty years ago. The first teacher I engaged probably told me the truth. She said I was all wrong, I would just have to forget everything and begin all over again. But that took the heart out of me. I had no incentive to go on. So I quit her.”
“The next teacher may have been lying; but I liked it. She said nonchalantly that my dancing was a bit old-fashioned perhaps, but the fundamentals were all right, and she assured me I wouldn’t have any trouble learning a few new steps. The first teacher had discouraged me by emphasizing my mistakes. This new teacher did the opposite. She kept praising the things I did right and minimizing my errors. ‘You have a natural sense of rhythm,’ she assured me. ‘You really are a natural born dancer.’”
The friend came away from the second teacher’s encouragement knowing he was a better dancer than he would have been if she hadn’t told him he had a natural sense of rhythm. That encouraged him. It gave him hope, and made him want to improve.
If you want to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment, remember Dale Carnegie’s rule of using encouragement. Make the fault you want to correct seem easy to correct; make the thing you want the other person to do seem easy to do.
Here’s a short video that demonstrates this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Central & Southern New Jersey:
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