Sunday, November 9, 2008

Winning Friends, Influencing People, Giving Bad Speeches

I'm really enjoying my Dale Carn.egie class. Eight weeks down, four to go. It started slow, but each week I like it more, and I'm learning a ton. Every week we start with one or two, two-minute speeches, and each week we vote on two awards. One is for outstanding performance. That is for someone who does great during their speech. The other is for breakthrough performance. That's the one I was awarded last week. Breakthrough performance means: "Eesh, you're pretty terrible, and we haven't been sure you're going to make any progress on this. But tonight you surprised us and did better than really bad. Congratulations." It felt great to get that award.

I'm also really enjoying my Dale Carn.egie reading. We're going through three of his books during the course, and they're all from the 1920's, so they say things like, "To all of you businessmen and housewives out there . . ." I wasn't sure I would enjoy them, but they're great. I'm taking it all in and I'm growing in specific ways, which is incredibly satisfying for me. The course is called Effective Communication and Human Relations. One of the best things about the course is that it's set up in ways that help you bond with your classmates. My class is made up of 15 people, and I'm really enjoying almost all of them. I'm hopeful that I'll stay in touch with several folks after we graduate.

Last week was the famed week eight, where the class goes through an exercise about giving and receiving compliments. We learned how most compliments are about someones possessions or achievements, and that compliments that impact are about a persons traits or specific qualities. Then we got in small groups and did the exercise, and it was really something. I received compliments about being funny, brave, strong, caring and kind. Nice words, but it was the explanations that came with them that impacted me. In DC you have to really back up anything you say with evidence, so each person told a story or gave some kind of proof of the compliment they were giving. I get pounded, not complimented, at work, so this exercise served the dual purpose of teaching me something valuable and really filling my tank. I'm a cynic, but I highly recommend the DC classes. I'm excited to see what I learn from the remaining weeks.

(Dilbert creator, Scott Adams, talks about a DC course, an in particular the week eight exercise, here. The class he took is not the one I'm taking, so it's a little different, but close enough.)


  1. Businessmen and housewives. I wonder which one I am?

  2. It sounds like a very interesting class. Glad you are having fun and learning lots. I haven't taken many classes since I gratuated, and honestly missed the 'school' atmesphere.

  3. Congrats on the recognition by your peers!

    "You did better than really bad"? What if you thought of it as "I feel so comfortable with this subject (or these people) that I can really put it on the line?" maybe that's what happened and people noticed. Either way, very cool.