Part 2 Chapter 4

  • "I met a distinguished botanist at a dinner party given by a New York book publisher. I had never talked with a botanist before, and I found him fascinating,. I literally sat on the edge of my chair and listened while he spoke of exotic plants and experiments in developing new forms of plant life and indoor gardens (and even told me astonishing facts about the humble potato). I had a small indoor garden of my own-and he was good enough to tell me how to solve some of my problems. Midnight came. I said good night to everyone and departed. The botanist then turned to our host and paid me several flattering complements. I was "most stimulating." I was this and I was that and he ended by saying I was a "most interesting conversationalist." An interesting conversationalist? Why. I has said hardly anything at all. But I had done this: I has listened intently. I had listened because I was genuinely interested. And he felt it."

As an introvert I can see where this principle can be of great benefit. A lot of party or group conversations seem to revolve around people trying to "one-up" each other. When I'm in a group of people I don't know I tend to just hang back and because of being anxious try to avoid one on one conversations.

And as Dale Carnegie shows in the book, it is also a great way to deal with unhappy costumers. He tells several stories of how non-defensive listening calmed and satisfied irate costumers. For me it is extremely difficult to not be defensive when someone is launching an unprovoked attack. One way I see to approach this is to take the situation as I am the one that can solve their problem. They have waded through the swamp of incompetence and have finally made it to the person that can help. But, they must tell of the horrible journey to get there. (And knowing some of the people they've had to deal with before they got to me, I would feel the same way).

  • "If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back and even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other persons is talking, don't wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence. People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener."

Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.


Scott Edward Jacobs said...

This is a useful principle, and one that should be shared more widely.

Today I had to lead a discussion group, and I essentially just engaged in active listening the whole time...

It went great!

MikeB said...

I think because of our competetive natures we get caught up in having to show people what we know. It's a lot less work and mre satisfying just to let other people do the talking.

I glad the discussion group went great!