Search This Blog

Monday, July 24, 2017

What was that Question?

Perhaps you have read the classic personal development bestseller, How to Win Friends and Influence People. First published in 1936 and written by Dale Carnegie, the book has sold more than 30 million copies worldwide. I read it many years ago.

An entire course has been built around this book. Warren Buffett reportedly took the course at the age of twenty. Thousands upon thousands of successful people have benefited from it as well. Dale Carnegie training courses abound today.

A number of the principles in this best seller advise on how to engage others. Such as…
  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. 
  • Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

Seems like basic stuff. And to most good communicators, it is. Carnegie’s techniques, once developed, are very helpful to sales people in particular.

I thought about Carnegie’s book when I saw this recent article, “Do These 5 Emotionally Intelligent Things Within 5 Minutes of Meeting Someone.”

It’s written by Harvey Deutschendorf, an emotional intelligence expert, author, and speaker. He must have read the Carnegie classic.

Here’s a quick summary of his big five:
  1. Show genuine enthusiasm for meeting.
  2. Offer a compliment.
  3. Ask at least two open-ended questions.
  4. Find something you share.
  5. Say their name before you leave, and commit key facts to memory.

So I’ll say it again. This seems like very basic stuff. But you can believe it, because Harvey is an “emotional intelligence expert.”

Harvey Deutschendorf’s reasons for encouraging you to develop these skills is to help you form deeper, closer relationships with others. The key to this is likability with obvious career benefits. “Being likable,” claims Harvey, “and liking your coworkers in return—can increase your chances of getting promoted.” Thus, the real issue is self interest.

Contrast this with another growing purpose of good people skills. Winning people over to the faith!

I recently interviewed Randy Newman, the author of Questioning Evangelism: Engaging People’s Hearts the Way Jesus Did. The book has had a couple of re-releases over the years. Newman’s basic thesis is that in our society of today, questions are better than answers.

He adds to this perspective by saying he hopes his book serves as a catalyst to developing “a different way of thinking about people, their questions, and our message. And because of that difference, our evangelistic conversations will sound less content/persuasion driven and more relationship/understanding driven.”

And then there’s Q Place based in the Chicago area. This organization exists to mobilize Christians to facilitate group discussions with spiritual seekers. As part of their mission description, they state: “We envision Christians all over the world inviting people into small groups to question, discover, and grow in their relationship with God.” Obviously, the “Q” stands for questions.

As Newman points out, and most in the Christian faith know, Jesus of Nazareth loved to ask questions. When religious leaders asked him whether they should pay taxes to Caesar, Jesus requested to see a coin. Then he asked whose face was on the coin. And his classic response, “Give the Emperor what belongs to him and give God what belongs to God.” (Matthew 22:21, CEV)

Whether in business or in a ministry effort, you simply cannot lose by taking a sincere interest in others. Learning to ask good questions is a great relationship building tool. (I make my living at it!)

These skills will likely help you win friends. And hopefully, you can become a person of significant influence.

That’s The Way WE Work. Click on the link to the right to connect via Facebook.

Let’s Talk with Mark Elfstrand can be heard weekdays from 4-6 PM Central. To listen outside the Chicago area, tune to for live streaming or podcasts, or download the AM1160 app.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.