Dale Carnegie Course: Week 1

This is part of a series on the Dale Carnegie Public Speaking Course.

I started the Dale Carnegie course this week. The first night was an introductory night that seemed designed to just let people settle into the idea of being there, and to think about why. We started off by learning a memory technique for remembering lists of things, linking and chaining, that I’d previously learned about and have used successfully. I haven’t really practised it, though, which appears to be the important bit. This should be obvious: any skill requires practice to get good at it.

This led straight into a technique for finding something you have in common with another person when striking up a conversation. Finding something in common makes it easier to like them, and for them to like you. It also helps to keep the conversation going, since if you’re interested in something, you’re more like to be interested in what the other person has to say. We paired up, and the guy who picked me as his partner for the exercise was at the course for the same reason as me! He is also Scott Adams’ minion and also wants to find a hypnosis course somewhere. We swapped email addresses so if either of us finds one, we can share. How cool is that?

After a break, we went through a technique for how to remember people’s names and spent 25 minutes memorising 26 people’s names. I got all 26 last names right, and all but 4 first names, but it’ll be interested to see how many of them I still remember next week.

I’ve got some homework to do, too. Some reading, some preparation. So far I’d have to say it’s pretty good, though I’m probably more advanced that some others in the class. If you’ve never seen these memory techniques before, the exercise of remembering people’s names would look pretty amazing. I’m happy with a nice, easy start as it helps me to settle into the idea of practising this stuff in front of a room full of strangers. At least, they were before, but now we’re all in this together.

I guess I can see how it all works, but I don’t mind at all. If things continue the way I believe they will (I haven’t peeked ahead in the manual) then this is going to be very worthwhile. My first bit of reading in one of the textbooks has enlightened me already, so it bodes well.

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