Thursday, September 11, 2008

Scott Adams on Dale Carnegie's technique

On day one, our instructor described the method he would use. It was simple to the point of making me think it couldn't work. The Dale Carnegie approach to teaching public speaking is to compliment the speaker for whatever he or she does well, and never mention any flaws.

That's it. That's the entire technique.

The theory is that when you focus on flaws, you don't address the underlying problem of being uncomfortable in front of people. If you tell someone to take his hands out of his pockets, he will, but he'll transfer his nervous habit to some other mannerism. At best, you end up with robotic speakers afraid to do something wrong. I had already taken a few public speaking classes that focused on flaws, and I can confirm that the successful graduates were a bit like R2D2.

Frequently wrong, never in doubt » What Would Dad Say
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