When I signed up for the Dale Carnegie Course, hosted by Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan, acting “silly” was never something I’d envisioned as part of the program. I pictured hour-long lectures filled with best practices, tips and strategies from Dale Carnegie, followed by five-minute speeches based on sometimes yawn-inducing workplace issues.
Boy, was I wrong.
I’ve truly had to put on my acting hat as a student in this class, and along with that comes dramatization and sometimes acting downright goofy. We involve props, other group members, and even the occasional rubber chicken (but you’ll have to take the class to find out what what’s all about). However, acting goofy and pretending to be something you’re not for a night has many benefits, including:
- I almost never glance at the clock. If this was any other 3 ½ hour class, say at a university, most students would be nodding off or texting their BFF to stave off the boredom.
- Yes, sometimes I’m pushed out of my comfort zone to become a more persuasive, effective speaker. But you know what? So are the other 30 people in my classroom. It’s very much a “We’re in this together” type of mentality, in that we are united in our vulnerability. Much of the stress that speaking in front of a group of people comes from the fear of the unknown — what will they think of me? Will I trip and say something stupid? Are they judging me based on the story I’m telling about a not-so-nice experience I’ve had? But when everyone in the room has the same goal, it all of a sudden becomes easier to put yourself out there.
- Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, taking risks in the bubble of my Dale Carnegie classroom setting means setting the stage for taking risks in my personal and professional life. So often we can fall into a rut — at home and at work — where the status quo simply becomes “good enough.” But no one’s ever done something great by resting on his or her laurels. Taking calculated risks and thinking outside of the box often translates into bigger ideas that push your company forward and could potentially increase revenue.
The moral of the story is that while acting silly or taking risks may not be on your to-do list today, perhaps it’s time to think about incorporating it into your work week from now on. (And maybe if you’ve forgotten how to do that, it’s time for a refresher course through Dale Carnegie Training. Just saying!)