Standing in the locker room at the WXYZ Channel 7 studios, I was talking with a few friends about the interviews we had just taped. To raise awareness about prostate cancer, we had grown mustaches and anchor Stephen Clark had just taped us shaving the mustaches off for a story he was going to broadcast that night.
We were discussing how strange our freshly shorn upper lips felt and lamenting how poorly they felt the interviews went. Despite my assurances that they did well, they insisted they had not and started asking why I seemed so comfortable.
My answer was simple, Dale Carnegie training.
During both the Sales Advantage course and the Effective Communications & Human Relations courses, I had ample opportunity to practice. The instructors praised the good points in each speaker, so I could learn from the good habits of others. In-class exercises emphasized different elements of speaking and made each lesson palatable by breaking them into small, easy-to-understand chunks.
The best part about refining my public speaking skills in a Dale Carnegie class was the environment. On the days I thought I was terrible, the instructor always found something to praise. My classmates supported my efforts and would pull me aside after class to tell me how well I had done. They all celebrated when I broke out of my shell and won the Box Factory Championship. Most importantly, they allowed me to make the mistakes I needed to make so I could learn, and none of them thought any less of me for it.
That supportive environment helped me stay calm at the television station with the bright lights and a camera in my face. My compatriots and I did well, our story aired and all of us had at least a bit of our interviews in the piece. After the story, we raised another $800 for prostate cancer research. As I shared with my friends that day, I’m grateful for the Dale Carnegie courses!
A grad student studying Training and Development at Oakland University, David Lingholm is also a writer for the Detroit Regional News Hub. In his spare time, he serves on the board of the Maple Valley Memorial Scholarship Foundation, an organization his grandparents helped found almost 25 years ago. He is also the Treasurer of the First Unitarian Universalist Church of Detroit and the Chair of the Advisory Board for Operation: Kid Equip.
If you can’t find him at any one of these locations, chances are he’s at Motor City Brew Works unwinding and thinking about his next whitewater rafting trip!