Dale Carnegie knew that calling attention indirectly to someone’s mistakes works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism. In his book, “How to Develop Self Confidence & Influence People by Public Speaking,” he tells the story of Marge Jacob of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, who told one of Carnegie’s classes how she convinced some sloppy construction workers to clean up after themselves when they were building additions to her house.
For the first few days of the work, when Mrs. Jacob returned from her job, she noticed that the yard was strewn with the cut ends of lumber. She didn’t want to antagonize the builders, because they did excellent work. So after the workers had gone home, she and her children picked up and neatly piled all the lumber debris in a corner.
The following morning she called the foreman to one side and said, “I’m really pleased with the way the front lawn was left last night; it is nice and clean and does not offend the neighbors.”
From that day forward the workers picked up and piled the debris to one side, and the foreman came in each day seeking approval of the condition the lawn was left in after a day’s work.
By appealing to the workers’ sense of pride and offering genuine praise and honest appreciation, Mrs. Jacob brought about the desired results without having to resort to issuing directives.
Here’s an example of this important principle in action from your friends at Dale Carnegie Training of Michigan:
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Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net/stuart miles