By Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP
How to Win Friends and Influence People is more than a politician’s ultimate goal, it’s also a book! All kidding aside, it’s a very old book, but the teachings are both time tested and life changing. The three main principles are:
- Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
- Show honest, sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in people an eager want.
The first principle is by far the hardest. I’ll admit it, it’s hard to even imagine not ever complaining about anyone or anything. The third principle reveals that, when we seek to influence another’s behavior, it is better to create a scenario in which the person wants to engage in that behavior.
For now, let’s look at principle #2. This principle has profoundly changed the way I look at the world. When we seek to show sincere, honest appreciation to another person, we have to pause and think about what we are grateful for. We begin to notice the small things others do, and how their actions have a little ripple effect on the happiness of ourselves and those around them.
This principle inspired Stephen to thank whoever was helping him, with the question, “Has anyone told you you’re appreciated today?” The question is almost always met with the disbelieving response “no.” His reply is always the same, “Well, I appreciate you __ (fill in name).”
We have also used this with people that we see on a regular basis. This is where I can see that appreciating the little things people do has increased my awareness of other’s awesomeness. This has made it easier to encourage others, and helps me consider how to best support each person in my life, as they are on their way to becoming their best self.
Your super-power is the ability to affect other’s lives, and this includes our staff here, our families, their teachers, and of course, our students.
Try thinking about ways you appreciate what others do, people you see every day, and those you may never see again: your cashier, barista, banker, or librarian.
Intentions are powerful, may we always use them for good.
Rachel Betzen, M.A., CCC/SLP, is a licensed speech-language therapist and is the founder and owner of Dallas Reading and Language Service