What if I could give you six simple tips on building self-confidence and influencing people which will virtually double your audiences, leave them watning more, and practically handing you everything they have just to get you to speak to them again… you’d be interested, right? Well let’s dive into today’s book report and Dale Carnegie’s message found in How to Develop Self-confidence and Influence People by Public Speaking.
If you have never read his work before, you will really like reading Dale Carnegie. He has a very palatable style, for the most part, and an ingenuity towards his prose which often is felt more when shared than when read. For example, have you ever found it strange that other’s will ignore feedback and or advice when you give it, but when the recipient learns that you learned this stuff from such-n-such book/author, it seems to bare more weight for the both of you? That’s how reading Dale Carnegie feels, weighter when shared.
Now, how I came by this book was when I found a yard sale going on during the COVID-19 Quarantine. The old guy running it didn’t seem to care about social distance or face masks, as I could smell his teeth practically rotting in his mouth. If I hadn’t known he lived in the shabby, rundown, overgrown house, I’d assumed him some homeless man camping out on an abandoned property fencing what ever garbage he pulled out of others’ trashcans just to make a couple bucks.
So you can imagine my suprise when I found this aged book lying in all the junk he had heaped in piles and old milk crates. What was more shocking to me was he sold the book for less than the cover price of thirty-five cents! A whopping Quarter! What a deal, right? Come to think of it, he probably should have kept the book and learned a thing or two from it… he seemed to need the advice it contains more than I do. But then again, I was influenced by this book.
Dale CArnegies’ experience as a life coach (before there were even such things as life coaches), and as a public speaking coach made him an absolute power-house to teach readers about what makes for confident public speaking. He touts thousands of hours helping others understand othe basics, the fundamentals, of presenting your message to others. I can only imagine the poor lads and ladies who often had sought him out for his specialized help. They probably paid a small fortune to have his personalized help, but I was able to get his insights for only a Quarter. What’s more is that I get to keep his work for as long as I live, may what I learn be of use to you.
So what did I learn that was so valuable, that’s probably what you are asking right now. Quite a bit actually. Each morning, after doing my early exercises and meditation, I would take up this book digest bite-sized chucks until I had entirely understood his text. Then I would take those insights with me as I went about my day. You must understand that I pondering, reflecting, and reinforcing his ideas have changed my life and I know that they will change yours.
Six Tips to Develop Self-Confidence
How you look matters more than you think…
What I learned, first and foremost, is that humans are immensly visual creatures. A large portion of our brain is dedicated to making judgements about what we see around us. And when you put yourself infront of others’ eyes, you open your self to the judgement making machine that is the human brain. So: Dress well! Maybe not in a tux or wedding gown, unless it is the occasion, but dressing shabby will lower your opinion of your self and how your audience sees you too.
…how you look determines what others think.
…dressing shabby will lower your opinion of your self…Alixander Court
If it isn’t your motto…
Now, as people, who are very visual and judgmental, people are experts at smelling BS. Your audience will smell it the moment it comes up, and you are going to feel the heat when you try to pass that off on your listeners. The only way you can bypass your audience’s sense for BS is to do what the bull-shitters don’t: Prepare you message in advance! When you take the time to prepare your message for others, they will sense the care you have put into your message.
…it should be.
when you have taken care of your message, your audience will feel like you have taken care of them. So how much time do you need to prepare, is probably what you are asking. A week, a month, a year, what ever it takes for you to practice your message until you will instinctively feel confident when it comes time to deliver your message. And trust me, your audience will feel confidence in you too.
To know thy self is good…
But how do you prepare for delivering your message? Don’t you fret, I will help you with that too. Repeat after me: Know what you are going to say before you say it! This is of course easier said than done, obviously, but when you memorize the facts, learn to paraphrase what you’ve learned, craft analogies and stories to make sense of your expertise… isn’t this what people do who know what they are talking about? The answer is yes, that is what people who know what they are talking about do.
…to know thy message is better…
If I haven’t made it clear to you yet on how you can build self-confidence and influence people, let’s get down to the most essential tip you have to remember: Speak simply, but not like an idiot! No one wants to listen to a bumbling idiot -that’s part of why we avoid our bosses so much… Okay, I’m joking. But at the same time, we hate when our bosses talk down to us and treat us like we are idiots. How much better it is when we speak simply with our friends. This is what your audience wants for you. And who influences us more than our friends?
…and to speak simply is best…
Stay with me now. I know there is a ton to think about when it comes to building self-confidence and influencing people. If you will stay with me, you will learn the most interesting thing I read in the whole book. If you want to radically influence people, listen to what Mr. E.F. Benson has to say about how your audience sees you before you ever get up to deliver your message. He says that the audience must, “…rely on the speaker to supply the enthusiasm and interest.” It is your job to stay interested in your message from the start, middle, and end. When you will stay interested in your message, your audience will be interested too!
…but to be interesting is king!
“Remember that.”Dale Carnegie
So now that you know the beginning, the middle, how do you end your message? I’ve got you covered there too. If you cannot call people to action, which is what influencing people means, leave them entertained! The most powerful way that you can leave people entertained is by leaving them with an important quote from someone important/memorable/celebrated, or a poem. For example, and you probably know this one by heart:
Answer the Call!
I am certain that some of these simple tips will, if followed, have a profound impact on the way you deliver your next message. And becuase you have showed up here, looking for a way to quickly build up your self-confidence, you will surely make the changes that people need you to make in order to influence them.
All it takes, in the end, is curating your image, crafting your message, and consequently practicing the craft right up until the time to deliver your message to your audience. The choice, of course, is yours: master your message, or don’t. So choose! Go down the road more traveled and totally blow it, or when you see those two roads diverge, take the one less traveled by!