When Should You Stop Talking About Yourself? Right Now Would Be A Good Time

In the biggest selling self-help book of all time ['How To Win Friends & Influence People', 1938] Dale Carnegie laid out an invincible plan of action. Which works if you're willing to sell your soul to the other person [client, lover, spouse, whoever]. The core secret is still pitched today in books and on PBS infomercials. Make THEM the most important part of your conversation.

The ideal conversation is usually a 50/50 exchange; but if you look back,chances are it was more like 70/30 with one of you monopolizing the talk. As the old joke has it, Fred was been going on and on, then suddenly adds: "But enough about me, Bill, what do YOU think about me?"

Among Carnegie's sure fire strategies:

* Always use their first name [it's the loveliest sounding word in their lexicon]
* Always defer to their expertise [so what do you think is the best way?]
* Always involve them in the topic [if that were you, how would have done it?]
* Always keep the focus on them [I can see how this would make a big difference for you]

In effect, Carnegie is saying: Stuff your natural inclination to talk about you and what all this has to do with you. One of the worst sins, he notes, is the way we put ourselves into the other person's story. "Wow, that reminds me of how the very same thing happened to me." Hey, they were talking about themselves, and they aren't interested in seeing how their story becomes your story.

Salesmen, diplomats, and boyfriends/girlfriends can all use Carnegie's sell-your-soul strategies with equal effectiveness. The only problem is this. When the day of reckoning comes -- the contract, the treaty, the date, the marriage -- then what do you have left to offer?? Be careful in saluting THEM that you don't lose sight of what YOU have to bring to all this.

And it better be more than nice compliments....

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