Dale Carnegie once wrote for American Magazine the life story of a certain New York banker. He asked on of the banker’s friends to explain the reason for his success. No small amount of it, the friend said, was due to the man’s winning smile.
At first, Carnegie thought that may sound like exaggeration, but he came to believe it to be really true. Other men in the same profession, perhaps hundreds of them, may have had more experience and as good financial judgment, but this particular man had an additional asset they didn’t possess—he had a most agreeable personality. And a warm, welcoming smile was one of the striking features of it. It gained one’s confidence immediately. It secured one’s good will instantly. We all want to see a man or woman like that succeed; and it is a real pleasure to give them our patronage.
“He who cannot smile,” says a Chinese proverb, “ought not to keep a shop.” This is as true for a person behind a counter as it is for someone in front of an audience. In “Influencing Human Behavior,” Professor Overstreet observes “Like begets like.”
“If we are interested in our audience,” he says, “there is a likelihood that our audience will be interested in us. If we scowl at our audience, there is the likelihood that inwardly or outwardly they will scowl at us. If we are timid and rather flustered, they likewise will lack confidence in us. If we are brazen and boastful, they will react with their own self-protective egotism. Even before we speak, very often, we are condemned or approved. There is every reason, therefore, that we should make certain that our attitude is such as to elicit warm response.”
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