You Talk Pretty Some Day

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There’s good news for the tongue-tied. If you can spare two days and $1,950, you can be transformed into a smooth-talking master communicator who always knows what to say and how to say it.
Who can perform such a miracle? Bub, it sure ain’t me. The Professor Henry Higgins who will turn your inner Eliza Doolittle into your outer Julie Andrews is Dale Carnegie and his merry minions. “How to Communicate with Diplomacy and Tact” is the name of the Carnegie program that promises this transformation, and since they are so good at talking pretty, let me give you their pitch-perfect sales pitch:
“You’ll gain dexterity and grace in dealing with new or trying situations; recognize how you come across to others; speak honestly and confidently; become conscious of body language; master your emotions; give and receive criticism constructively; present yourself as powerful – not intimidating; and say what you need to say without offending or creating conflict. After completing this 2-day program you’ll be able to say anything to anybody in ways that influence outcomes and create cooperation.”
In other words, you’ll become the smooth-talking slicker you’ve always wanted to be. Still, if the idea of spending two days in any kind of training course gives you the jim-jams, better let me run through the curriculum. This is one course Dale Carnegie designed with inarticulate you in mind.
1. Discover whether your image is sending the wrong message.
Let’s be honest here — the image you are sending is definitely fuzzy and out of focus. On the positive side, wearing your pajamas to the office does send a message that you are relaxed about the deadlines you face, and playing high volume disco music in your cube does tell the world you are up to date with the latest trends. On the negative side, your habits of softly moaning through the work day and breaking into heart-rending sobs at the drop of a pink slip may suggest a lack of confidence in management. Fortunately, this course will teach you how to march through your day standing tall and erect, broadcasting your abilities as if you really had any. Now that’s got to be worth $1,950!
2. Use a tried and true method to disagree agreeably.
Heaven knows you’ve appreciated the helpful candor when your boss calls you a stupid idiot, or suggests that your performance would not impress a dyslexic basset hound. But the abilities that make a super-manager go beyond clarity, and the Carnegie course promises to teach you how to “say what you need to say without offending or creating conflict.” I’m not sure a stupid idiot like you can master these skills as well as I have, you jerk, but sign up anyway. It’s worth a try.
3. Control your hot buttons so you respond instead of react.
You know how you fly off the handle when serious business problems occur, like when they run out of jelly donuts before you get to the Monday staff meeting? This Carnegie course can teach you how to control your hot temper, so the only buttons you push are on the elevator to the top. In the example above, for example, the Carnegie course could teach you to react to this aggravating office situation appropriately by ripping crueler from the jaws of the nearest co-worker, a act of violence, true, but one that you will learn to smoothly excuse by confessing a eating disorder, which will also smoothly explain why you steal your co-workers’ tuna sandwiches from the office refrigerator.
4. Maintain your composure when criticized.
Responding well to criticism is an essential skill. With your work habits, criticism is one thing you’re going to get a lot of. Right now, you would respond to your boss criticizing your harmless habit of sneaking out the fire escape every day at 3 PM by throwing your computer against the wall, knocking down your bookcase, and ripping up the carpet in your cubical. After this Carnegie course, you’ll have the diplomatic skills to confidently and tactfully tell your boss that you appreciate her observational skills, and you know that she is only criticizing you because the company can’t survive without the help of a valuable employee like you. Then you can throw your computer against the wall, knock down your bookcase, and rip up the carpet in your cubical. And don’t forget to beat the boss’s Jaguar into scrap metal with a sledgehammer. Now that’s diplomatic!


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