Deb Sofield


Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was happy to see you?

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Wouldn’t it be great if everyone was happy to see you? I mean really happy to see you every time you came around.

Recently I saw a photo online of the most adorable little boy who was at an amusement park where he met someone in a costume who looked just like Tinker Bell. She was beautiful and looked very kind and sweet as she kneeled down to hug him and speak to him, and the look on his face for his parents’ camera is so full of happiness, glee, thrill, elation, excitement and pure joy.

When I posted the photo on Facebook, I got hundreds of likes because it is such a joyful visual, and it got me to thinking how great it would be if every time you and I showed up at an event people we’re genuinely glad to see us, as if there was something about us that made people smile, look forward to our company or just be happy that we showed up.

The great news is you can become such a person. It doesn’t take much. Now for some it might be a new view of the old you, but you can become the person that everyone hopes will show up for the dinner, the ballgame, the bike ride or any work event.

A week or so ago, my guest on the show was Matt Mlynarczyk, and when I asked about a book that had changed his life, he told me his favorite was the old standard How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. This is an old book—it’s been around a while, and is one of the first best-selling self-help books ever published. It was written in1936; it has sold 15 million copies worldwide and is still considered the standard for those who want to change their world or how others perceive them.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, says that billionaire, Warren Buffet, took the Dale Carnegie course, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” when he was 20 years old and to this day has the diploma in his office. I’m not surprised, since these rules are timeless, and if you want to get ahead in life you and I would do well to dust off that old book and put it back into practice for our success—not only our personal success, but also our gift of kindness that we show others by becoming a person of good will.

I have read the book many times as it is a standard in most speakers’ libraries, and I read it now as a reminder that as a speaker, trainer, and coach I have an obligation to serve those who come to hear me speak, and I believe that in any line of work you have the same obligation.

Wikipedia has listed some of the main ideas in this book in a simple outline and, as I was browsing the list, I came upon the few points that Matt had mentioned on the show. Now I know that Matt did not have the book with him when he was in town, but he has mastered these rules and that is why I see him at most events in his role as the go-to-guy, master of ceremonies, the guy who smooths things out and gets things done behind the scenes so others look successful. My friend Matt has taken this book to heart and it goes well past his personal charm to his character in being a true gentleman.

If you’ll remember (on the show), he mentioned some ways to get people to like you and his rules are right out of the book.

  • Become genuinely interested in other people. (I love the line, Curious people are boring, and boring people are seldom curious.)
  • Smile. Say what you want but a smile goes a long way.
  • Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves, and don’t worry, once you start that conversation, they will take the ball and run and then say how nice it was to talk to you.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. There is nothing more disrespectful than always pushing your agenda.
  • Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely. Not hard to do, but it does take practice.

I am drawn to the parts of the book that talk about ways to handle people for success:

  • Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
  • Give honest and sincere appreciation.

I love the parts of the book that help sway people to your way of thinking. Now these are just a few of the timeless ideas that Dale Carnegie came up with about 75 years ago, and if you can remember that far back, you know the world was very different then. Let me touch on a few Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking:

  • The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  • Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re Wrong.”
  • If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  • Begin in a friendly way.
  • Start with questions to which the other person will answer, yes.

(The yes technique is something I teach when I work with executives and those running for public office.)

  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  • Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

So by now I hope you will go and find your copy or go and buy a copy of How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie and begin to read it for your personal growth and success. Now, with any book that is of this age, some things are not relevant to today’s environment, but for the most part it’s a good read.

Let me give you a final reason to pick up your copy of the book. You’ll probably only be able to find the revised copy from 1981 where they say the new revised edition contains updated language and anecdotes. The revised edition reduced the number of sections of the book from 6 to 4, eliminating sections on effective business letters and improving marital satisfaction. (They probably should have left those parts in!)

Twelve Things This Book Will Do For You

  1. Get you out of a mental rut, give you new thoughts, new     visions and new ambitions—just like my weekly radio show.
  2. Enable you to make friends quickly and easily.
  3. Increase your popularity.
  4. Help you to win people to your way of thinking.
  5. Increase your influence, your prestige and your ability to get       things done. He will also tell you to clean up your life and clear out the clutter so you can have new space for new     ideas
  6. Enable you to win new clients and new customers.
  7. Increase your earning power.
  8. Make you a better salesman and a better executive.
  9. Help you to handle complaints, avoid arguments, and keep your human contacts smooth and pleasant.
  10. Make you a better speaker, a more entertaining
  11. Make the principles of psychology easy for you to apply in your daily contacts.
  12. Help you to arouse enthusiasm among your associates.

Okay, I hope you buy or dust off the book and, if my photo on this week’s newsletter inspires you to do one thing, I hope it is this—to make you stop and think about how others view you and what you would have to do, so that when others see you, they are so full of joy and happiness that you showed up it just makes their day brighter.

My guest on this weeks show was Miss South Carolina, Lanie Hudson, and if there is one thing that I see over and over it’s how when a Miss SC contestant walks into a classroom or hospital (or really any place in public) how the little kids are enamored with seeing a real live princess, because she wears a crown and is kind and is beautiful in spirit and heart.

It is probably one of the most heartwarming events to witness when you see a child look wide-eyed with wonder on just who is this person with a crown? Little girls want to be her, and little boys want to grow up and marry her. I see it played out hundreds of times a year when I am out with the girls.

Many of you know that for years I had a business as an interview coach for all types of Pageants, from the Watermelon Queen to the Cherry queen, Little Miss, Miss America, Miss USA, the Rodeo Queen and many others. I’ll bet you didn’t know it is such a big business, and if you know me, you might wonder…how on earth did Deb Sofield get into the business?

Well let me tell you a quick story. Many years ago, a sponsor for the pageant business approached me and suggested that, since I was so good with kids and knew politics and current events and history, I should consider being a pageant interview coach, to which I said, “You’re kidding me! No way. I grew up a tomboy with all brothers.” I had never even seen a pageant! Well, I was convinced to take on one girl and I’ll never forget, her name was Holly Thompson, she was very pretty and nice and when she walked on stage all the guys would yell, “Hollelujah!” Well, she didn’t win, and I am very competitive, so as I was sitting in the audience I thought to myself …my next client is going to win this event. So I learned the ropes and, sure enough, after a few tries I had my 1st Miss South Carolina winner and then I had another, and then a Miss SC Teen who went on to win a national title as Miss America’s Outstanding Teen. I was hooked! I went from greatest skeptic to biggest fan, once I learned how great the pageants are for girls. Many of them would not have the opportunity to go to college without the pageant scholarship funding. It also teaches young girls self esteem, to excel in a talent, to speak on stage, work on physical fitness and learn current events to maintain a conversation with a judge. Unfortunately, TV has made the pageant world out to be a negative thing, but if you really knew how it changes lives, you’d be pleasantly surprised. My girls will win every job interview they try for and move up the ladder in the workplace since they know how to conduct themselves at the table, in meetings and with others. They have (in a sense) gone to finishing school—something that many young women today could never afford.

I like to tell the story that I went from a good coach to a great coach when one day my client leaned across the table and said, “Miss Deb, you’re my ticket out of the trailer park…” Wow! And I was, if she could just win a pageant, she could get enough money to go to college and be the first in her family to go and graduate and get a good job. I have to laugh when my D.C. or N.Y.C. friends scoff at my pageant work, until I ask them how many girls they have sent to college. Silence. To date, I have probably helped over 45 girls go on to school and make their dreams come true.

At one time I was one of the top interview coaches in the southeast, since I have so many winners across the country. All that to say, my guest on this week’s show (a client and friend) was another Miss South Carolina, and I know you will be amazed at her story to the crown and what it means to her and her family, so please listen to the podcast. You might remember that I touched on her story a few months ago when she won, and I am so glad she was able to come by the studio.

Deb Sofield

Deb Sofield is a Keynote Speaker, Author of the book, Speak without Fear – Rock Star Presentation Skills to get People to Hear What You Say and Encouragement For Your Life ~ Tough Love Memos to Help You Fight Your Battles and Change the World, Radio Talk Show Host in the Salem Network, Podcaster and President of her own Executive Speech Coaching Co., which trains women and men for success in speaking, crisis communications, presentation skills, media and message development in the U.S. and abroad.

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