As I often do, I went out for dinner tonight with myself and a book. My waiter was a big burly young guy with a weightlifter physique and a bunch of decent tattoos and a pleasant demeanor. Other than his size, he had the potential to be utterly forgettable, because he never told me who he was. About halfway through my meal, I asked him if I could offer an observation and he agreed. I told him I had worked in a lot of different occupations including sales and managing businesses, and that he should always introduce himself, even if he was wearing a nametag (which he was not). By doing so, he becomes a person instead of a non-entity, or a restaurant fixture. I believe when you do this, not only do you become part of the customer's pleasant experience, but they will be more patient and tip better. They both realize that you aren't afraid of them and that you want them to enjoy their visit. I could see the light pop on in his head and he said, "I'm Seth."
I like to think I have good people skills. Overcoming various personal adversity and spending a lot of years observing people definitely contributed. Being a voracious reader and being exposed vicariously and through meandered down the road less traveled in real life to a lot of different environments and personality types has helped too. So has learning from my mistakes. If hindsight is 20/20 why do we make the same ones so many times?
I sold Chevy and Cadillacs in 1987 and my Sales Manager gave me a copy of the book, How to Sell Anything to Anybody by Joe Girard and Stanley H. Brown. It was a game-changer and is still very recommended. I still have the book and its sequel, How to Sell Yourself to Anyone. Joe was the Guinness Book of World Records' World's Greatest Salesman. Every interaction you will ever have with any other individual, bar none, is sales.
When I was a police officer the book, Verbal Judo: The Gentle Art of Persuasion, Updated Edition by George J. Thompson and Jerry B. Jenkins. I spent almost five years on the job. I had very few physical alterations and never had to hit, shoot, beat, or pepper spray anyone and I was a very active officer with an excellent arrest and conviction rate. I peaceably dealt with the same people my coworkers had to fight on a regular basis, but I utilized more tools and did so more effectively than many of them. I had a vested interest in helping people. Many of the tools in the book were invaluable. So were sales techniques and the magic phrase, "I can understand that."
Our job here is to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. To interact and to leave the world a better place then we found it. We don't need fancy titles or degrees to mentor people and it can and should happen anywhere and everywhere. It's easy to complain about the ignorance and entitlement of Today's youth. It's even easier to connect and try to be helpful and bring us closer together instead of dividing us as individuals and as a nation further apart.
My name is Dave "Rock" Cowles. Thank you for reading my blog today.
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