OK, let me narrow that down a little bit, because I know at least a few of you reading this are thinking you could give me a whole list.
I'm thinking of something specific, but let me give you a little background first.
A couple of weeks ago I was covering a sporting event. Big building, hundreds of people, and there I am minding my own business when some fine young man comes barreling out of a doorway and bumps into me.
I offer my apologies and try to go on my way, but this young fella had other ideas.
Specifically, he wanted to tell me that him rushing out of a door without looking is something I really need to work on.
I'll paint you a picture:
He's about 23. I'm not.
He's about 5'6". I'm not.
He's about 135 pounds. I'm not.
He's spent the day, shall we say, enjoying a liquid diet. I have not.
What it all boiled down to was that this guy did not like me and I spent the next hour or so trying to figure out why. What could I do to make this young man my friend?
I think I figured it out. I need to make some changes.
That bit of introspective thinking made me remember a book I bought years ago, so I've spent the past several days rummaging through boxes and shelves looking for my secret of happiness and self confidence, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie.
The inside jacket tells it all: "The sole purpose of this book is to help you (me) solve the biggest problem you face: the problem of getting along with and influencing people in your everyday, business and social contacts."
A quick look over the table of contents told me I had a lot of work to do, but trying to streamline the process, I decided to go right for the jugular- "Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You."
The first section outlined what to do to be welcome anywhere. I assume anywhere includes hallways of arenas, so off I went.
Mr. Carnegie opens with a touching story of his dog Tippy who was killed by lightning. I thought to myself, great, the way to be liked is to electrocute obnoxious drunks, but unfortunately, upon further reading, the gist of the story dealt with the question of, if you died tonight, who would come to your funeral?
Not as much fun as disposing of a drunk with car batteries and jumper cables, but a good question anyway.
So who would come to my funeral? I could name at least 15 people, but nine of them would be there just to collect the money I owe them, and the other six would be there just to make sure I was gone.
A few pages later, I found a business card of mine from about 20 years ago stuck in as a bookmark. Evidently I had already read this and it did no good, so I skipped ahead to the next section: "A simple Way to make a Good First Impression."
First suggestion? Smile. OK, sounds like a good idea.
Next, he suggested that posture plays a part in first impressions. A man should draw his chin in, carry the crown of his head high, fill hislungs with air, and drink in sunshine.
Try it. I'll wait......
Done? Don't know about you, but tucking in my chin, tilting my head up, taking in a deep breath, all while trying to smile and drink the sun is a sure way to hyperventilate and fall over the coffee table.
The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced old Dale should have explored the electrocution theory just a little bit more.