One of the very best communication classes I ever took in college was with an instructor that had a good academic background from Stanford, but more important, he was one of Dale Carnegie's initial cohort of trainers.
A member of and past president of Toastmasters International, Sheldon Hayden loved to speak, and I'm sure he was most gratified by the adoration he received from pleased-as-punch audiences.
One of the secrets to his success as a speech teacher was the fact that at each class, every student had to deliver at least one brief talk. Add those one-minute chats to the formal speeches which we also had to deliver, and this meant during a semester we would be giving somewhere around twenty-five speeches.
That is a lot of experience "Popping off on your hind feet," as he used to colloquially call it. With all of those successes under one's belt, how could a student NOT improve?
Frankly, that was impossible. Failure wasn't an option, because if you speak enough, you'll become competent. Speak more, and you'll grow adept. And outdo that level of performance, and you'll excel, and probably learn to enjoy it, immensely, as I did.
I have come to embrace and apply this principle, also known as The Law of Large Numbers, to nearly every endeavor. If you're a salesperson, make more contacts, and they'll turn into more prospects and they will become more sales.
If you are a writer, do a lot of it, more than you ever thought you could.
Sooner or later, you'll feel capable of writing anything, any time.
Someone once defined "luck" as preparation meeting opportunity.
I look at it this way. Prepare a lot, and you'll meet even more opportunities than you ever imagined, creating your own luck along the way.
Watching Mr. Hayden leave our class, hopping into his silver blue Cadillac convertible with white leather interior, navy blazer set off by his shock of white hair, always gave me the impression he was very lucky, indeed, as were those of us that studied with him and emulated his example.
Dr. Gary S. Goodman is a top speaker, negotiation consultant, attorney, real estate broker, TV and radio commentator and the best-selling author of 12 books, including SIX-FIGURE CONSULTING: HOW TO HAVE A GREAT SECOND CAREER. He is the creator of Nightingale-Conant's successful audio seminar: THE LAW OF LARGE NUMBERS: HOW TO MAKE SUCCESS INEVITABLE. He conducts seminars and convention presentations around the world and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org
His original class, "Best Practices in Negotiation," is offered at UCLA & UC Berkeley Extension and at a number of other fine universities and organizations.