How do you become a genius at a family gathering or on social media? A tip from Dwight Eisenhower.


Dwight Eisenhower

A professor of mine told a story in class one day about Dwight Eisenhower.

According to him, when Eisenhower was a young officer assigned to a general’s staff, the general threw a party for all the bigwigs.  He invited Eisenhower as a courtesy and to give him a chance to  mingle with some of the top brass.

At the party, one of the other generals approached Eisenhower’s boss and said, “Where did you get that young officer, Eisenhower?  He is the most brilliant conversationalist I have ever heard.”

When he had a chance, the general who hosted the party took Eisenhower aside and asked him, “What did you talk about with that other general?  He said you were a genius.”

Eisenhower looked down at his feet before he spoke.

“I just asked the general to tell me about himself,” he said.

Dwight Eisenhower as a young officer

There’s a lot of truth in that story.

At Christmas, we spend time with friends and family we may not see again until next Christmas, if then.  We have a few hours to catch up with a year in their lives. How do we spend it?  Do we talk about ourselves or let them tell us what is happening in their worlds?

There is also a direct application of the Eisenhower story to the world of social media.

If you want to impress people, become a good listener. Be willing to learn from others. Spend less time blowing your own horn, and let someone else have the floor.

That strategy served Dwight Eisenhower pretty well.

I bet it still works.

(Stephen Woodfin is an attorney and author of legal thrillers and murder mysteries.)





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