It was about twelve years ago that I met my friend Joe Rich. When I met Joe, he spent some evenings instructing classes at the Dale Carnegie Institute and I noticed something about him that I think very well may have come from his training there. In almost every context, Joe would always greet people by saying, “Happy Thursday!” or whatever day of the week it was. “Good morning. Happy Thursday!” he would say to a sales clerk, for example. He would also almost always make sure to make use of the person’s name when speaking with them, even if it was a sales clerk he had just met — another neat Dale Carnegie insight. Using the Happy Day expression is one I ended up taking as my own and started using regularly — though in my last job I had to briefly stop because my supervisor told me that he found it to be irritating!
On my way to the train one morning, I noticed that there was a new person handing out copies of AM New York, one of the two free newspapers in New York City — the other one being Metro NY. He had a great call out which was almost infectious in its enthusiasm. “AM New York! Get your FREE newspaper! On your way to work — or on your way to school — or just on your way!”1 The very first day that I walked by him and took the newspaper that he was handing me, I looked him square in the eye and said, “Thank you! Happy Monday!” and walked away as he thanked me back.
Not a single day has gone by since then without his extending a happy day of the week to me upon seeing me and handing me the paper. Me, mind you — I have noticed that it is just me to whom he extends this greeting. There could be a crowd of about a hundred people coming out of the bus toward the subway and he will make sure to greet me this way.
Two words can make a big difference.
1. I actually asked him once if this call out was something he had thought of himself and he said that he did — and I complimented him on how brilliant, simple, and catchy it was.↩