The Master of “GoodSpeak”

by Bob Burg
Jupiter, Florida, USA

Have you ever known of someone who sets an example you can learn from, emulate, and utilize for the rest of your life? Such a person is my Dad.

Dad’s ability isn’t only finding the good in everyone, but also verbalizing it. He’s mastered building people both directly and to others. Most people gossip. Dad finds and speaks the good. When he must correct, it’s always with tact and kindness.

Have you ever heard husbands make unkind remarks about their wives? It’s one of those “macho” things. What people don’t realize is that even in jest, words matter. Examples, good and bad, are set, especially for children. Dad always speaks of Mom in the most complimentary, glowing terms. As does she of him. They began poor and built a successful business. Although Dad was the one in the public eye and Mom more comfortable behind the scenes, Dad always made sure everyone knew who he considered to be the true driving force behind the business.

Master of GoodspeakMy favorite “Dad” story took place when I was 12. We were having carpet installed in our home. The crew boss was one of those stereotypical beer-guzzlin’, hard-livin’ guys, who would have probably belonged to Ralph Kramden’s Raccoon Lodge from the old Honeymooner’s TV show. For lunch, my folks bought pizza for the crew. Dad went to talk with the boss about the job. I was around the corner listening.

The boss said, “This is an expensive job. Women will really spend your money, won’t they?”

Dad responded, “Well, I’ll tell you, when they were right there with you before you had any money, it’s a pleasure to do anything for them you possibly can.”

This wasn’t the answer he expected. He was looking for negative talk about wives, which to him was natural. He tried again, “But, gee, they’ll really play off that and spend all they can, won’t they?”

Dad replied, as I knew he would, “Hey, when they’re the reason you’re successful, you want them to do the things they enjoy. There’s no greater pleasure.” Strike two.

The crew boss tried one more time, “And they’ll take that as far as they can, huh?” Dad responded, “She’s the best thing that ever happened to me. I’d do anything to make her happy.”

I was trying not to laugh. I knew he wanted Dad to give in just a little bit and say, “Yeah, I guess that’s true.” But I knew that wouldn’t happen… not in a million years.

Finally, the boss gave up. Maybe he learned something about respecting one’s spouse. Maybe not. But it taught a young boy a lot about the power of respect and edification.

Bob Burg publishes an ezine on “Winning Without Intimidation”. His web site is <>.

Originally published as HeroicStories #142 on May 9, 2000

1 thought on “The Master of “GoodSpeak””

  1. What a wonderful story! His dad sounds like he lead by example and how great for his son and the carpet crew. I’m sure the boss got the message and shared it with his crew, but probably not in the same manner. At 12 to recognize the good speak, and how the boss’s attempts to turn it around would not work on his dad, just awesome!


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