• Alyssa Crum

How to Win Friends (and in my case) Influence Judges

Two years ago, I competed for Miss Minnesota. I walked into a 10 minute interview where controversial questions were rapidly fired at me. They questioned my morals, my values, my ethics, the very foundation I was built on as a whole, and I beat around the bush. I walked out of that interview in tears. Not only was I sure my score was low, but I was so ashamed of myself. If I couldn't own my opinions and defend my morals, who was I to think I had a chance at winning Miss Minnesota? Somehow I made the top 10 that weekend, but that didn't change how disappointed I was in myself for that interview.

Then I signed up for the Dale Carnegie Course. What I thought was one 4 hour class turned out to be eight 4 hour sessions. On the first day, we wrote down what we thought we wanted to get out of the course. My vision statement simply read, "I want to be more confident and concise." It was hard at first working to apply the daily principles to my college life as opposed to my classmates who left everyday to reenter the professional world, but at session 6, I had a break through. During this session, we did flexibility exercises that took us completely out of our comfort zones. I was instructed to sell a bottle of "Clean and Glow" to the class with all the vim and vigor I could muster, and I did. I even won the Break Through Award for this session, and it made me realize something. If I can sell this imaginary cleaning product that I have absolutely no actual knowledge on, why can't I sell myself?

That was the turning point for me, and my vision statement changed that day. It is now, "I will solidify my viewpoints, I will state them confidently, I will back them up, and I will disagree agreeably when I am called to defend them." I cannot wait to continue pursuing this vision for myself over the coming months and am so thankful for the Miss Minnesota Organization and Dale Carnegie for being a Miss Minnesota sponsor and giving me this fantastic opportunity.

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