"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."
― Dale Carnegie
"Holy shit, Don! Another book from the 1930s?" You're damn right. "How to Win Friends and Influence People" by Dale Carnegie was first published in 1936, which to some people might mean the content is dated; however, just like "Think and Grow Rich", the fundamentals of human interaction are timeless. The reason this book has been in print for over seventy years is because it works. Sure the book contains some dated language and cultural references, but for the most part this is not an issue. It’s still very easy to visualize every example of human interaction given in the book in a modern day setting. Whether you are looking to leave a great impression on people or just looking to improve your social skills, "How to Win Friends and Influence People" has lessons that will help to make you the life of the party, the person who just seems to know everyone, or become better at influencing people to work in a way you envision. The book is broken down into four parts with the underlying principles laid out in subsections. The key is to practice these principles everyday in order to become an effective leader and communicator until they become habit. If you want a more updated version, check out "How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age."
Part 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
1. “If You Want To Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over The Beehive”
People don’t respond very well when they're directly criticized, so if you’re feeling like tearing into someone, just bite your tongue for a moment and hold back a little while. By doing this, you avoid adding unnecessary negativity to a conversation that can make other people around you think less of you.
2. The Big Secret of Dealing With People
Have a few positive comments to say about each person you know and then reference those positive attributes every change you get, but make sure it's honest and sincere appreciation you're giving.
3. “He Who Can Do This Has The Whole World With Him. He Who Cannot Walks A Lonely Way”
Make the other person interested in you by showing them what you bring (or have) that would be useful to them. For example: don’t say “I want this job because...,” but instead explain to them all the ways that your skills will be useful in making them, or their company, more money. Profitability is a huge driver for all levels of management, and they would be idiots not to hire someone who can demonstrate how their abilities would increase that.
Part 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You
This section lists six simple ways to get people to like you. Even though these principals seem like common sense, they are definitely something to keep in mind next time you are engaged in a conversation with someone you just met.
1. Do This and You’ll Be Welcome Anywhere
Carnegie says that you should become genuinely interested in other people and their hobbies. People love talking about themselves, and once you found a subject that they can go on and on about, just sit, listen, and keep asking questions.
2. A Simple Way to Make a Good First Impression
"Just smile." Sometimes it’s harder to do than it sounds.
3. If You Don’t Do This, You Are Headed For Trouble
A person's own name, to them, is "the sweetest and most important sound in any language." I've always naturally been good with names and can generally recall facts about people without any trouble; some people cannot. This chapter encourages you to get as good as you can by memorizing at least their name and matching that name to their face.
4. An Easy Way to Become a Good Conversationalist
Carnegie says the best way to be seen as being a good conversationalist — ironically — is to shut up and genuinely listen to others talk about themselves.
5. How to Interest People
Takeaway: Listen for subjects that the person you're talking to is interested in and that you know something about. Then, follow that point as far as you can — don’t interject your current passions and interests into the discussion, because they might not be shared. Talk only about their interests.
6. How to Make People Like You Instantly
Want to build a real bond with someone? Make it clear how important that person is to you and do that in a way that the uses genuine sincerity.
Part 3: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
After learning how to be sincerely engaging in the other person's interests, Carnegie provides the principles on the twelve ways to help win people over.
1. You Can’t Win An Argument
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. If a conversation feels like it might be turning into an argument, just let it drop as gracefully as you can and move on to a new subject. Doing this consistently will make you appear more levelheaded and rational.
2. A Sure Way of Making Enemies – and How to Avoid It
Want to make an enemy? Tell them that they are wrong. Instead, say something like, “I never thought of it that way before” and ask questions, whether or not you know for a fact that you're totally right.
3. If You’re Wrong, Admit It
If you made a mistake, just admit it quickly and emphatically, and be very clear about the admission. Letting arrogance hide the fact that you're wrong will just amplify the negativity whenever you’re exposed.
4. A Drop of Honey
Entering into conversations where you’re going to have to deliver bad news or a negative report is just a part of life; it's going to happen. This interaction will go much easier by starting off with the positives. For example, if you receive terrible service at an otherwise good restaurant, don’t berate the manager about it. Tell him everything you did like first, then point out that some service problems may be tarnishing the reputation of the restaurant.
5. The Secret of Socrates
If you’re trying to convince someone of your argument, start off with questions that you’re absolutely sure they will agree with and ask them to acknowledge that agreement. Then, when you move from point to point, keep getting those positive acknowledgements. A string of “yes”es is more likely to yield another “yes.” This is a great approach when it comes to sales.
6. The Safety Valve in Handling Complaints
Don’t interject or start an argument when someone comes to you to complain. Let them blow off their steam, and only respond when they’re finished and calm. Ask clarifying questions to encourage them to speak even more about their situation. This will often cause them to vent off most or all of their anger, which makes it much easier for the problem to be handled rationally at the end of the conversation.
7. How to Get Cooperation
Lead them to the conclusion of the argument. Present all of your ideas up front, then state your resolution and ask for their approval with a sincere, “What do you think?” Listen to what they have to say and then try to incorporate their words into the fix. In the end, they will feel like the idea is theirs and will come out of the conversation feeling more positive. This is a great way to get a supervisor to incorporate a change in the workplace.
8. A Formula That Will Work Wonders for You
If you have no idea where someone is coming from, spend some time trying to put yourself in their shoes. This should reveal a few things that weren’t entirely clear to you before and might help lead directly to a healthy understanding of the problem and formulate a proper solution.
9. What Everybody Wants
Someone will always find a way to come to you with an untenable idea or desire that you simply can’t fulfill. In that case, show approval of their feelings and thoughts that brought the suggestion.
10. An Appeal That Everybody Likes
Regardless of whether or not you feel a claim is legitimate or not, respond with sincerity by appealing to fundamental ideas of "right" and "wrong". Mold your response in such a way that the person’s fundamental sense of right and wrong is realized when they hear your response.
11. The Movies Do It. TV Does It. Why Don’t You Do It?
Turn your great idea into a dramatic story. Relate it directly to a human experience and tell that story as you’re incorporating your idea. Connecting the overall concept to a tale will always make it work. That’s why fables have stuck around for thousands of years.
12. When Nothing Else Works, Try This
If you can’t get your ideas and motivational speeches to work, throw down a direct challenge. Do something to get the competitive spirit going. By doing this well, you can slowly draw even more of their spirit into the competition until the objective is complete.
Part 4: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Part Four is the most beneficial for people who are tough to deal with on a daily basis. This section is all about trying to change people without arousing anger.
1. If You Must Find Fault, This Is the Way to Begin
If you’re going to find faults in a person, company, or organization, start off by stating their positive attributes and the things that you find good about the person or the group. Then, once you’ve established that there are positive attributes and you’re not just railing on them, you can move onto the criticism.
2. How to Criticize – and Not Be Hated for It
If you’re going to critical of something, you’re better off criticizing it indirectly, usually by offering a positive suggestion in another direction. For example, let's say that I were to write a post that you don’t agree with (that will probably be fairly common). Rather than trying to trash the entire piece, one could merely suggest that I could word it differently and suggest some phrase changes so the criticism doesn't come off as overbearing, thus alerting me indirectly to some of the big flaws in the post.
3. Talk About Your Own Mistakes First
Another effective way to blunt the sting of criticism is to tell of your own faults first. If you’re trying to advise someone about debts, one way to make the advice more effective is to talk of your own problems with accruing debt so they're not so alienated.
4. No One Likes to Take Orders
Instead of shouting out an order and instructing someone to do something, ask some questions about the problem and lead them to the water of the solution in which they can participate. If you involve them in the solution by asking questions, not only will they do it, they’ll feel the solution was their own idea.
5. Let the Other Person Save Face
If you’ve just handed out criticism, allow the other person to save face. Let them immediately correct the mistake if they can, or at least give them the opportunity to do so. By letting the problem have a chance to be solved, you not only appear more fair to the person or group, you also appear more humane and much more of a great leader.
6. How to Spur People On to Success
Whenever someone shows even the smallest sign of improvement, make it clear to that person — and to others — that you noticed and appreciate it. Take the example of a workplace where employees had to turn out “units” at regular intervals. The average person on the team was turning out eight to nine units a day, while one person was working steadily but only turning out five at most. After talking to a supervisor about, he tried some new techniques and produced six a day. Even though he was still the lowest producer, the boss made it a point to praise him at a meeting that hfe had cranked up productivity more than 20%. Eventually, he began to produce at the level of everyone else because the belief that he could was instilled in him.
7. Give a Dog a Good Name
When you introduce someone or mention them in a group setting, always talk them up like a good wingman. Give them a standard to live up to as you introduce them and they’ll work hard to live up to that standard. The reverse is also true. If you don’t say much or criticize them as you introduce them, they’ll live up to that substandard instead.
8. Make the Fault Seem Easy to Correct
If you’re offering advice to someone about how to correct a problem, try to make the problem seem easy to correct. Offer up lots of pointers that on their own seem quite easy. Make sure that person believes that they’re all easy and that they can do it thus reducing in their mind that they’re doomed to failure.
9. Making People Glad to Do What You Want
When you ask them for something, make sure that they see the connection to things that they pride themselves on, and also be sure to compliment them on those points of pride. Put everything in context of the bigger picture and show them that you see even their simple piece as a integral part of the overall puzzle. Doing these steps will make people much happier to follow your requests.
Buy or borrow the book and READ IT. There are tons of both personal and business lessons to be learned from this book. Whether you want to be a better salesman, manager, leader, or just a better person in general, you should be able to find key points and a set strategy to get you to your goal.