If you want to succeed in business and improve your personal relationships, learn and master the principles taught in Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.
Learning how to win friends and influence people are important skills for two reasons:
- The abilities to get along with others and lead people effectively are necessary in all areas of your life. In business, technical knowledge will only get you so far, even if you are an expert in your field. If you lack people skills, it will be much more difficult to excel.
When it comes to personal relationships, if you don’t know how to communicate properly to avoid confrontation, you’ll constantly find yourself in an uphill battle with your loved ones.
- You’ll be in complete control. Whether you realize it or not, you are constantly being influenced. Sometimes in a positive way, and other times, not so much. Like any other concept, the art of influencing can be used for good or bad. If you are aware of the principles in Dale’s book, you are less likely to be unknowingly negatively influenced.
All the principles in the book are important to know. I did my best to pick the top 5 to share with you today. They all work interchangeably in life and in business. I’ll give you examples throughout to showcase how to use them in both of these areas.
Principle 1: Don’t Criticize, Condemn, or Complain.
Favorite Quote: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge men until the end of his days.”
Why should you?
No matter how blatantly obvious it is that a person is dead wrong, they are very unlikely to admit it outright. We don’t like to be criticized and judged by others.
If you resort to condemning others in order to prove a point and win an argument, that will only cause the other person to come back twice as strong, determined to justify themselves.
Indulging in a back and forth battle is useless. Demoralizing people will never make them change their mind. In fact, it will make them clench that much harder to their opinion. And they will resent you for making them lose their sense of importance.
When you criticize people, you automatically put yourself at a disadvantage. It will be more challenging for you to make friends and influence people this way.
We are creatures of emotion.
This quote by Maya Angelo’s sums it up.
“People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
If you resort to criticism and condemnation to make others agree with you, they will resent you. Years can go by, and they may not remember what you did or said, but they will always remember how you made them feel.
When you genuinely consider the other person’s opinions and concerns, you put yourself at an advantage. You can use that insight to make them feel valued. Not only will they be more likely to agree with you, but they will also respect you for taking their opinions into account.
Principle #2: Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation
Favorite Quote: “I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.”
Instead of being quick to find fault in other people, stop and think what you can appreciate about them. We tend to mask the good in other people because we’re so busy focusing on the things we dislike about their character.
Some kids will even resort to negative conduct because it’s the only way they will receive attention from their parents. If they are doing a good job at school or behaving well at the store, they don’t hear a single word of appreciation. But when they misbehave, they at least gain some sort of direct attention.
People want to feel understood and cared for. They want to feel important. They want to know their dreams and desires matter. Everyone, no matter their status, seeks to be appreciated for their contributions. This is why award shows are so popular.
Dale Carnegie takes it a step further and says that the “desire for appreciation” is almost as deep as the need for food and sleep.
We would never let our friends and family go without those two things. Yet we rarely take the moment to truly show our appreciation for others at home and in the workplace. Therefore, the person who does fulfill this need will always come out on top.
Take the time to sincerely say thank you. If you like something, say so. If you receive value in any way from other people, express your gratitude. It doesn’t cost you anything, but it could mean the world to them.
Principle #3: Become Genuinely Interested in Other People
Favorite Quote: “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.”
The people you interact with daily are 100 times more interested in themselves and their problems. It’s tough to admit, but it’s true. Most of us are self-centered.
Notice how most conversations are shallow. It’s a constant back and forth. It’s like a competition to see who has the biggest problem or the greatest success. Just listen to the conversations that take place around you. The people conversing aren’t paying attention with the intent to wholeheartedly understand one another. Instead, they’re preparing to put their two cents in.
You will never make REAL friends or influence anyone without an authentic connection. People are interested in you only if you are interested in them first.
Try it next time you meet someone. Take the time and energy to truly get to know people. Encourage them to talk about themselves. Listen closely and ask relevant questions. It’s fun. Plus, you may learn a thing or two. Everyone knows something you don’t.
You never know what could happen. One genuine conversation could turn into a lifetime friendship, or they may be able to help you in some way.
Principle #4: If You’re Wrong, Admit It Quickly and Empathetically
Favorite Quote: “Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes (and most fools do), but it takes one above the herd to admit one’s mistakes.”
We hesitate to admit when we are wrong or make a mistake because it’s instinctual to defend our dignity. Somewhere along the line, we decided it’s a sign of weakness to admit our errors when in reality it takes strength to be the bigger person, step up to the plate, and say, “I’m sorry, “I was wrong,” or “I made mistake.”
When you’re wrong, admit it quickly. If you know you’ll be called out for it anyhow, it’s much better to do it yourself.
Owning up to your mistakes will instantly clear the air of any hostility or defensiveness. This leaves more room to find a solution quicker and devise an action plan to avoid the same mistake in the future.
This is an important principle when dealing with other people but also in dealing with yourself. When you admit to yourself that you made a wrong decision, you take 100% of the responsibility for your actions, and it puts you in control. Whereas when you put the blame on other people, you’re kind of screwed because you can’t fix others. You can only fix you.
It’s challenging at first to admit when you’re at fault. But the more you own up to your mistakes, the easier it gets. And people will respect you more.
Principle #5: Try to Honestly See Things From Others’ Perspectives
Favorite Quote: “People who can put themselves in the place of other people, who can understand the workings of their minds, need never worry about what the future has in store for them.”
All we know is our own view of the world. The same goes for every person you come across. They have their perspective, and you have yours.
Viewing a situation from another person’s angle is one of the most powerful abilities we all possess but seldom use. You’ll be better suited to help others and establish genuine connections if you become familiar with the story they are telling themselves.
Advertisers pay millions of dollars to know your perspective. That’s the purpose of surveys. They want to know how you feel and the words you use to express yourself. They use that information and repackage their goods and services to make them more appealing to you. That’s how they win you over.
The same concept holds true if you want to win friends and influence people. You’ll have an easier time getting along with others if you know the narrative playing in their mind.
You can use that insight to gently persuade them to your way of thinking. No one wants to feel like they’re being sold an idea or a product. We want to feel like we’re buying. Like it’s our conscious choice to say “yes.”
More importantly, seeing things from others’ perspective breeds empathy and compassion. There is a reason people behave the way they do. Take yourself out of your own head and try to figure out that reason.
By becoming interested in the actual cause of their behavior, you are less likely to dislike the effect. For example, say you own an online shop. You are dealing with an angry customer over the phone. She received the wrong order. And she is raising hell because of it.
When digging deeper you learn she ordered a gift for her daughter who she was about to go visit in New York City. She’s about to board a plane in a few hours and doesn’t have time to buy another gift.
I’d be upset too. Knowing all this backstory helps you be less affected by the raging she’s doing.
In this case, you have to agree she has a reason to be upset. But even if you disagree with another person’s logic, showing you understand them will ease tension.
It takes effort to stop, put your thoughts aside, and place yourself in someone else’s shoes, but it’s worth it. You’ll meet a mutual understanding without much friction.
It Boils Down to Respect and Trust
To win friends and influence people you have to win their trust and respect first. To do that follow these 5 principles
- Don’t judge others. Avoid criticism like the plague.
- Express your gratitude. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Show interest in others’ wants, dreams, and desires.
- Admit when you are wrong. Take 100% responsibility for your actions.
- Be empathetic. Always see things from other peoples point of view.