Ever read “How To Win Friends and Influence People”?
Great book, right?
I picked it up because… let’s face it… game-theory can get weird.
Like, you ever been out approaching chicks but you see a woman as a “target” rather than as a human being?
I know it’s happened to me.
So I picked up Dale Carnegie’s book to help me get back to the humanity of it all. And it was like a tonic. Besides, that’s the real skill you need when you’re out in the field, anyway. Getting along with people.
Here’s his main idea:
Treat people with kindness and respect. At bottom everyone wants to feel important. So, get where a person is coming from. And make her or him feel important.
I know this may sound basic. “Yeah, yeah I know,” you might say. “Whatever.” Well, do you actually do it? I know I’m still learning how to do it.
What I love about the book is how Dale takes this simple idea… which is THE idea behind Christianity, all great religions, and all great philosophies… and applies it to a ton of specific examples.
PART ONE: Fundamental Techniques
1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Don’t tell others what to do. Instead, arouse in the other person an eager want. If you have a person WANT to do something, they’ll do it on their own volition. Forcing or commanding never works.
PART TWO: Six Ways To Make People Like You
4. Get interested in other people (not just in what you want).
5. Smile. Action speaks louder than words. A smile says: “I like you. You make me happy. I’m glad to see you.” It’s a simple way to make a great first impression.
6. Use a person’s name often. It’s the sweetest sound to them.
7. Listen. Don’t do all the talking. Encourage people to talk about themselves. Honestly get curious about who they are.
8. Don’t just talk about your own interests. Talk about the other person’s interests. If you do, you’ll hook their interest. And they won’t want to stop talking with you.
9. Make the other person feel important. All people want to feel important. But don’t bullshit about it. Do this sincerely.
PART THREE: How To Win People To Your Way Of Thinking
10. Avoid arguments. That’s the best way to get the best of arguments. Don’t embarrass a person in front of other people by proving him wrong. Let them save face. Choose your battles. Let the small potatoes go. No need to be argumentative or superior or “right.”
11. Show respect for a person’s opinions. Never say “You’re wrong!”
12. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
13. Begin in a friendly way. If you come at a person with your fists closed, you can be sure the other person’s will close just as fast. So what do you do when you’ve been pissed off? Still start friendly: “Let’s sit down and understand why we differ.” It’ll calm your adversary, and you can resolve the issue. As Lincoln once said: “To win a man to your cause, first convince him you’re his sincere friend.”
14. Get the person saying “yes, yes” immediately. Don’t begin by discussing differences. Emphasize where you agree. Don’t have the other person say “no.” “No” is the most difficult obstacle to overcome, because she’ll feel like she’s gotta stick to it. Get her in the habit of “yeses.” And you lead her to your point of view more easily.
15. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. You don’t win others to your way of thinking by doing all the talking. Ask them questions. Let them let you tell a few things. To be understood, understand first.
16. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. If the idea comes from within them, they’ll have more faith in it.
17. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. If a person is wrong, don’t condemn him. Try to understand them. Put yourself in his place.
18. Be sympathetic to another person’s ideas and desires. Wanna know how to stop arguments, eliminate ill-feeling, create good feeling, and have the person listen to you? Then tell them: “If I were you I would feel just as you do.” Again, put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Really get where they’re coming from. Then they’ll try to get where you’re coming from.
19. Appeal to the nobler motives. Give a person the benefit of the doubt. Treat a person as second-class, chances are he’ll fulfill that prophesy. See the best in people, chances are they’ll fulfill that prophesy, too.
20. Dramatize your ideas. Just stating a truth isn’t enough. You have to dramatize it. Make it vivid. Make it emotional. The way movies and TV do. Engage not just the mind, but the EMOTIONS too.
21. Throw down a challenge. When nothing else works to win people to your point of view, throw in some competition. A competition always inspires people to want to excel.
PART FOUR. Be a Leader: How To Change People Without Giving Offense Or Arousing Resentment
22. Begin with praise and honest appreciation. If you must find a fault or criticize someone, begin with praise. After you’ve given the criticism, end with praise. The formula is: “Praise-correct-praise.” The Praise gets them to listen. The correction that comes after the “but” negates the praise. So, end on a positive note. End with praise. That way you lift a person up, rather than tear her down.
23. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. Correcting someone is always dicey. Rather than out-right saying “No smoking! Can’t you read the sign?” A better way to go is: “I’d appreciate it if you guys would smoke outside. Thank-you.” Direct criticism points the finger at them. Feels patronizing. Indirect criticism points the finger at me and what I want. It’s more honest and respectful.
24. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing someone else. When you talk about someone’s mistake, don’t come at it like you’re Mr. Perfect who’s never made a mistake before. Say something like: “You’ve made a mistake, but God knows I’ve made my share of them. We learn by experience…” This way you’re not tearing a person down. It’s easier to hear criticism when the person who’s criticizing admits his faults first.
25. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. No one likes to take orders. Instead of saying “Do this.” “Don’t do that,” a more effective way is: “What do you think of this?” “Do you think this would work?” Again, when the answer comes from the person… rather than from an outside force… it’s theirs. They’re more apt to do it.
26. Let the other person save face. Let’s say you have to let someone go. Few people consider the other person’s feelings. They emphasize their fault. Threaten. Criticize. Embarrass. Alleviate the sting by putting yourself in his shoes, and appreciating his good: “You’ve done such a great job, you’ve got the right stuff…” When the person feels respected, he won’t feel as “let down.” Don’t destroy a person’s ego. Let them save face, even if you have to let them go.
27. Praise every improvement, however slight. When you praise people it inspires them to keep doing that good thing. Abilities wither under criticism. And they blossom under praise. It’s a magic power we all possess… to praise and inspire people’s latent possibilities. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” But of course, not empty flattery. It must be sincere, it must be honest.
28. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. If you have a worker that hands in shoddy work, don’t bawl him out or threaten him. A more effective way to go is have a heart-to-heart with him: “You’re such a good mechanic. You’ve done such good work for customers. As of late your work hasn’t been up to your usual standards. Maybe together we can find a way to correct this problem.” Give them a good reputation to live up to.
29. Use encouragement. Make the fault easy to correct. If a kid isn’t doing too well in school, labeling him “brain-damaged” or a “slow-learner” will just give him the belief he won’t do well in school. It just reinforces the behavior. A better way to go is find his gift, play to his strengths, believe in him. When his belief in himself changes for the better… so will his performance in school.
30. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Let’s say you have to refuse many invitations to do something. Rather than say you’re too busy, a better way to go is to appreciate the invitation and suggest an alternative. Or if you need someone to do something for you, point out the benefits in it for THEM, not you. People will be more likely to do what you want, if they’re happy about doing it.
Do you see how it’s the same theme repeating over and over again? Treat people with kindness and respect. People want to feel important. Rather than tear them down, make them feel important. ‘Cause everyone is.
This one insight about our human need to feel important was like a huge light going off on inside me. When someone is trying to tear you down, chances are he just wants to feel important. When a person’s bragging and trying to look cool, chances are he just wants to feel important. When a girl’s dressed to the nines and rejects guys, chances are she just wants to feel important. Well, let them feel important for God’s sakes. Maybe now we can all relax.
As for us, now we know better NOT to tear down others. We don’t have to do that to feel important. What does that accomplish? Just leaves ME standing, while everyone else is down. And THAT creates war, ill-feeling, ego. Better to lift others up. That creates peace, good-feeling, growth, connection.
It also makes game so much easier. You can get along with anyone. Because you see they’re exactly like me. All everyone wants is to feel important… just like me.
So, game. Play hard to get. Tease. Be a wise-ass. Please do. But underneath it all, ALWAYS treat EVERYONE with kindness and respect. You’ll go a lot further if you do.