Dale Carnegie is the author of, in my opinion, the all-time greatest self-help book How to Win Friends and Influence People. It’s an absolutely timeless classic that teaches you how to genuinely connect and socialize with people.
Since its initial release in 1936 during the Great Depression, the book has sold more the 30 million copies, making it one of the best selling books of all time. Today, the practical lessons from the book are being applied by millions worldwide to achieve success in their business and personal lives.
How to Win Friends and Influence People is the book to read when it comes to learning people skills.
“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.”
Everyone loves to talk about themselves. To get that spotlight and share their oh so important opinion.
But being the center of attention is no way to win friends.
When you first meet someone, their first instinct is going to be to want to talk and watch you listen, not the other way around. You won’t be doing yourself any favors by talking about your wants and your interests. You’ll get a lot further by letting the other person talk and actually being interested in what they have to say.
Let them speak and pour their heart out while you…. just listen. Absorb everything they have to say. They’ll appreciate your maturity and the fact that you’re putting your natural inclination to speak aside for theirs. It’s such a rare courtesy.
Then, once they’re finished talking, respond in a thoughtful, genuine way. Really pay attention and then respond in a way that shows them you actually gave thought to what they said and weren’t just listening for the sake of it. Give them the attention they crave.
“Any fool can criticize, complain, and condemn — and most fools do. But it takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving.”
Think back to your worst boss. What did they do that made them so bad?
In my experience, the worst bosses were the ones that never showed any empathy. Whenever I would make a mistake, there was criticism and condemnation.
I get it, they like to feel superior. But the negative criticism does nothing to build good relationships with the team.
Whenever dealing with someone, whether they’re a teammate or someone new, never criticize, complain, and condemn. Those are the 3 Cs of negativity.
- Criticize: No one likes to hear about what they got wrong
- Complain: No one likes the person who’s always complaining about things, putting a damper on the mood in the room
- Condemn: No one likes to be called out as the one at fault or the bad guy, especially in public
Instead, always frame things in a positive light. After team projects, look for things people did well and specifically highlight those. You can point out areas for improvement but do so in a way that is positive and forward-thinking, not dwelling on the negative past.
If you’re meeting someone new, avoid negative topics that might cause you to complain about something. Talk about things that are happy and positive. People will remember you as someone with those qualities based on your conversation.
“When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but with creatures bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.”
We live in a world of emotions. As much as we like to think that everyone is logical and rational, we all have emotions built into our decisions. This is something critical to remember whenever trying to network or make friends.
You could have the best skills in the world, but if you’re the asshole at work, sooner or later people aren’t going to be so friendly to you. They’ll withdraw their help, and you may even eventually be betrayed or fired.
Instead, act in accordance with the knowledge that people are emotional. Pay them a compliment when you walk in the door; it’s easy and takes a few seconds. Pay attention to what they say during your conversations. Give them praise when due.
Appeal to people’s pride and emotions. It’s what they’re driven by.
“Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
We’ve all encountered that sales guy, you know the one at the furniture store who earns a commission. They keep asking if you need help with anything, even after you’ve told them 5 times that you’re just browsing.
Don’t be that guy.
People will want to connect with you, buy from you, and work with you if and only if they do so out of their own choice. You can’t force it down their throats by continuously asking or showing them ads. You must somehow convince them that it is beneficial for them to associate with you.
So instead of focusing on the sale itself, focus on the person in front of you. Ask yourself, what do they want? What can I offer this person that would cause them to genuinely want to associate with me? That’s where listening helps a lot too. When you listen intently to people, you’ll eventually hear something valuable that you can then use to offer them something they really want.
“Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, ‘I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
Of course, at the end of the day, actions speak far louder than words. You should be graceful in your speech and choose your words carefully, but always follow it up with actions.
If you promise someone something, make sure to deliver it on time. That will signal you respect them and are reliable.
When you meet someone new, dress well, smile, and give a firm handshake. That will signal you respect them and are happy to see them.
Never lie about your background or what you do. Be genuine and forthcoming, and prove it. That will signal that you’re trustworthy in the sea of untrustworthy people these days.
If you’re invited to someone’s event, party, or home, bring a gift. It shows curiously and emotional intelligence on your part.
Actions leave an impression on people in a far stronger way than words will ever do. Make sure you follow up your talk with the walk.
“You can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it.”
People llooooovvvvveeeee to win arguments. It’s great to be the person who got the final word, to walk away with pride and a feeling of superiority!
But that’s hardly a win at all.
When you argue with someone, and you win, then you’ll walk away feeling great. But you’ll also damage the relationship there because by you winning and feeling great you made the other person lose and feel bad.
If you lose, then you actually did lose. That can make the other person feel superior to you. In some cases, this might not matter. But in more competitive settings such as the workplace, it can leave a negative impression as people see you as less competent.
The best thing to do is to avoid arguments altogether. If you find a conversation trickling down that path, change the subject. If the person persists in arguing, take an objective stance on the subject. Speak as an outsider saying things like “it’s hard to say” or “that’s a tough one.”
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless classic self-help book written by Dale Carnegie. Bottom line, it contains the best advice when it comes to learning how to connect with people and network. Here, we’ve summed up that advice with 6 key lessons:
- Be genuinely interested in other people and listen intently
- Avoid the 3 Cs of negativity: criticize, complain, and condemn
- Appeal to their emotions
- Don’t hard sell, convince them that they want it
- Actions over words
- Avoid arguments, take an objective stance to stay out of the conflict