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How to Win Friends and Influence People Outlined

Updated on December 8, 2010

How to Win Friends & Influence People

This book was first published in 1937, but the information it contains is still relevant today. The book is based on the experiences of students that have attended Dale Carnegie's classes. The overarcing message found in the book is simply to live by the Golden Rule -- "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." Dale Carnegie does this by presenting 30 principles in four parts.

Following, I have outlined and summarized Dale Carnegie's book. All quotes and information comes from the book. This outline/summary is not intended to replace the book ... only to enhance your reading experience by providing a guideline of key points.

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Part 1 -- Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

Principles 1 through 3

  1. If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive. Don't criticize, condemn, or complain.
  • Criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself.
  • Criticism is dangerous, because it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment.
  • The resentment that criticism engenders can demoralize employees, family members and friends, and still not correct the situation that has been condemned.
  • When dealing with people, let us remember we are not dealing with creatures of logic. We are dealing with creatures of emotion, creatures bristling with prejudices and motivated by pride and vanity

The big secret of dealing with people. Give honest sincere appreciation.

  • The difference between appreciation and flattery - One is sincere and the other insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.

He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

  • The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
  • If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own. (Henry Ford)

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Part 2 -- Six Ways to Make People Like You

Principles 4 through 9

  1. Do this and you'll be welcome anywhere. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring. (Alfred Adler)
  • If we want to make friends, let's put ourselves out to do things for other people - things that require time, energy, unselfishness and thoughtfulness.
  • If we want to make friends, let's greet people with animation and enthusiasm.
  • Showing a genuine interest in others not only wins friends for you, but may develop in its customers a loyalty to your company.
  • A show of interest, as with every other principle of human relations, must be sincere. It must pay off not only for the person showing the interest, but for the person receiving the attention. It is a two-way street-both parties benefit.

A simple way to make a good first impression. Smile.

  • a smile says, "I like you, You make me happy. I am glad to see you."
  • The effect of a smile is powerful - even when it is unseen. Smile when talking on the phone, your "smile" comes through in your voice.
  • You must have a good time meeting people if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.
  • Happiness doesn't depend on outward conditions. It depends on inner conditions.
  • Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it.

If you don't do this, you are headed for trouble. Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

  • The average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together.
  • People are so proud of their names that they strive to perpetuate them at any cost.
  • One of the simplest, most obvious and most important ways of gaining good will is by remembering names and making people feel important.
  • We should be aware of the magic contained in a name and realize that this single item is wholly and completely owned by the person with whom we are dealing and nobody else. The name sets the individual apart; it makes him or her unique among all others.

An easy way to become a good conversationalist. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

  • Not only important personages crave a good listener, but ordinary folk do too.
  • If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.

How to interest people. Talk in terms of the other person's interests.

  • The royal road to a person's heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.

How to make people like you instantly. Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.

  • "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." (William James)
  • "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." (Jesus)
  • Little phrases such as "I'm sorry to trouble you," "Would you be so kind as to ----? " "Won't you please?" " Would you mind?" "Thank you" - little courtesies like these oil the cogs of the monotonous grind of everyday life- and, incidentally, they are the hallmark of good breeding.
  • The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.

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Part 3 -- Win People to Your Way of Thinking

Principles 10 through 21

  1. You can't win an argument. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  • How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:
    • Welcome the disagreement. Perhaps this disagreement is your opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake
    • .
    • Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction. It may be you at your worst, not your best.
    • Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.
    • Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding.
    • Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree.
    • Be honest, Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.
    • Promise to think over your opponents' ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right.
    • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.
    • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem.

A sure way of making enemies - and how to avoid it. Show respect for the other person's opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."

  • You can tell people they are wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words.
  • There's magic, positive magic, in such phrases as: "I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let's examine the facts."
  • "Agree with thine adversary quickly." (Jesus)

If you're wrong, admit it. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.

  • If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn't it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves? Isn't it much easier to listen to self-criticism than to bear condemnation from alien lips?
  • There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one's errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.
  • Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes - and most fools do - but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one's mistakes.

A drop of honey. Begin in a friendly way.

  • The use of gentleness and friendliness is demonstrated day after day by people who have learned that "a drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall." (Abraham Lincoln)

The secret of Socrates. Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.

  • In talking with people, don't begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin by emphasizing - and keep on emphasizing - the things on which you agree.
  • A "No" response is a most difficult handicap to overcome. When you have said "No," all your pride of personality demands that you remain consistent with yourself.
  • When a person says "No" and really means it, he or she is doing far more than saying a word of two letters. The entire organism - glandular, nervous, muscular - gathers itself together into a condition of rejection. There is, usually in minute but sometimes in observable degree, a physical withdrawal or readiness for withdrawal. The whole neuromuscular system, in short, sets itself on guard against acceptance. When, to the contrary, a person says "Yes," none of the withdrawal activities takes place. The organism is in a forward - moving, accepting, open attitude. Hence the more "Yeses" we can, at the very outset, induce, the more likely we are to succeed in capturing the attention for our ultimate proposal.

The safety valve in handling complaints. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

  • Most people trying to win others to their way of thinking do too much talking themselves. Let the other people talk themselves out. They know more about their business and problems than you do. So ask them questions. Let them tell you a few things.
  • Listen patiently and with an open mind. Be sincere about it. Encourage them to express their ideas fully.
  • When our friends excel us, they feel important; but when we excel them, they - or at least some of them - will feel inferior and envious.

How to get cooperation. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

  • Don't you have much more faith in ideas that you discover for yourself than in ideas that are handed to you on a silver platter? If so, isn't it bad judgment to try to ram your opinions down the throats of other people? Isn't it wiser to make suggestions - and let the other person think out the conclusion?
  • No one likes to feel that he or she is being sold something or told to do a thing. We much prefer to feel that we are buying of our own accord or acting on our own ideas. We like to be consulted about our wishes, our wants, our thoughts.

A formula that will work wonders for you. Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.

  • There is a reason why the other man thinks and acts as he does. Ferret out that reason - and you have the key to his actions, perhaps to his personality.
  • "Cooperativeeness in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person's ideas and feelings as important as your own." (Dr. Gerald S. Nirenberg)
  • "I would rather walk the sidewalk in front of a person's office for two hours before an interview than step into that office without a perfectly clear idea of what I was going to say and what that person - from my knowledge of his or her interests and motives - was likely to answer." (Dean Donham)

What everybody wants. Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.

  • A magic phrase that would stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively -- "I don't blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do."
  • Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.

An appeal that everybody likes. Appeal to the nobler motives.

  • The fact is that all people you meet have a high regard for themselves and like to be fine and unselfish in their own estimation.
  • A person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one. The person himself will think of the real reason. You don't need to emphasize that. But all of us, being idealists at heart, like to think of motives that sound good. So, in order to change people, appeal to the nobler motives.

The movies do it. TV does it. Why don't you do it. Dramatize your ideas.

  • This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn't enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic.

When nothing else works, try this. Throw down a challenge.

  • "The way to get things done, is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel." (Charles Schwab)

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Part 4 -- Be a Leader

Principles 22 through 30

  1. If you must find fault, this is the way to begin. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  • It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
  • Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain-killing.

How to criticize - and not be hated for it. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.

  • Calling attention to one's mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.

Talk about your own mistakes first. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.

  • If a few sentences humbling oneself and praising the other party can turn a haughty, insulted Kaiser into a staunch friend, imagine what humility and praise can do for you and me in our daily contacts. Rightfully used, they will work veritable miracles in human relations.
  • Admitting one's own mistakes - even when one hasn't corrected them - can help convince somebody to change his behavior.

No one likes to take orders. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.

  • Resentment caused by a brash order may last a long time - even if the order was given to correct an obviously bad situation.
  • Asking questions not only makes an order more palatable; it often stimulates the creativity of the persons whom you ask. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued.

Let the other person save face.

  • We ride roughshod over the feelings of others, getting our own way, finding fault, issuing threats, criticizing a child or an employee in front of others, without even considering the hurt to the other person's pride. Whereas a few minutes' thought, a considerate word or two, a genuine understanding of the other person's attitude, would go so far toward alleviating the sting!
  • Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face.

How to spur people on to success. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise."

  • Remember, we all crave appreciation and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it. But nobody wants insincerity. Nobody wants flattery.
  • Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.

Give a dog a good name. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.

  • In short, if you want to improve a person in a certain aspect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics. Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.
  • There is an old saying: "Give a dog a bad name and you may as well hang him." But give him a good name - and see what happens!

Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

  • Tell your child, your spouse, or your employee that he or she is stupid or dumb at a certain thing, has no gift for it, and is doing it all wrong, and you have destroyed almost every incentive to try to improve. But use the opposite technique - be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it - and he will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.

Making people glad to do what you want. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.

  • The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:
  1. Be sincere. Do not promise anything that you cannot deliver. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
  2. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
  3. Be empathetic. Ask yourself what is it the other person really wants.
  4. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
  5. Match those benefits to the other person's wants.
  6. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.

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