Reflections on "How To Win Friends & Influence People"
I got this book "How To Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie for my birthday a few years ago. It took me a while before I decided to read it, but when I started it was hard to put down. I was taken by Dale's passion in the introductory chapters where he explains why he wrote the book and offers some suggestions to get the most out of it. So armed with a highlighter, I embarked on reading a chapter from start to finish, then going back over it and marking the statements and lessons that made an impact on me. It is the aim of this hub to share some of these with you and to show you why this book (first published in 1936) is still a bestseller, even in today's modern world. Quite simply, even with the internet and advanced technologies, people are still people.
Contrary to what some people might think, this book is not about forcing other people to like you or manipulating people to do what you want. Well... in an indirect way it is, but if this comes about it is because the other person voluntarily chose it. The book is split up into 4 parts. The first part introduces the fundamental techniques in handling people. The second part shows you 6 ways to make people like you. The third part is probably what most people would want to know - how to win people to your way of thinking. The last part deals primarily with leadership and how to "change" people without offending them or making them resent you.
The following are only some of the concepts and ideas that I took away from reading this book. I highly recommend for everyone to grab a copy and read it, the examples Dale Carnegie uses are very effective real life situations. They clearly illustrate the lessons and make a lot of sense no matter what your job is or where you work. I challenge everyone to just try one of these approaches at work and see how much of a difference it can make when dealing with people. I'm certain that someone that might have been classified as your enemy before can quickly become "a friend".
A Few Things I Took Away From Reading This Book
1) Don't critize people, because it always puts them on the defensive and makes them justify themselves. It hurts their pride. Instead reward good behavior (works for animals!) and try to understand people and why they do the things they do.
2) The only way you can get anyone to do what you want is by getting them to want to do it. Appreciating or recognizing someone else and their work is important. However, it has to be sincere.
3) If you can see someone else's point of view as well as your own, you will go a long way. That way you can present an argument in terms of synergy (showing them how they are getting what they want as well as getting what you want). It's a win-win situation.
4) We are interested in others when they are interested in us. You can "win the attention and time and cooperation of the most sought after people by becoming genuinely interested in them".
5) Remember people's names when you meet them. This is extremely important and leaves a lasting positive impression. Most people forget people's names after the initial handshake or they're too busy making sure the other person hears their own name to listen. Making this small effort goes a long way - people love their name above every other name and showing you've made an effort to remember it actually pays them a compliment.
6) Be an attentive listener to be a good conversationalist. Make the other person feel important and be sincere about it. Don't tell people they are "wrong" - everybody's opinion is different and equally important. Moreover, if you are wrong - admit it! Point out other people's mistakes indirectly while acknowledging that you yourself are far from perfect. Let the other person save face.
7) Let the other person do a lot of the talking and get them saying "yes" immediately. If need be, make them feel that the idea is their own. Sometimes it helps to dramatize ideas like they do on TV. Be positive.
You'll quickly notice from reading the above that if you are good at dealing with people, you will be great at negotiations. Ever since reading this book I've applied these lessons to managing people at work. My manager was useless at remembering people's names and he didn't smile often. The manager before that was quick to criticize and always had an answer as to why a problem was not his fault (even though he was right in most cases). He did strive toward excellence at work, which is great, but as a result of making people justify themselves all the time, there was a lot of resentment among the team. As an engineer I have to manage subcontractors and my job also depends on information provided by colleagues, sometimes in a very timely manner. You can't change everyone or always win them over but I'll tell you from my relatively limited experience that sincere appreciation works wonders. Giving someone an impression of themselves to live up to also works. If you can consciously remember to apply the above lessons to your life, you will go very, very far.