Dale Carnegie's 'How to Win Friends and Influence People'
Welcome back to yet another blog post and today I wanted to talk to you about a topic that affects everyone: charisma and communication skills. Obviously I’m not just going to touch on whatever is on my mind, instead I will explain the lessons and techniques from Dale Carnegie’s timeless classic “How to win friends and influence people” from 1936!
This book stood the test of time not only because of its brilliant writing and amazing stories, but because of its universal lessons on communication and dealing with people that still hold up well.
The world is constantly changing and people from 2019 are totally different to the people from 100 years ago but Carnegie realized that being charismatic isn’t too complex - everyone can show great charisma by using very simple techniques!
The book is split up into four parts and I’m going to summarize the most important aspects of every chapter but you should definitely read that book too because of the amazing stories Dale Carnegie has to offer! So let’s stop wasting time and get into it. Let’s unscramble the charisma myths!
Part I: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
Before we get into how you can be the most charismatic person you could be, Carnegie wants us to understand some of the basics in dealing with people.
Number One: Don’t complain.
This may sound a little weird at first but it actually makes a lot of sense. Think about it this way, if you’re in a situation where you want to complain about someone else and what they said or did, that person will probably simply justify himself or herself and condemn us in return.
Don’t get me wrong, if complaints are justified and bringing them up will lead to a solution then you should definitely do that but if not, then you should rather keep it to yourself instead of wanting others to change. It's really difficult to change people since the change has to come from the person himself/herself, only then it will reach its full potential. From a purely selfish standpoint, that is a lot more profitable and less dangerous than trying to improve others.
Any fool can criticise, condemn and complain - and most fools do. It takes character and self-control to be understanding and forgiving. This will breed sympathy, tolerance and kindness!
Number Two: Give honest and sincere appreciation.
Everyone loves receiving words of appreciation, the only problem is that we don’t say them often enough - far from it actually. And the best thing about it, it can be really powerful!
There is just one way to get anybody to do anything. That is by making the other person WANT to do it. That’s why arousing enthusiasm in your people is the greatest asset you can posses. And the way to develop the best that is in a person is by honest and sincere appreciation - don’t flatter but actually mean what you have to say.
Number Three: Arouse in the other person an eager want.
This sounds a little weird at first but think about it like this: The only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and showing them how to get it. This means that you’re putting yourself in the other person’s POV and seeing things from their angle as well as your own.
Putting yourself in other people’s shoes is massively important because the world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage - he has little competition.
And that’s already it! As I said, it’s pretty simple: don’t complain, give sincere and honest appreciation and put yourself in their shoes. Now on to the next one!
Part II: Six Ways to Make People Like You
Unfortunately I can’t go into all six ways because that would be way too much to cover in here so I’m just going to boil it down to the most important ones. There’s so much information in the book that I can’t cover in here and that’s why I really recommend that you get that book on your own - it will be worth it!
Number One: Become genuinely interested in other people.
Have you ever wondered who the best friend winners of all time are? The answer is pretty straightforward, it’s dogs!
That’s because dogs greet you with their relentless enthusiasm and they are more interested in you than anything else at that moment. So if we want to make friends, let’s greet people with animation and enthusiasm, too!
There are two really easy ways to show others that you’re genuinely interested in them and what they have to say.
First, go out of your way to remember their name. I can’t stress this enough because the name makes the individual unique amongst others. The average person is more interested in their own name than all other names on earth put together. Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid a subtle and very effective complement. Forget it or misspell it, and you have a big disadvantage.
Secondly, talk in terms of the other person’s interests or in other words, talk about the things that are closest to the other person’s heart. Find out what other people really want to talk about and use that - we are interested in others when they are interested in us. It’s a two-way street!
Number Two: Smile.
This is by far the easiest way to increase your charisma and making people like you. And if you don’t feel like smiling in a situation like that then go out of your way and force yourself to smile, it will be so important.
That’s because the expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back. You must have a good time meeting people if you want them to have a good time meeting you.
So give people a real, heartwarming smile that comes from within (unlike an insincere grin) and feel the positive effects it will have!
Number Three: Make the other person feel important - and do it sincerely!
Again, if you do it in an insincere way, people will notice and it won’t be to your favor. Dale Carnegie’s Golden Rule is, “Give unto others what we would have others give unto us. All the time, everywhere.”
The easiest way to follow this rule is by listening attentively! If you want to be a good conversationalist, become an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested - ask questions that the other person will enjoy answering. Some people will think of you as a great communicator even if you pretty much don’t talk to them simply because you’re a good listener. It works wonders!
So again, encourage others to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. The lives of many people could probably be changed it only someone would make them feel important.
Part III: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
As I mentioned before, there are so many things I’d love to tell you in here but there’s simply not enough room. This part of the book actually has TWELVE whole chapters in and of itself - way too much for me to cover in here. So again, I’m just going to boil it down and pick out the most important lessons.
Number One: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
Before I say anything, keep in mind that arguing with your spouse or any other person you’re really close to is a completely different thing and there are exceptions.
But in most other situations, always avoid the acute angle - avoid it as you would avoid rattlesnakes and earthquakes. The thing is, you can’t win an argument. You can’t because if you lose, you lose it; and if you win, you lose it because the other person will probably resent your ‘triumph’.
The best way to win an argument is by not letting a disagreement become an argument in the first place. That’s why little things are so important. Little things like not telling someone, “You’re wrong!”. If you want to prove anything, don’t let anybody know it. Do it so subtly that no one will feel that you’re doing it.
And if it’s not the other person that’s wrong but yourself, then admit it. You will never get into trouble by admitting that you’re wrong. Plus, there is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors.
Any fool can try to defend his or her mistake - and most fools do - but it raises one above the herd and it gives one the feeling of nobility to admit one’s mistakes.
A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument, but by tact, diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint.
Number Two: Begin in a friendly way and let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
This one is pretty easy. Beginning in a friendly way basically means exactly what it says - life’s too short to not be a nice person. A drop of honey begets more flies than a gallon of gall!
And don’t begin a conversation by discussing the things on which you differ or disagree. Instead, begin by emphasizing - and keep on emphasizing - the things on which you agree. As I said before, it doesn’t pay to argue. He who treads softly goes far. Getting the other person to say “Yes, Yes!” all the time will open many more doors for you.
And if you want even more doors to open, use one of the lessons you learned earlier on and let the other person talk themselves out. They know more about their life and problems than you do, so ask them questions and let them tell you a few things.
Listen patiently and with an open mind - and most importantly, be sincere about it and really listen!
Number Three: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
I already mentioned this a few times but that’s because it’s really important. Understanding the other person’s point of view and being open minded is incredibly important when you’re dealing with people!
Remember that the other person may be totally wrong but he or she doesn’t think so. Don’t condemn them; any fool can do that - instead, try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that and I believe that you can be one of those.
A magic phrase that would stop arguments, eliminate ill feelings, create goodwill and make the other person listen attentively is: “I don’t blame you one bit for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”
Number Four: Appeal to the nobler motives.
A person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one. Try to see the good in people and make them feel that you consider them honest, upright and fair.
Walking around, looking for flaws in others won’t get you far and if you try to see the good, you will realize that nearly all people are actually really nice if you give them a chance!
As I said, there are so many more things I’d love to tell you about like dramatizing your ideas or throwing down a challenge for others. There are so many more things to learn and that’s why I think that “How to win friends and influence people” is a must-read for everyone!
Remember in the beginning when I said that the book was split up into four parts? The fourth and final part of the book is called “Be a Leader” and in there he talks about leadership in general (who would’ve guessed, right?).
Lessons on leadership are not exclusively for managers, parents or other people in such positions, but everyone can gain valuable life lessons from them.
Leadership is actually such an important area of life that we are going to write a seperate blog post dedicated to it with the help of another amazing book!
I hope you could learn something new today and I hope that your interest in Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece spiked. If you want to learn more and read the book on your own, you can simply click here or on any other link in this blog post and get your very own copy - you won’t regret your decision.
I hope that you’re equally excited about our next blog posts and that you will give that a read, too. Don’t forget to check out our other socials like Instagram and Twitter and definitely visit our older blog posts on our website and our YouTube channel for more amazing content and knowledge.
Until then, peace out!