Jan Kubr

Posts Tagged ‘how to influence people’

A book read: How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie

In Uncategorized on December 28, 2007 at 11:22

OK last book about personal development. Seriously. For some time at least..

If you know me, you might find me quite a social person, but you know that deep inside I’m still rather a geek. Also I tend to be arrogant; especially against people who “don’t get it” (whatever that it is in the moment). I hoped this book could’ve shown me a way out of it a bit. And it did, actually. It is a good book. A bit too wordy, so you might read some paragraphs very quickly or even skip them, but still. This book was written in 1936 and it is the first book on human relations, by the way. The book has four parts with clearly stated tips in each. Here they are with my comments in italics:

Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
    People are often different from what you want them to be. However, instead of forcing them to change and criticizing them, try to understand them.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
    At many places in the book, Dale mentions that none of the techniques presented works unless you really mean it. Shallow flattery is not what will work.
  3. Arouse in the other people an eager want.
    Always talk about the benefits there are for the other person, not for you.

Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
    The word genuinely is very important. If you just pretend to be interested, you fail. There is something interesting about everyone and everything; you just need to have an open mind.
  2. Smile.
    It’s not that it will make you look better, it’ll help you feel better.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
    I’ve been careful about this since one of my ex-girlfriends broke up with me because I wasn’t mentioning her name enough. So no big lesson for me here this time..
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage other to talk about themselves.
    I’m pretty good at this. Although you might learn a bit by talking yourself (or writting a blog after all), listening (reading) is far more important. Then instead of talking, just act.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
    What does the other person want? What can I do to help make it happen?
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
    Everyone wants to feel important. And, in a way, everyone is important from one reason or another.

Part Three: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
    If you argue and you prove you are right, you lost anyway. The other person is not going to like you and they will seek the first opportunity to “beat you” the next time.
    You might know you’re right. But you don’t need to argue. As Dale says, “any fool can do that.” Be smarter. What are the benefits of having the argument?
    I tend to do this mistake quite a bit. I win – and then what? It does not make me feel much better, but it does make the other person feel bad.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
    See above, to win an argument should be rarely your goal.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
    It is unbelievable how many people can’t admit their mistakes. And saying “it’s my fault” works like magic! Also see step 4 in Joel’s Seven Steps to Remarkable Customer Service.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
    Be friendly from the very beginning. Care about the other person even if you don’t know them well yet.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
    Hmm, not sure about this one. Dale wants us to ask questions where the other person obviously will say yes (like “Do you want to save money?”) and get to the point where they will answer yes to whatever you want them to do, too. That sounds like a rather cheap (sales) trick to me, but it might work. I’d more concentrate on tip 8 from this section, though.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
    Especially good with complaining customers. Let them talk. And (important!) don’t think “lalala, are you going to stop yet?” Listen, appreciate that this person is sharing her thoughts with you, and learn from them.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
    I think this is a very powerful one. It is certainly difficult because everyone is proud of their own ideas. But it might not be all that important who came up with the idea first, right? If anything you want to happen happens, who cares whose idea it was?
    Sometimes you do need to take credit for your achievements because people might think you are useless otherwise. But don’t do it just to feel smarter and better than others. It won’t help anyone.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
    Crucial. Where does the other person come from, what is her background, what are his goals? Why is she doing what is she doing and how do you fit into the picture?
  9. Be sympathetic with other person’s ideas and desires.
    Don’t be like “who are you to tell me what is better for me?” Don’t make fun of people’s desires because if you were the other person, you might want the same. Again, try to think as the other person.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
    If someone insults you, don’t answer in the same tone. “Any fool can do that.” Be nice instead. Turn your enemies into friends easily.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
    Don’t just plain tell your ideas; come up with a way to demonstrate them.
  12. Throw down a challenge.
    If you want someone to do something difficult, try to call it “the most important task of this project” for example.
    Also, if you are able to stimulate competition, in the positive “desire to excel” way within your team, you’re on your way to success.

Part Four: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
    Even if it’s sometimes too obvious, it never hurts you stress something positive before you get to the not-so-nice things you want to say.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
    This is hard to do I think, but very powerful. Dale says for example: Suggest you give people more time for the job if they need it to make things better. They might say to themselves: “I’m not that slow, I’m can do better!”
    Dale also suggests you avoid the word “but” and you use “and” instead. Compare “you do well, but you can do better” with “you do well and I know you can do even better.”
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
    Again, admit your mistakes. Sounds easy, ha?
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
    Wouldn’t be better to do this instead? Why do you take this approach here? Many people will find themselves wrong without you telling them directly.
    One thing comes to my mind here: Note that you might be wrong and the other person might be right. Now you think something is wrong, but it might not be the case. If you ask “why do you this?” first, you’ll never look like a fool.
  5. Let the other person save face.
    ..you’ll never look like a fool = you save your face. Which is what everyone wants. The best way to make an enemy is to point to their mistakes in front of other people. The best way to make a friend is to sort the person’s mistake out without talking too much about it.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in you approbation and lavish in your praise.”
    Everyone likes compliments. Don’t forget to be sincere though. Praise what you really like.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
    Again, people want to feel important. Give an important name to what people do and they feel better about it. Don’t be shallow though.
    I got an e-mail from Killer Startups saying that they’ve published a review of Flempo. The e-mail starts with “Dear CEO, we wanted to let you know..” Did someone from them read this book?
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
    I’d say: instead of talking about what all has the mistake caused, start working on the correction.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
    Don’t say “do this because it’s your job,” try to think what good can the person gain by doing it.

Dale has many examples for each of the tips. Some are very useful, some less, some seem to belong to another part of the book. But all are worth reading, that’s for sure.

All of the tips are very important of course. The main thing I’m taking from this book though is:

If you want to make a person your friend or influence them, try to think as they do. What are their motives, desires, goals? What would I want if I were in their position with their background? What would make me feel important and appreciated and what would make me feel lousy? What is it the other person needs to do to make me feel happy?