This article is a summary for How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie (one of the greatest best-selling books of all time). Let’s dive in.
This book is an action book. For “the great aim of education,” said Herbert Spencer, “is not knowledge but action.”
Part One: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- 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.
Let’s realize that the person we are going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself and condemn us in return; or, becoming resentful would say: “I don’t see how I could have done any differently from what I have.”
As Dr. Johnson said: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days.” Why should you and I?
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
There is only one way under high heaven to get anybody to do anything. Just one way. And that is by making the other person want to do it. Remember, there is no other way.
The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
First, 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.
“How can I make this person want to do it?” That question will stop us from rushing into a situation heedlessly, with futile chatter about our desires.
Part Two: Six Ways to Make People Like You
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
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.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
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. The information we are imparting or the request we are making takes on a special importance when we approach the situation with the name of the individual. From the waitress to the senior executive, the name will work magic as we deal with others.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Remember that the people you are talking to are a hundred times more interested in themselves and their wants and problems than they are in you and your problems. A person’s toothache means more to that person than a famine in China which kills a million people. A boil on one’s neck interests one more than forty earthquakes in Africa. Think of that the next time you start a conversation.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
“Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.” — Disraeli
Part Three: Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
When in a disagreement, consider the following steps to not transform that disagreement into 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. Keep calm.)
Control your temper.
Listen first. (Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate.)
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.
Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. (Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear.)
In preparation for this meeting, ask yourself some hard questions:
Could my opponents be right? Partly right? Is there truth or merit in their position or argument? Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem, or will it just relieve any frustration? Will my reaction drive my opponents further away or draw them closer to me? Will my reaction elevate the estimation good people have of me? Will I win or lose? What price will I have to pay if I win? If I am quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over? Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
Our first reaction to most of the statements (which we hear from other people) is an evaluation or judgment, rather than an understanding of it. When someone expresses some feeling, attitude or belief, our tendency is almost immediately to feel “that’s right,” “that’s unreasonable,” or “that’s stupid,” “that’s abnormal,” “that’s incorrect.”, “that’s not nice.” Very rarely do we permit ourselves to understand precisely what the meaning of the statement is to the other person.
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
By fighting you never get enough, but by yielding you get more than you expected.
- Begin in a friendly way.
“A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” — Abraham Lincoln
- 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. Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
La Rochefoucauld, the French philosopher, said: “If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.”
- 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?
“The reason why rivers and seas receive the homage of a hundred mountain streams is that they keep below them. Thus they are able to reign over all the mountain streams. So the sage, wishing to be above men, putteth himself below them; wishing to be before them, he putteth himself behind them. Thus, though his place be above men, they do not feel his weight; though his place be before them, they do not count it an injury. — Lao-tse
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
“Stop a minute,” says Kenneth M. Goode in his book How to Turn People Into Gold, “stop a minute to contrast your keen interest in your own affairs with your mild concern about anything else. Realize then, that everybody else in the world feels exactly the same way! Then, along with Lincoln and Roosevelt, you will have grasped the only solid foundation for interpersonal relationships; namely, that success in dealing with people depends on a sympathetic grasp of the other person’s viewpoint.”
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
Wouldn’t you like to have a magic phrase that would stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively?
Yes? All right. Here it is:
“I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”
- Appeal to the nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
“The way to get things done,” says Schwab, “is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.”
Part Four: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
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.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
Charles Schwab was passing through one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said “No Smoking. Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read?” Oh, no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.” They knew that he knew that they had broken a rule—and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important. Couldn’t keep from loving a man like that, could you?
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
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.
The legendary French aviation pioneer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry wrote: “I have no right to say or do anything that diminishes a man in his own eyes. What matters is not what I think of him, but what he thinks of himself. Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime.”
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
Abilities wither under criticism; they blossom under encouragement.
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Always 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 it is 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. We could give a curt order like this:
“John, we have customers coming in tomorrow and I need the stockroom cleaned out. So sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves and polish the counter.”
Or we could express the same idea by showing John the benefits he will get from doing the task:
“John, we have a job that should be completed right away. If it is done now, we won’t be faced with it later. I am bringing some customers in tomorrow to show our facilities. I would like to show them the stockroom, but it is in poor shape. If you could sweep it out, put the stock in neat piles on the shelves, and polish the counter, it would make us look efficient and you will have done your part to provide a good company image.”
The most fundamental message I received from the book:
The other person is only what matters in handling people, making them like you, aligning their thinking with yours, and leading and managing them. It is always the other person.
If interested, you can buy How to Win Friends & Influence People here.
All credit to this article goes to How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.