These are the very first words I found when opening Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People. I have never seen a book promise that much, less be able to deliver. Yet it managed to deliver on that promise.
This book is filled with easy to apply principles of human relations which, from experience, will improve your communication skills, increase your ability to persuade others, give you more harmonious interactions, help you get what you want, and overall will change your life. Applying these principles will certainly give you an edge if you are in customer service, sales, management, or leadership.
If you have never read this book, you should do so immediately. If you have read it before and it's been a while, read it again. I'm on my 15th time (give or take, I actually lost count!) I look at it as an owner's manual on human relations and life in general.
You can start to see how you can gain an edge just by looking at the section headers of the book:
- Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Six Ways to Make People Like You
- How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
If you don't want to improve in these areas, you need an immediate injection of empathy in your thyroid.
Carnegie sums up the lesson of each chapter "In a Nutshell." To whet your whistle, I've listed the lessons below. Some are easy to understand and apply as they are written, such as the very first lesson "Don't criticize, condemn, or complain" and "Smile." (Yes, there is a chapter written on the power of a smile! For those who know me, this is the reason I smile most of the time.)
Others may require a little more in the way of explanation such as "Appeal to the Nobler Motives" and "Dramatize Your Ideas." No matter how simplistic and easily understandable Carnegie's principles may seem on the surface, he brings the "Why" and the "How To" to life in each chapter. He blends historical figures and everyday situations that are easy to relate to. His book is not only enjoyable, but compelling as well.
Here are the main principles:
1. Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
• Don't criticize, condemn, or complain. 'If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive."
• Give honest and sincere appreciation- it's the big secret of dealing successfully with people.
• 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".
2. Six Ways to Make People Like You
• Become genuinely interested in other people- Do this and you will be welcome anywhere.
• Smile- A simple way to make a good first impression.
• Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language- If you don't do this, you are headed for trouble.
• Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves - This is an easy way to become a good conversationalist.
• Talk in terms of the other person's interests. This is how to interest people.
• Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely to make people like you instantly.
3. How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
• You can't win anargument- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
• Never say "You're wrong." This is a sure way of making enemies. Show respect for the other person's opinions.
• If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Begin in a friendly way- This is Carnegie's drop of honey.
• Get the other person saying "Yes, Yes" immediately - It's the secret of Socrates.
• Let the other person do a great deal of the talking- This is the safety valve in handling complaints.
• Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers in order to get cooperation.
• Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view - his formula will work wonders for you. Try it!
• Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and wants - Everybody wants this!
• Appeal to the nobler motives - An appeal that everybody likes.
• Dramatize your ideas- The movies do it. TV does it. Why don't you do it?
• Throw down a challenge- Try this when nothing else works.
4. Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
• Begin with praise and honest appreciation- If you must find fault, this is the way to begin.
• Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly- How to criticize and not be hated for it.
• Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
• Ask questions instead of giving direct orders- Because no one likes to take orders.
• Let the other person save face.
• Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be "hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise." This is how to spur people on to success.
• Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
• Make the fault seem easy to correct- Use encouragement.
• Make the other people feel happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Although you could easily become a better "You" just by reading and implementing some of the principles listed here, I strongly recommend that you read the book from cover to cover so that you can get the entirety of Carnegie's message. I strongly recommend reading it multiple times so that it can be internalized and become natural part of who you are.
If you are a President, a C-Level executive, a VP, or any level of Management, I strongly recommend buying a copy of this book for your whole team. If they only take one thing from it, they will be a better performer for you, those around them, and your customers.
This has been a public service message. If everybody reading this applies just one thing in their day to day lives, the world will be a better place!