How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie is one of the most popular self-improvement books about how to deal effectively with other people. It is a classic book that remains a relevant even in modern social and business environments today. Becoming a better leader is part of any leader’s job, and this book helps to outline basic skills and practices you can incorporate into your everyday life to make positive steps towards turning those from practices to personality traits.
The book consists of 4 sections, with exercises in each chapter to help you attain the above goal, and they are as follows:
Part 1: Fundamental techniques in handling people
Part 2: Six ways to make people like you
Part 3: How to win people to your way of thinking
Part 4: Be a leader: how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment
A quick start approach would be to skim through the book, reading the section headers and the practices involved with each topic. Then, carefully study the most relevant sections before moving on to the others. This simple step helps you ingrain the practices and matters in your mind for future use.
Fundamental techniques in handling people
In part one of ‘HTWFAIP’ Dale Carnegie discusses basic psychological principles to apply to relationships when you want to get the most out of someone. This part is especially interesting as it explains and applies the lessons and psychological findings of B.F Skinner and uses those to help you communicate with someone because we are not often creatures of logic, but rather an emotion.
He discusses the need to provide honest and sincere appreciation to fulfill their desire to be important. Satisfying the basic requirements of the human ego is one of the quickest ways to build trust with them. By denying them this, you inspire resentment.
The final principle is to stimulate desire within that person by providing them with a goal they want. In other words, give people an objective that they want, not what you want. Dale acknowledges this as a fundamental principle in the motivation of others but also states that to employ this tactic effectively, you must develop empathic abilities and be able to see their point of view so as to be able to convince them that your goal is ultimately in their best interest.
Six ways to make people like you
Part two discusses simple actions that you can employ easily to gain a person’s trust and friendship. This was one of my favorite sections because these are all things that we’ve learned at a young age, but eventually, stop doing whether out of forgetfulness or perceived lack of value. He discussed showing genuine interest in other people, smiling and it’s psychological impact, listening to other people and encouraging them to discuss themselves, inspiring importance and even the simple task of remembering someone’s name. The combination of all these steps will lead to someone enjoying your company, and therefore “like you”.
How to win people to your way of thinking
Part three was quite informative as it discusses techniques you can use to steer a conversation successfully without the recipient feeling like they are being controlled. The principles that stood out the most to us revolve mainly around avoiding conflict with the person and include subjects such as:
- Admitting your shortcomings.
- Avoiding telling the person they are wrong.
- Using psychological priming with “yes questions” to influence the rest of the conversation to be positive.
- We should maintain a friendly tone to avoid prompting the recipient to respond with hostility.
- Let the person you are speaking with do the majority of the talking.
This last one seems counter-intuitive, however, the points he expresses about leaving someone free to speak their mind before interjecting allows them to feel like they’ve shown their idea entirely, leaving them far more responsive to the topic or point you have to add at that point. He goes on to discuss other key ways to lead a conversation effectively without inspiring conflict and succeeding in obtaining your goals.
Be a leader: how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment
Part four involves changing people’s core traits to be more efficient at completing tasks in the workplace. This is probably by far the most difficult section as everyone knows how sensitive people who are being subjected to change can be. Dale covers key topics such as how to approach providing criticism to someone, how to phrase your sentences neutrally to avoid giving direct orders and inspiring people to live up to a reputation you set for them by setting expectations. This section was particularly informative and helpful as these topics can not only help in the business world but personal relationships as well.
The book as a whole was a great read, and quite informative and useful in both workplace and personal situations. One thing to keep in mind while reading this book is that these are not magic tricks to help you win every conversation, but rather steps to take to change yourself as a person. By employing all these techniques in collaboration with one another, you will notice a change in the way that people respond to you in social and work environments. Reiteration and practice are essential to ensuring that you maintain these principles in your everyday life, but worth the time.
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