Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence People is a classic. It was originally published in 1937 and has gone on to sell over 15 million copies.
As fast as the science changes for everything, it’s amazing that Dale Carnegie’s principles have passed the test of time.
We spent some time talking through three principles from the book in one of our recent team meetings. These tips seem so simple and easy, but just try to practice them. It’s hard to focus on other people and not talk about yourself.
#1 – “The only way on earth to influence people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.”
Studies show that “I” is the most commonly used pronoun in beginning conversations between two people.
In business, the customer does not care what you want. Any communication that emphasizes your wants/needs fails to communicate well.
You must allow your customer to tell you about themselves. Listen carefully to their wants/needs. Use that carefully gathered info to show them how you can help them get that.
#2 – Be genuinely interested in other people
Carnegie says, “The royal road to a man’s heart is to talk to him about the things he treasures the most.” The only way #1 works is if you’re genuinely interested in people. We’ve all been in scenarios where we knew the person we were talking to was checked out — even if they were “trying” to listen.
Especially in our digital age, people are more skilled than ever at spotting lack of genuineness. Here are a few tips to do this:
- Ask questions about what means the most to them
- Be excited when you greet them
- Make them the focus of the conversation
- Always make the other person feel important
Ralph Waldo Emerson said , “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”
#3 – Be a Good Listener
As you may have noticed, each of these principles builds upon the previous one. Listening is a critical skill if you want to win friends and influence people. Here are some tips:
- Repeat back key points so they know you’re listening – If you never engage in the conversations even if you’re listening, you’ll seem checked out.
- Never seem distracted, and never interrupt – This is the quickest way to make a person feel like you don’t care, you’re not interested, or you think you’re more important.
The good news is listening is a muscle you can exercise. Fast Company put together a list of “exercises” to improve your listening skills. Three stood out to me — practice empathizing, practice active listening, and practice being curious.