How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (Book Summary + PDF)
How to Win Friends and Influence People was first written by Dale Carnegie in 1937. Since then it has sold over 15 million copies and become one of the most successful and influential business books of all time.
He wrote the book because he found out that the ability to communicate and deal with people properly is a HUGELY important business and life skill.
He claims that the amount of money we earn doesn’t necessarily reflect our technical knowledge (how-to stuff), but much more our ability to deal with people and our ability to lead people. If we want to earn more, get a promotion, or increase our business, it pays to learn how to effectively deal with people. (This claim is backed by science.)
This is what this book is all about. And it will not only help you in business, but truly in any area of life where people are involved. It will help you solve or most of the time even completely avoid conflicts. It will help you convince people of your ideas and opinions. It will make you a better leader. It will turn you into a conversation master. It will help you win friends. It will help you influence people more easily.
And most of all, it will make people LIKE you A LOT. Seriously. People will LOVE you if you apply the principles of this book. They will enjoy spending time with you and being around you. All because you will be only one of very few people who know how to deal with people in a nice, genuine, understanding, and successful way.
To achieve all of the aforementioned things and more, Carnegie teaches us a total of 30 principles divided into 4 parts:
- PART 1: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People (3 Principles)
- PART 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You (6 Principles)
- PART 3: How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking (12 Principles)
- PART 4: Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment (9 Principles)
We will be discussing each of the 30 principles separately.
There’s a lot to cover, a lot to learn, and a lot to read (it’s absolutely worth it though, I promise); so let’s jump right in with part 1 and principle 1...
PART 1: Fundamental Techniques in
Handling People (3 Principles)
Welcome to part 1!
There are three fundamental techniques for handling people. They are kind of basic and unspecific, but MASSIVELY important whenever we’re dealing with people.
These simple techniques will be repeated throughout the book.
In fact, many techniques will constantly be repeated in different principles. I’m pretty sure that Dale Carnegie did that on purpose to make things really clear and truly hammer these techniques into our mind through constant repetition. So, if you sometimes feel like you’ve already heard something before, that’s how it should be.
Principle #1: 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.
Criticism is dangerous. It puts a person on the defensive, makes him want to justify himself.
Criticism also arouses resentment, and hurts that person’s pride, feelings, ego, and sense of importance.
If we criticize someone, that person will usually almost immediately start to resent us. “Who do you think you are?! Do you think you’re better than me?! You couldn’t have done it better either. Next time I will criticize you, too, you little know-it-all.” This might be something they’re thinking.
Another thing that happens is that the person who gets criticized will start to justify himself. He will invent all kinds of reasons why it wasn’t his fault, why he couldn’t have done anything else, and that he tried everything he could. At best, that’s the start of a hefty dispute, nothing else. That’s leading us exactly nowhere. Even if someone KNOWS that he’s probably wrong, he will still justify himself.
What a HUGE waste of time and energy that could have been spared if a better way of handling such a situation had been used (we’ll learn many better approaches in this book).
Think about the last time you’ve been criticized for something.
Didn’t you immediately start to justify yourself? Be honest. You probably did, right? We all do it naturally. Another question. Did you like the person for criticizing you? Or did you resent the other person? Resentment, right? Again, this is our natural inclination. It’s just how it works…
Let's realize that criticisms are like homing pigeons. They always return home. Let's realize that the person we are going to correct and condemn will probably justify himself or herself, and condemn us in return
Ultimately criticisms will always come back to us in the form of resentment and condemnation.
What we should do instead of criticizing is try to understand the other person. Be understanding and forgiving. Try to figure out why they do what they do. Try to see the situation from their perspective. This approach breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness instead of resentment and justification.
Criticizing, condemning and complaining is easy. To be understanding and forgiving takes self-control and character.
(By the way, studies completely back up this point. They show that human beings learn much faster through positive reinforcement than through criticism or even punishment. Reward for good behavior works better than criticism for bad behavior.)
Principle #2: Give Honest And Sincere Appreciation
John Dewey, one of America's most profound philosophers, said that the deepest urge in human nature is "the desire to be important."
What do we all want? We want to survive, to eat and drink, to sleep, to have enough money, to protect our children and loved-ones, to have sex… AND we want to feel important.
Fairly often all of these basic wants are gratified – all EXCEPT a feeling of importance.
One way to give people a feeling of importance, is by giving them sincere appreciation and encouragement. Letting them know that they are important, what they do is important, and that they are doing a great job (at whatever it is).
Lincoln once began a letter saying: "Everybody likes a compliment." William James said: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." He didn't speak, mind you, of the "wish" or the "desire" or the "longing" to be appreciated. He said the "craving" to be appreciated.
Everybody likes a compliment. Everybody likes a pat on the back. Everybody likes sincere appreciation. Everbody likes to know that what they do is important and that they do it well and that they should continue doing it.
Remember from earlier that people respond much better to positive reinforcement (appreciation) than to criticism. Positive reinforcement gives us a feeling of importance and makes us want to do even better next time, while criticism kills our ambition.
(Whenever I’m talking about positive reinforcements, compliments, and appreciation, I assume that these are meant sincerely.)
The difference between appreciation and flattery? That is simple. One is sincere and the other insincere.
Dale Carnegie tells us we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hungry for appreciation.
When we can truly appreciate someone, we give that person a feeling of importance. We give him motivation, increase his self-esteem, and ultimately make him feel better about himself.
When you think about it this way, it’s really a no-brainer… it doesn’t even cost a thing.
So what are some easy ways to do this?
We could compliment a co-worker on her great speech. Tell her that we really liked how confident she was. That we wish we’d also be as confident as her in front of a huge crowd. We could let her know that we got a lot out of it, that we learned a lot, that her PowerPoint slides were well put together, that she brought the point across very well…
We can try to find little things that most people don’t recognize but the person itself probably did on purpose. Maybe she’s wearing shoes that match her trousers very well.
We can appreciate someone’s personality traits like patience, ambition, and honesty. We can compliment someone on his or her work ethic. We could tell that person that we realize how hard he or she is working. We can compliment someone’s clothing style. Even a simple “Thank You” can do the job if it’s expressed through sincere appreciation.
Whatever it is... TRUE, FROM THE HEART appreciation is always welcome and satisfies a person’s craving to be appreciated. It satisfies their need to feel important.
Principle #3: Arouse In The Other Person An Eager Want
Why talk about what we want? That is childish. Absurd. Of course, you are interested in what you want. You are eternally interested in it. But no one else is. The rest of us are just like you: we are interested in what we want.
So the only way on earth to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it.
This principle is absolutely KEY in influencing others.
To convince someone to do something, we must tell them what they will get out of it. What’s in it for them? How will they profit from this? How will this improve their life?
They don’t care about us, or why it’s going to help us. They couldn’t care less. What they care about is themselves and THEMSELVES ONLY. That’s basic human nature.
So to persuade someone, we must first be able to see things from their perspective. We must see things from their point of view. We must ultimately be able to convince them that it’s in their best interest. In other words, we must arouse in the other person an eager want.
Let’s say we’re trying to convince our kids to eat their broccoli. To convince the kids, we must think about reasons why they would want to eat it. Certainly not because it’s healthy… they couldn’t care less about that at their age. What we can do instead, is to paint a picture in their mind as to how their life will improve if they eat the broccoli. We can tell them that they will grow tall, strong, and handsome. That they will become great athletes because of all the nutrients in it. We can tell them that they will be the smartest kids in the class, and that the other kids will adore them for being so smart.
The key is finding reasons why the other person would want to do it. Reasons why it would be in their best interest to do it.
Let’s pretend you wrote a book and want to sell it to me. If you just tell me, “Hey Nils, I wrote this awesome book. Do you want to buy it?” NOOOOOO! NO! NO! NO! I don’t care and I don’t want to buy it… Why should I? What’s in it for me? How will this book help me? How will this book improve my life? How will it make me feel better? I don’t know. I don’t see how this book will add value to my life. So no thanks…
Here’s what you should tell me instead, “Hey Nils, I got this book that shows you how to make more money so that you can buy your dream house, dream car, and generally buy anything you want. It will also show you how to do X and Y so that you can achieve this and that and even more.” NOW we’re talking! NOW I’m interested. NOW I see why I might want to get this book. I see what’s in it for me. I see how I will benefit from it… in other words, you aroused in me an eager want to buy this book from you.
Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: "How can I make this person want to do it?"
See the situation from the other person’s perspective and find reasons why they would want to do it. How would they benefit from this? What’s in it for them? How could I make them want to do it?
In short: Arouse an eager want in them.
Part 1 In a Nutshell: Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
So that was part 1 and the first 3 principles for winning friends and influencing people:
- Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Off to part 2...
PART 2: Six Ways to Make People Like You
Welcome to the second part!
Here you will discover 6 ways to make people like you.
Let’s jump right in!
Principle #1: 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.
The premise of this chapter is pretty simple. We can make more friends by becoming genuinely interested in other people than by talking about ourselves and trying to constantly convince them how awesome we are.
In a way we can learn this principle very well from dogs.
What do they do when we get home? They couldn’t be more excited and they greet as with sheer joy and enthusiasm. In other words, they show genuine interest in us. And it pays off for the dogs. They don’t have to work a day in their life. All they have to do is give us love.
The reason we like dogs so much, is the exact same reason why we like people. We LOVE people who are genuinely interested in us, who think we are good people, who seem to like us, and we especially love people who admire us.
On the other hand, you may have some friends that are constantly talking about themselves, bragging about how awesome they are, trying to impress everyone, and never give you a moment of time to talk about yourself or your interests. If you are trying to speak, they aren’t even listening properly. Instead they seem annoyed by the fact that you’re now talking, and are waiting for any moment to take over the conversation again. Or even worse, they constantly interrupt you while you’re talking. Ugh… I know some people who are just like that. I mean they are great people and all, but boy that is fcking annoying. I mean, give me a break!
The problem with these people is that they show NO interest in us. That’s why we don’t like them as much as others.
Okay, so what are some practical ways to show genuine interest in people?
One thing we can do is to always greet others with animation and enthusiasm as if we would like to tell them something like “Hey, it’s great seeing you again!” “I always enjoy seeing you.” “I like you”. “You’re really cool and interesting!” “I appreciate knowing you!” We should greet people in a way that shows we’re actually INTERESTED and EXCITED to see and talk to them.
Another thing is to just genuinely be curious and interested in our conversations. If your opposite mentions the she’s going to Spain in a few weeks, be curious and ask her about it. Where is she going? What is she going to do there? Why is she going there in the first place? Try to be interested in what she’s talking about.
If your buddy is talking to you about a book he just read and you feel that he really enjoyed it, ask him about it. What’s the book about? Why did he enjoy it so much? Just let him talk about it and if the opportunity presents itself, ask a follow-up question. By doing that you indicate that you’re truly interested in what he’s talking about.
Again, I emphasize that this interest should be GENUINE. Don’t fake it…
Principle #2: Smile
Your smile is a messenger of your good will. Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it. To someone who has seen a dozen people frown, scowl or turn their faces away, your smile is like the sun breaking through the clouds. Especially when that someone is under pressure from his bosses, his customers, his teachers or parents or children, a smile can help him realize that all is not hopeless - that there is joy in the world.
Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says, “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
I LOVE it!
A smile brightens the lives of all who see it. A smile says “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
Let’s smile more often!
Most of us are super concerned about how we dress ourselves, and about how we look in general. A quick look in the mirror before leaving the house is a must for most people. We want to look good for the rest of the world.
What we often forget is that what we wear on our face speaks louder than what we wear on our bodies. Most people nowadays wear a frown on their face instead of a smile.
"People who smile tend to manage, teach, and sell more effectively, and to raise happier children. There’s far more information in a smile than a frown. That’s why encouragement is a much more effective teaching device than punishment." – James V. McConnell
Smiles are powerful.
They can completely turn around someone’s day. I remember when I was in Brighton, UK, a few weeks ago. As I was walking down the street with my frown on my face (I was a bit nostalgic as I was thinking about old friends that I’d met there and not seen in a while), a man with a guitar walked towards me with a huge smile on his face. As he walked past me, he said, “Smile mate, the sun is out.” That simple sentence and smile completely transformed my mood.
Smiling is an easy way to make people like you. So whenever you go out, remind yourself of smiling at people. When you’re buying something in a shop, smile at the cashier. When you’re meeting your friends, smile and show them appreciation for being there. If you’re at the bar ordering drinks, smile at the bartender. Even when you’re on the telephone, smile because the person on the other end will notice it. Brighten the lives of others. Show them “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.”
What if you don’t feel like smiling?
You don’t feel like smiling? Then what? Two things. First, force yourself to smile. If you are alone, force yourself to whistle or hum a tune or sing. Act as if you were already happy, and that will tend to make you happy.
Mood follows action. Keep that always in mind. If you don’t feel like smiling, just force yourself to do it, and in no time you will be cheerful again and smile automatically.
Principle #3: Remember That A Person's Name Is To That Person The Sweetest And Most Important Sound In Any Language
… the average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together. Remember that name and call it easily, and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment. But forget it or misspell it - and you have placed yourself at a sharp disadvantage.
Remembering and using someone’s name is a great and incredibly simple way to make a person feel important. Dale Carnegie says that it’s like making the other person a subtle compliment.
Remembering and calling someone by his or her name is a bit like saying: “Hey, I remember you. I know you. You’re important to me.” Whereas forgetting someone’s name is doing the exact opposite. It’s like saying to that person, “Whoops! Sorry dude, who are you again? You’re not that important to me.”
The WORST thing that can happen is to forget the name a couple of times and then have to ask the other person for the 4th time what his or her name is. At that point you’ve pretty much shown to the other person that he or she is not important to you. That person will probably think, “This is the fourth time that I see this guy and he still doesn’t know my name? Wow, he must really give zero shits about me. What a douche!”
Seriously. If you reconnect with someone you’ve met before and don’t remember their name you’re starting off on the wrong foot.
Next time you meet someone, make a sincere effort to remember that person’s name. If you don’t fully understand, ask her to repeat it. If it’s a weird name, ask her to spell it for you. If necessary, write the name down at the next possible opportunity. That’s what Napoleon did. He would write the name down when he was alone, look at it, concentrate on it, fix it securely in his mind, and then tear up the paper. That’s how important names are!
- Remember people’s names
- Use their name when you’re calling them or are in a conversation with them
The second point is really important, too. If you meet someone for the first time, and use their name a couple of times during the conversation, you can be sure that this person will remember you. There simply aren’t a lot of people who make the effort to do this.
Remember people’s names and call them by their name. It’s like telling the other person that he or she is important to you. In Dale Carnegie’s words: It’s like paying that person a subtle compliment.
Principle #4: Be A Good Listener – Encourage Others to Talk About Themselves
If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
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.
People care mainly about themselves, their problems, their aspirations, their goals, and their interests. Oh and they LOVE talking about these things. All other things in this world are secondary. Especially other people’s problems. Ugh… other people’s problems. Who cares, right?
Carnegie encourages us to let the other person do most of the talking.
This way the other person can talk about all the things that he or she finds interesting, and doesn’t have to listen to our problems which they usually don’t care about anyway. What we can do while the other person is talking is to be genuinely interested, attentive, and possibly ask a few questions. Especially questions that we think the other person will enjoy answering. Again, it’s not about us. It’s about them.
Carnegie tells a story from when he once attended a party where he met a botanist whom he found very fascinating. For hours and hours he was listening with excitement as the botanist was talking about his life and his passion (plants, gardens, flowers etc...), until the party ended and everyone went home.
Before leaving, that botanist told the host of the party that Carnegie was an interesting conversationalist and he gave him several compliments.
Carnegie must have made a fine impression on the botanist. Funny enough, he hardly said a word for being called a good conversationalist. What he did instead was to show a genuine interest in the botanist and his passion. He listened attentively and let him do the majority of the talking.
And so I had him thinking of me as a good conversationalist when, in reality, I had been merely a good listener and had encouraged him to talk.
Again, that worked so well because people love talking about themselves and they love people who are interested in them. So, if they find in you someone who will genuinely listen to them and who is genuinely interested in what they have to say, they will LOVE you for it.
(Btw, I’m NOT saying that you should waste hours and hours listening to someone you don’t care about. These tactics work, but it’s your job to figure when to use them and with which people.)
Next time you have a conversation, try to pay attention to how much of the talking you do. Are you the one who’s doing most of the talking or are you listening more? How are you listening? Are you actively listening or are you already thinking about what you’re going to say next? Are you asking questions? Are you talking about yourself all the time? Or are you letting the other person talk about his or her interests, and problems?
By the way, do you want to know a good way to make someone definitely NOT like you?
If you want to know how to make people shun you and laugh at you behind your back even despise you, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Talk incessantly about yourself. If you have an idea while the other person is talking, don’t wait for him or her to finish: bust right in and interrupt in the middle of a sentence.
Good stuff. Try it out sometime…
You get the point:
People care mainly about themselves. They LOVE talking about their problems, their struggles, and what’s going on in their lives. If you want to make the other person like you let him or her do most of the talking and let them talk about themselves.
Principle #5: Talk In Terms Of The Other Person's Interests
…the royal road to a person's heart is to talk about the things he or she treasures most.
Talking in terms of the other person's interests pays off for both parties.
This one’s straightforward.
If we are in a conversation with someone it’s generally a good idea to direct the topic to something the other person is interested in. That helps us find some common ground, connect, and build rapport with the other person.
Let’s pretend you know that Janine hates the military and is strongly against it. If you, on the other hand, are in favor of the military and think it’s a necessity, what will happen if the two of you will start talking about the military? It will probably be a disaster and you’ll very likely end up in a fiery discussion about who’s right and who’s wrong. One thing is clear: You won’t become best buddies…
If instead you know that you and Janine both love mountains, what do you think will happen if you start talking about mountains? The conversation will flow like crazy. You might say, “Mountains are awesome because they are so big and strong!” And she will respond, “Exactly! Mountains are so awesome. Did you ever hear about the Mount Prutu? That is the biggest mountain in Eastern Europe and …….” You guys will be in a lively discussion that both of you enjoy. And because you are both genuinely interested in the topic, it’s very likely that you’ll start to like each other. You’ve found common ground and are connecting and bonding.
This is also especially important if you want something from someone.
You can’t just go up to that person and ask for it. It’s much smarter if you first connect with that person or at least put that person in a good mood.
That’s exactly what will happen if you direct the conversation to something that they are interested in. Let them talk about it and you will notice that their mood is quickly improving. Then once they’re in a good mood and like you for letting them talk about themselves and their interests, you can ask them. The odds are much better that they’ll accept your offer, proposal, or whatever.
Whenever Theodore Roosevelt (the 26th president of the United States) expected a visitor, he would stay up late the night before, find out what interests the other person has, and then read up on that. This made sure that he could direct the conversation to something that his visitor was interested in. Nifty strategy, eh?
Here’s another example you probably know from your childhood:
Let’s pretend you’re a kid and for whatever reason you just broke your mother’s favorite coffee mug. When are you going to tell her? Do you tell her when she’s already stressed out, pissed off, or even angry because of something else? Or do you wait until she is in a good mood, generally happy and positive? As far as I can remember, I always waited until my mother was in a good mood, or until I had something positive to tell her beforehand (like a good grade at school).
This is the same principle.
What you could also do is ask the mother about something you know she loves to talk about. Ask her about that TV show she loves watching. Anything that boosts her mood will do. And only AFTER you’ve done that, you tell her about the broken mug.
So, next time you’re talking to someone, try to direct the conversation to something that the other person is interested in. You will soon see that the conversation becomes much more animated and enjoyable. (Especially for the other person, who will then, in return, love you for that.)
Principle #6: Make The Other Person Feel Important - And Do It Sincerely
There is one all-important law of human conduct. If we obey that law, we shall almost never get into trouble. In fact, that law, if obeyed, will bring us countless friends and constant happiness. But the very instant we break the law, we shall get into endless trouble.
The law is this: Always make the other person feel important. John Dewey, as we have already noted, said that the desire to be important is the deepest urge in human nature; and William James said: "The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." As I have already pointed out, it is this urge that differentiates us from the animals. It is this urge that has been responsible for civilization itself.
You want the approval of those with whom you come in contact. You want recognition of your true worth. You want a feeling that you are important in your little world. You don't want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery, but you do crave sincere appreciation. All of us want that.
This is important.
We all crave appreciation and a feeling of importance. We all want approval. We all want to know that we’re doing a good job, that we’re good people, that other people like us, that they appreciate us, and that we’re important.
The question is: How do we make other people feel important? How can we nurture this deep desire in other people? (We’ve actually already discussed a few strategies in previous chapters.)
One way to do it is to ask ourselves this question: What can I truly admire about this person?
Let’s say someone obviously goes to the gym often and has a lot of muscles. This would be a thing to admire about him. So in that case we could tell him, “Man, you’re quite a machine eh?” “Those are some huge fcking arms!” “How often do you train in a week?” “I’m sure you’re working hard for that eh?”
This does so many great things on so many different levels. First, it gives him a feeling of importance. He gets appreciation and knows that all the hard hours that he spends in the gym get recognized by other people. This makes him already feel pretty good about himself. Second, by asking about his training frequency, you give him authority be implying that he must know a lot about working out. He can now teach you a bit about it. Third, he gets a chance to talk about something he’s interested in.
These are all great things for you. In that scenario it’s almost impossible, that this person will NOT like you.
That’s how powerful this little strategy can be.
Find something you can truly admire about another person and make him or her a sincere and honest compliment. This gives the other person a feeling of importance and makes him or her like you in turn.
Part 2 In a Nutshell: Six Ways to Make People Like You
That was part 2 of the book, all about making people like us. Here are his six principles:
- Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Principle 2: Smile.
- Principle 3: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Principle 4: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Principle 6: Make the other person feel important-and do it sincerely.
PART 3: How to Win People to Your Way of
Thinking (12 Principles)
Alright, so those were 6 ways to make other people like you. Now we’ll change gears a bit and look at 12 principles to help you win people to your way of thinking.
Let’s go for it!
Principle #1: The Only Way To Get The Best Of An Argument Is To Avoid It
You can't win an argument. You can't because if you lose it, you lose it; and if you win it, you lose it. Why? Well, suppose you triumph over the other man and shoot his argument full of holes and prove that he is non compos mentis. Then what? You will feel fine. But what about him? You have made him feel inferior. You have hurt his pride. He will resent your triumph.
We MUST avoid arguments like the plague.
There’s nothing to win and everything to lose. How many friendships have been broken because of some silly argument? How many marriages have been divorced because of constant arguing? How much grief, sadness, resentment, hatred, hurt feelings, deaths, and even wars have been caused by some dumb arguments?
Carnegie makes the point that we can’t win an argument. Even if we “officially“ win, all we get is someone who resents us and probably waits for a chance to punch back. Think about it. The person who has lost the argument feels embarrassed, uncomfortable, hurt in his pride, and probably feels very angry towards you. The loser of any argument might think something like this: “So what!? You were right? Big deal! Did you really have to embarrass me in front of other people? Fcking smart ass! Just wait for payback! Revenge is sweet mother*****!”
You made him feel inferior and as a result of that he now wants to punch you in the face…
So, even if you are right, what will arguing about it yield? Why prove the other person wrong? Is that going to make the other person like you? Why not instead let him save face?
Remember, you have nothing to gain (except a little ego boost maybe) by “winning” an argument and everything to lose.
Principle #2: Show Respect For The Other Person's Opinions. Never Say, "You're Wrong."
You can tell people they are wrong by a look or an intonation or a gesture just as eloquently as you can in words - and if you tell them they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! For you have struck a direct blow at their intelligence, judgment, pride and self-respect. That will make them want to strike back. But it will never make them want to change their minds. You may then hurl at them all the logic of a Plato or an Immanuel Kant, but you will not alter their opinions, for you have hurt their feelings.
What happens when you tell someone that they’re wrong? Instantaneously they will see it as a challenge and try to prove themselves right. They will start to explain and justify their side of things and the two of you will soon find yourselves in the middle of a heated discussion. (Which we try to avoid, right?)
Usually such discussions are huge ego battles and everyone is trying to prove to the others and everyone else around that he’s smarter, more intelligent, and most importantly: that he’s RIGHT!
What’s worst about all of this:
You have NOTHING to gain, except a little bit of ego gratification.
If you DO prove them wrong “officially”, then two things will happen. First, they will resent you, because you’ve hurt their pride and their feelings. (Similarly to when you “win” an argument) Second, they will do everything to still prove you wrong. They will want to strike back. They will not believe you, but they will try to find out that they were actually right. They might, depending on the disagreement, hit up google for a few hours to try and find that maybe they were in fact right. They will try everything to find out that they were right.
Here’s what will definitely NOT happen:
They will NOT want to agree with you and they will NOT want to change their mind.
So what should we do instead?
If a person makes a statement that you think is wrong - yes, even that you know is wrong - isn't it better to begin by saying: "Well, now, look, I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let's examine the facts."
What a different reaction that will bring!
Instead of using insulting phrases, we should start to use phrases that let the other person know that we understand them and respect their opinion.
- You’re wrong!
- Terrible idea!
- That will never work in a million years!
Such phrases won’t work very well… Try these instead:
- Well, now, look, I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let’s examine the facts.
- Well, that’s possible. I thought that … but you might be right.
- Hmm that can be, yes. I believe that … but I might be wrong.
We MUST try to see the situation from the other person’s perspective.
From the OTHER PERSON’s perspective! If you tell him that his idea sucks, he may think to himself: “What an a**hole! I’ve spent 5 days coming up with that idea! I’m sure he doesn’t have a better idea either! Let me prove to that guy what an idiot he is!” How is that ever going to help us? Hint: It’s NOT! (Because we didn’t respect his opinion.)
When dealing with people, we have to be very careful not to hurt their feelings, pride, self-respect, or other sensitivities. We have to RESPECT their opinion and see the situation from their perspective.
If you are going to prove anything, don’t let anybody know it. Do it so subtly, so adroitly, that no one will feel you are doing it.
Principle #3: If You Are Wrong, Admit It Quickly And Emphatically
There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one's errors. It not only clears the air of guilt and defensiveness, but often helps solve the problem created by the error.
Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes - and most fools do - but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one's mistakes.
Carnegie tells the story of taking his dog to the park without a leash, and then running into a police officer who scolded him, because it was against the law. Carnegie knew that his dog wouldn’t like being on a leash so he let him run free again next time. He ran into the officer again and knew he would be in trouble. Instead of waiting for the police officer to scold him again, Carnegie spoke up first, apologized, admitted he was wrong, admitted that he shouldn’t have done it, and that it won’t happen again.
The police officer was baffled and didn’t really know what to say at first. Then he responded in a very soft tone, told Carnegie it was OK, that he was overreacting, and even told him to take his dog off the leash on the other side of the hill where he wouldn’t see him.
That policeman, being human, wanted a feeling of importance; so when I began to condemn myself, the only way he could nourish his self-esteem was to take the magnanimous attitude of showing mercy.
I think that policeman also gained a feeling of importance by putting himself above the law by permitting Carnegie to let his dog off the leash on the other side of the hill where he wouldn’t see him.
Now ask yourself what would have happened if Carnegie didn’t admit he was wrong and instead would have defended himself and tried to justify his decision. The two would have ended up in a bad discussion about whether that law makes sense or not and that everyone has to obey the law even if they don’t think it makes sense blablabla… Would that have made the two best friends? Probably not.
So, next time when you’re wrong, admit it. Don’t try to dance around it and attempt to sugar coat it. It’s better to just admit your mistake, say you’re sorry, and show contrition.
Also, if you’ve made a mistake that might go unnoticed, challenge yourself to point it out and admit your mistake. That will save you a lot of energy than just waiting and secretly hoping that nobody will ever find out.
Principle #4: Begin In A Friendly Way
If your temper is aroused and you go off on someone and tell them a thing or two, you might feel good afterwards, but how does that person feel? Do they want to agree with your points after you embarrassed them and attacked their pride?
You’re angry or frustrated at someone and your natural reaction is to go up to that person and tell them straight in the face what’s going on. You unload your feelings towards them and properly tell them your opinion! Pheeew that felt great! You showed them what you’re made of! That will teach them a lesson or two, right?!?
Just think about the other person for a second. Is he going to like you? NOOOO! Not a little tiny bit! He will resent and despise you and wait for an opportunity for payback.
We CAN’T force someone to agree with us.
The sun can make you take off your coat more quickly than the wind; and kindliness, the friendly approach and appreciation can make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster and storming in the world.
What we CAN do instead is to be friendly and kind like the sun. We can come in and say, “Hey, I think this didn’t really work out as planned. Let’s sit down, talk this through and see if we can make this right.” In other words, we can begin in a friendly way.
Let’s pretend your landlord sends you a letter announcing that the rent will go up for the second time in a short period of time. You can’t afford that! You’re pissed and think that the landlord is a greedy pig. Your first idea is to go up to him and blast him for being so greedy. Then you stop and think and realize that this will never convince the landlord to lower the rent again. So you remind yourself of what Carnegie advises us to do instead: Begin in a friendly way.
So here’s what you do:
You tell the landlord that you really like the apartment and neighborhood here. You tell him that he’s really doing a good job running the place. You tell him all the good things that you enjoy. Maybe he’s always quick to send over someone to repair something if it’s broken or whatever. The point is: You start in a friendly way and only then you tell him that you would love to stay for another year or two, but simply can’t afford it. Now, the chances are much better that he’ll at least think about it. Very likely he’ll now try to understand your position as well and then lets you get by with the lower rent.
So, always start in a friendly way. Choose the friendly and kind approach. Be like the sun, not the wind.
Principle #5: 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.
When we’re talking to someone, we should always begin with the things we agree on. In fact, we should do that throughout the conversation. We want to constantly emphasize that we’re in the same boat, trying to achieve the same goal, and that the only difference is one of method, not of purpose.
We’ve talked about this quite a few times in previous principles. As long as you’re talking about interests (or purposes) that you both share, everything is smooth and fine. Yet, once you start talking about things you disagree on, a fight is not too far away, and your chances of convincing that person of your way of thinking get smaller and smaller.
The key here is to keep your opponent from saying “No”, because that is a very difficult sentiment to overcome. Once the other person has said “No”, his pride and ego are involved. He must now be consistent with his answer and his standpoint.
Keep that in mind: A “No” is very difficult to overcome.
Get the other person saying "Yes, yes" at the outset. Keep your opponent, if possible, from saying "No." A "No" response, according to Professor Overstreet, (*) is a most difficult handicap to overcome.
That’s why Carnegie suggests that we start by getting the other person to say “Yes, yes,” as this moves the person in an affirmative direction.
Let’s say you’re a kid and want to ask your mother if you’re allowed to get a dog. What you wouldn’t want to do in that situation is to just ask her straightforward, “Mom, can I get a dog?” This makes it way too easy for your mother to just say “No”. And once she has said no, you’re pretty much fcked. Instead, start by getting her to agree with you on a few things, similarly to this, “Hey mom! I just watched an awesome documentary about dogs. You know that I really love them, right (she should know and say yes)? And you know that I’ve always wanted to have a pet, right?” So, you get the point… you would make her say “Yes” to a few questions and then ask her if you could have a dog. That way, your chances should be much better.
Whenever you want to ultimately get a “Yes” in the end, start off by getting a few “Yesses” first and getting the person to agree with you. Then that person is in affirmative, the conversation will be in an agreeable tone, and you’re chances of getting your way are much better.
Principle #6: Let The Other Person Do A Great Deal Of The Talking
Most people trying to win others to their way of thinking do too much talking themselves. Let the other people talk themselves out. They know more about their business and problems than you do. So ask them questions. Let them tell you a few things.
If you disagree with them you may be tempted to interrupt. But don't. It is dangerous. They won't pay attention to you while they still have a lot of ideas of their own crying for expression. So listen patiently and with an open mind. Be sincere about it. Encourage them to express their ideas fully.
That’s not the first time that Carnegie advises us to let the other do most of the talking. It’s because it’s IMPORTANT…
This is so true:
When we try to convince someone of our ideas, plans, or whatever, then we usually talk, talk, and talk some more about why it’s such a great idea and this and that and blablabla… Dale Carnegie says that this is the wrong approach, especially if the other person is angry, upset, or just sees things from a completely different perspective.
By letting the other person talk, you show that you care and want to hear their opinion. If you interrupt them they won’t listen anyway because they still have all their opinions and things to say running through their heads. Let them talk it out until they are “empty” and receptive for your perspective.
So next time you’re arguing with someone, let the other person talk herself out. Let her empty herself completely and see if that doesn’t improve the situation DRAMATICALLY.
Carnegie makes another interesting point I want to share with you:
Even our friends would much rather talk to us about their achievements than listen to us boast about ours. La Rochefoucauld, the French philosopher, said: "If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you." Why is that true? Because when our friends excel us, they feel important; but when we excel them, they - or at least some of them - will feel inferior and envious.
This is important. Don’t constantly tell your friends how awesome you are. Don’t go like, “I’m so awesome. I just got an award for this and that. Man, I’m so great. Yesterday I worked incredibly hard. I made a 14 hour shift. How badass is that?! I’m so productive. I will be the king of the world!” You know what this will do? It will make your friends question themselves. They will realize that they HAVEN’T achieved as much as you. They will start to feel terrible about themselves and as a result of that, they will envy you and resent you.
It’s better to just follow Carnegie’s advice and let your friends excel you. Let them feel good about themselves, instead of showing them their flaws and shortcomings.
Principle #7: 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?
Do you enjoy being told what to do? Fck no, right!? You prefer to think on your own. Independently. You have your own ideas. You don’t need to be told what to do. Pfff…
And guess what? Everybody else feels exactly THE SAME! We all prefer to have our own ideas and act on our own ideas.
So why not use this to our advantage? Why not let the other person have the idea? Or at least let her think that it was his or her idea? If we care about the results, wouldn’t that be the smartest thing to do anyway? Who cares if we get the credit or not? It’s the results that count.
If we have a great idea, we can try to make suggestions and lead the other person to that idea. If we’re lucky the other person gets there, shouts “Eureka!” and is 100% convinced of the idea and 100% motivated to get that idea executed. GREAT! Now we’re off to the races and the result is already almost achieved.
Carnegie makes the example of Mr. Wesson who sold sketches for design businesses. After failing hundreds of times in getting one studio to buy his sketches, he changed his approach. He created a few incomplete sketches and asked the potential buyers what they would add to make the sketches useful for them. The stylists offered their ideas, Mr. Wesson completed the sketches accordingly, and in the end could sell all of them.
If we truly care about the results, giving other people credit by letting them feel that it was their idea is a great way to accomplish the results we’re after.
Principle #8: Try Honestly To See Things From The Other Person's Point Of View.
Remember that other people may be totally wrong. But they don't think so. Don't condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. Only wise, tolerant, exceptional people even try to do that.
There is a reason why the other man thinks and acts as he does. Ferret out that reason - and you have the key to his actions, perhaps to his personality.
Try honestly to put yourself in his place.
This principle has made guest appearances in almost every other principle so far. As I said in the beginning many principles will start to overlap and become a bit repetitious. This is a good thing as it will really drive home the key principles we should be applying when interacting with people.
This principle is at the absolute HIGHEST IMPORTANCE when dealing with people.
We must understand that even if other people are completely wrong, they DON’T think they are. They think they’re right. From their perspective they are acting logically.
So we must always try to see a situation from their point of view. We must ask ourselves, “How would I feel if I were in his shoes? How would I react if I were in his shoes? What is he thinking? Why does he not want to do this? Why does he not like that? What does he believe about this? How will he react if I say XYZ? What will he think if I do this or that? What impact will this have on his life? How will this affect him? How will this change his situation? What would he like to get from this situation? What is his ultimate goal here? What is he trying to get out of this?
If we do this and truly understand the other person’s motives, interests, ways of thinking etc.… if we truly understand that person’s point of view, then everything becomes much easier.
Of course this “understanding other people and seeing things from their point of view” won’t happen overnight. It’s a skill that must be trained like any other skill and I highly recommend you start developing that skill. It can save you a lot of time, energy, and frustration when dealing with other people.
Principle #9: Be Sympathetic With The Other Person's Ideas And Desires
Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.
This is AMAZING!!
People want to be listened to and most importantly: People want to be understood. People. Want. To. Be. Understood. They want to know that you understand their opinions and troubles.
I remember when I was reading some diet book and found out that many overweight people are not at fault for their weight and that it’s really fcking hard to lose weight. When I told this to my mom (for whatever reason she’s always trying to lose weight, even though I think it’s absolutely unnecessary as she isn’t fat at all), her reaction was baffling, “I KNEW IT! DIDN’T I ALWAYS TELL YOU EXACTLY THAT?” She was completely happy. Almost ecstatic. Simply because I agreed on her point of view. Simply because she felt understood. Because I could now understand her struggles, understand that it’s not her fault, and understand that it’s fcking tough. Just as she’s always been saying.
(By the way I truly think that overweight people are usually not at fault for being overweight. However, just because it’s not their fault, doesn’t mean that it’s not their responsibility to change it.)
Carnegie also gives us a magical phrase that stops arguments, creates positive interactions, and makes other people listen to you attentively:
“I don’t blame you at all for feeling the way you do. If I were you, I would undoubtedly feel the same way.”
Here’s what’s great about this line: We can say it and be 100% sincere, because if we were the other person, in her situation, with her problems, needs, desires etc…, then we would indeed feel the same way as she does. (Because we would actually be that person, right?)
Here are a few similar phrases we might use…
- “Look, I totally get it. If I were you, I’m not sure if I would do it either…”
- “I don’t blame you. I think it would be great if you could join us… But I understand it’s a tough decision. I wouldn’t know either in your situation.”
- “Yep. I think you’re totally right. If I were you, I’d probably feel the exact same way.”
The point is simple:
People love feeling understood.
Principle #10: Appeal To The Nobler Motives
A person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one.
The person himself will think of the real reason. You don't need to emphasize that. But all of us, being idealists at heart, like to think of motives that sound good. So, in order to change people, appeal to the nobler motives.
This is a pretty neat technique that you can use in many ways.
The underlying premise is that we all have those two motives, the one that sounds good (the nobler motive) and the real one. Usually people themselves know quite well that they do something for the real reason, but why should we not make them feel great by emphasizing the nobler motives?
If you know exactly that your buddy Mike does a certain job just for the money, but he tells you that he does it to help other people. Why on earth would you then tell him something like, “Aww come on, Mikey! We all know you just do it for the money. It’s obvious. I mean it’s OK, but you’re a gold digger, bro!” Why would you emphasize the real motive? That’s only going to make him feel bad and justify himself. Instead just let him have his nobler motive and be like, “Oh your new job? Yeah, I think it’s pretty cool. I think you’re helping a lot of people by doing that. It’s definitely pretty cool.” Appeal to the higher motive of helping people. That will make him feel good and put you in a good position to win him to your way of thinking.
Or let’s imagine your kids are having a dispute and you want them to stop. So you talk to the older brother and tell him, “Buddy, I want you to stop arguing with your little brother. I mean you’re probably right, but he’s your little brother. You are more mature. For me, you’re like his bodyguard. His protector. You take care of him and are protecting him like great older brothers do it. He’s looking up to you… you know that right? So stop arguing, and go play outside with him a bit.” You’re appealing to all kinds of higher motives: Maturity, protector, bodyguard, care-taker, being the ideal for his younger brother, being a great older brother etc… That kid will now try to fulfill all of these personality traits that his father has “given” to him. He will stop arguing and go play with his younger brother outside (feeling like he’s a great older brother).
You can use this every time you want someone else to do something.
- Want your friend to start eating healthy (“You’ve always taken care very well of yourself….”)
- Want someone to listen to you? (“You strike me as someone who’s a great listener…”)
- Want a friend to give you something? (“You’re always so generous…”)
- Want someone to do…? (“You know what I like about you? You’re always so…”)
When you say such things, people will try to prove to you that it’s true. “Oh yes, he’s right! I AM a good listener.” “Yeah, he’s totally right. I have taken care of myself very well. It’s only logical that I start working out.” “Oh he’s so right. I HAVE always been generous with other people. I can give him that…” Do you see how this works? The other person will always try to emulate the higher motive which you’ve assigned or given to him.
Needless to say:
ONLY use these powers for positive stuff and NOT to take over the world… I mean you’ve always struck me as a friendly, kind, and peaceful person anyway. So I probably wouldn’t need to tell you, right?
Principle #11: Dramatize Your Ideas
This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn't enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship. The movies do it. Television does it. And you will have to do it if you want attention.
We live in a world ruled by distractions. If we want someone’s attention, we have to use showmanship. We have to DRAMATIZE (DRAMA Baby, DRAMA) our ideas in a way that wakes the other person up! It must be different, vivid, interesting, and dramatic.
If a man proposes to a woman he goes down on one knee to show the importance of his feelings towards that woman.
If you want to show that something is big, compare it to some other big thing. Show them a picture of the Eiffel Tower looking like a midget next to your new super tower.
Instead of telling them how many acres big your field is, tell them how many football pitches that would equal.
If your business is losing money on every sale, throw some coins on the floor to illustrate that. That will wake them up!
The point is simple:
If you want to get ATTENTION for your ideas or opinions, think of creative ways to make your message more INTERESTING, VIVID, CHARISMATIC, AND DRAMATIC.
Principle #12: Throw Down A Challenge.
Let Charles Schwab say it in his own words: "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."
The desire to excel! The challenge! Throwing down the gauntlet! An infallible way of appealing to people of spirit.
That is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win. That is what makes foot-races and hog-calling and pie-eating contests. The desire to excel. The desire for a feeling of importance.
Have you ever heard of the expression Be the best - Fuck the rest?
Most of us have this deep desire to achieve, to excel, to be better than others, to ultimately be the BEST. Nobody wants to lose. Nobody wants the consolation prize. Fck the consolation prize! We want to WIN!
This principle is really straightforward. Carnegie says that if nothing else works, stroke that desire to excel and throw down a challenge.
I remember when I tried to convince my younger brother to play with me (usually Super Smash Brothers on the Nintendo 64). The last thing I’d usually try was something like this: “Oh okay. You’re just afraid to lose, because you know you have no chance. It’s OK. I’m just too good for you. No, seriously. It’s OK. Nobody likes to lose all the time.” Funny enough, this shit worked incredibly well (especially when he was still younger. Today? Not so much anymore).
Anyway, next time you want someone to do something, throw down a challenge and appeal to their need to excel.
Tell your kids whoever eats that broccoli the fastest gets more dessert.
Tell your salespeople whoever makes the most sales gets a bonus.
Tell your twin babies whoever shits in their pampers less often, ge… (lol, never mind!)
You get the point:
Nobody likes to lose, but everybody LOVES to win and be the BEST. If you want someone to do something, it can help to appeal to his or her need to excel and throw down a challenge.
Part 3 in a Nutshell: Win People To Your Way Of Thinking
That sums up part 3 of the book. Don’t worry… this was the largest part.
Here’s a quick review of the principles we’ve learned to win people to our way of thinking:
- Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Principle 2: Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
- Principle 3: If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Principle 4: Begin in a friendly way.
- Principle 5: Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
- Principle 6: Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Principle 7: Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Principle 8: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Principle 9: Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Principle 10: Appeal to the nobler motives.
- Principle 11: Dramatize your ideas.
- Principle 12: Throw down a challenge.
PART 4: Be a Leader: How to Change People
Without Giving Offense or Arousing
Resentment (9 Principles)
So, you’ve learnt that criticizing people is usually not very effective. Yet, what if there is a situation where you just must do it? I mean let’s be real…
There ARE going to be times when we need to correct other people, need to show some tough love, give advice, or criticize someone to change things for the better.
However, there are a million ways to do that. So in this part, you will learn Dale Carnegie’s 9 principles for changing people’s opinions without giving offense or arousing resentment.
Let’s jump in!
Principle #1: 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.
It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
Let me repeat that: It’s always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some of our good points. So, when we’re trying to correct someone’s mistake or criticize that person, then we should always start by talking about the good things, the things that the person did well.
You can almost view it as a sandwich. The bottom layer is the praise, the middle is your criticism, and the top layer is something positive (like praise) again.
It’s crucial that the praise is meant SINCERELY. You can’t just say, “Overall it’s good, BUT this and that and this here and there… these things all suck! You have to fix these things! Oh, but overall it was good…” That won’t do the trick. You must do it in a sincere way and in a way that the other person understands it. Point out the details and little things that you liked, “This first part was great. You clearly did that very well and you added XYZ. It’s well stated and you even did this other thing too which I thought was great. In part 2 there are a few things that I would like to have a closer look at (then start with constructive criticism).” Remember that we all CRAVE appreciation. If we’ve done something right, please let us know and show some appreciation for it…
If you’re in a leading position (mother, father, boss, team leader, coach, etc…) and have to criticize someone, always start with praise and the things this person did well. After that it’s much easier for the other person to listen to unpleasant things.
Principle #2: 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?
Calling attention to one's mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism.
We already know that when we want to correct someone, we should start with praise. That’s great. Unfortunately, most people follow that good start with the dreaded B word… you know the word… “BUT”. Ugh. Ugly, ugly word. Personally, I try to use it as little as possible. I know they say we shouldn’t judge words, but boy does this little sucker do a lot of harm, or what?!
It all starts off so well, “Patrick we’re really proud of you. You’ve gotten much better grades this year. But if you worked a bit harder, you could do much better.”
Patrick might be encouraged and feel pretty good about himself, UNTIL he hears the word “but”. This immediately makes him question the sincerity of the initial praise and he will wonder if that praise wasn’t just a contrived lead-in for the parent’s criticism. The word “but” can in certain situations completely nullify what has been stated before. Remember this example: “Overall it’s pretty good, BUT… (uh oh… here comes the real feedback)” That “overall it’s pretty good” gets completely nullified by the following “but”.
Carnegie advises us to change this ugly word to the much more beautiful word “and”. Let’s see what that’ll do: “Patrick we’re really proud of you. You’ve gotten much better grades this year, and if you work a little bit harder next semester, you will do even better.” Now we’re talking! In this situation there is no direct criticism. Instead there is POSITIVE REINFORCEMENT and the acknowledgment that he can do even better next time. Remember that positive rewards work much better for changing people’s behavior than negative criticism.
Next time you have to correct someone, don’t use the word “but” and use the word “and” instead.
Give criticism in an indirect, positive, and uplifting way.
Principle #3: Talk About Your Own Mistakes Before Criticizing The Other Person
It isn't nearly so difficult to listen to a recital of your faults if the person criticizing begins by humbly admitting that he, too, is far from impeccable.
Admitting one's own mistakes - even when one hasn't corrected them - can help convince somebody to change his behavior.
This is another technique to kind of soften our criticism.
We let the other person know that we understand them, that this happened to us as well when we were younger, or that it would have happened if we had been in a similar situation. This shows the other person that he or she isn’t a complete idiot.
Also this gives you a good chance to improve your relationship with that person. You can tell her a funny story from back when you made the same mistake; or maybe your mistake was even worse. So you totally get it that this mistake can happen, and you tell her that next time she should just remember it and do it better.
You can use phrases like:
- “I would have done the same thing in your position.”
- “You couldn’t have known better.”
- “I didn’t know that either when I first started out.”
- “It’s totally normal to make such mistakes”
- “No worries, such things can happen. Happened to me many times when I was at your age (or in your position, or whatever)”
Whatever it is… just let the other person know that you make a lot of mistakes too and show him that he isn’t completely retarded for making that mistakes. Let him know that it’s OK. That it would have been smarter if he had done it the other way, and that it’s good that he now knows and can do it better next time.
If you can use a personal story - even BETTER! This will help the two of you bond and strengthen the relationship.
Principle #4: 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.
No one likes to take orders.
Nobody likes being commanded around and hearing “Do this”, “Don’t do that” all the time. You’re not a dog, right?
So what Carnegie tells us to do instead of commanding, is to ask questions or find another way to kind of bring them to the conclusion that it’s the best action to take from their perspective.
By asking questions we give people the chance for coming up with the conclusion themselves. We kind of give people the opportunity to do things themselves. If they think they’ve had a part in the decision, then they are much more motivated and likely to do what you would like them to do anyway.
Here are a few examples you may want to copy:
- “You might consider…”
- “Do you think that would work?”
- “Do you think that would be a good idea?”
- “Do you think it would be smart if…?”
- “Do you think it would be smart to…?”
- “Maybe if we were to do it this way it would be better. What do you think?”
- “Maybe we could add…”
- “One could probably also do…”
- “You may want to…”
These suggestions are much nicer than “Do this or do that!” or “Don’t do this or don’t do that!”
Next time you want to give orders to your wife, kids, employees, or co-workers try to ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Principle #5: Let The Other Person Save Face
Letting one save face! How important, how vitally important that is! And how few of us ever stop to think of it! We ride roughshod over the feelings of others, getting our own way, finding fault, issuing threats, criticizing a child or an employee in front of others, without even considering the hurt to the other person's pride. Whereas a few minutes' thought, a considerate word or two, a genuine understanding of the other person's attitude, would go so far toward alleviating the sting!
This is a principle that really is near and dear to my heart.
If we have a choice of either exposing someone or letting him save face, then why would we EVER choose to expose that person? Why would we CHOOSE to make him feel bad about himself? Why would we embarrass him? Why would we hurt his precious pride? What have we got to gain???
If we have to deliver bad news, negative feedback, or whatever it is, then we ALWAYS have a choice about how, where and when to do it. And we can ALWAYS choose to let the other person save face by not doing it in a way that will hurt his feelings, ego, or pride.
For example, if we have to criticize someone, then we don’t have to this in front of other people and completely embarrass that person. This person will feel TERRIBLE and condemn us in return. PLUS he or she is now waiting for a chance to pay us back. (We’ve talked about this in previous chapters.)
Another example: If we know we’re right about something and the other person is wrong. We don’t have to rub it in the person’s face in front of other people and make him feel inferior and embarrassed about it. We can keep it for us. Let him save face. Be the bigger person.
Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face. The legendary French aviation pioneer and author Antoine de Saint-Exupйry 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."
Hurting a man in his dignity is a crime. There is absolutely no reason why we would have to make other people feel bad about themselves.
By the way, you can use this principle in a lot of situations…
Let’s say you’re in a group of people and someone made a huge mistake and the others are making fun of him. Here you could give your opinion in a way like this: “What are you guys talking about? This could happen to any of us. After all, it’s not such a big deal either. I mean who cares if…” This approach takes the heat out of the situation and the center of attention off the person who made the mistake. You better believe that this person will be HAPPY and GRATEFUL you did it.
My point is: If we have the CHOICE to make a person feel good or bad about themselves, we should always choose to make them feel good. Most people have low self-esteem already, so there’s absolutely no need to crush them down even further.
Principle #6: Praise The Slightest Improvement And Praise Every Improvement. Be "Hearty In Your Approbation And Lavish In Your Praise."
Remember, we all crave appreciation and recognition, and will do almost anything to get it. But nobody wants insincerity. Nobody wants flattery.
Use of praise instead of criticism is the basic concept of B.F. Skinner's teachings. This great contemporary psychologist has shown by experiments with animals and with humans that when criticism is minimized and praise emphasized, the good things people do will be reinforced and the poorer things will atrophy for lack of attention.
Again, this is all about how you make other people feel. By using praise as your instrument you make them feel appreciated, important, and good about themselves.
We’ve talked about this before:
Positive rewarding works much better to change a behavior than negative criticism. Carnegie says that the good things people do will be reinforced by praise and the bad behaviors will atrophy for lack of attention.
Carnegie also makes the point that when we’re praising someone we should do it SINCERELY and do it AS SPECIFICALL AS POSSIBLE. If we find specific things to praise, then it will automatically sound much more sincere.
Instead of saying “Good job, very good presentation,” say something like this, “Great presentation. I really liked your confidence and charisma up front. You stood there in a way that… Also, you made your points very clear. You made sure that they were always emphasized by doing XYZ and you also did XYZ which was very good.” See how sincere that sounds? And how useful it is?
That’s how we should praise people: SINCERELY AND SPECIFICALLY.
Oh, and here’s another thing: We should praise often. Whenever we find the smallest improvement, we should highlight it. This way the other person realizes that we also notice the tiniest improvements and details. This reinforces their behavior. It lets them know that they’re doing it right and that it’s appreciated and noticed.
Principle #7: Give The Other Person A Fine Reputation To Live Up To
In short, if you want to improve a person in a certain aspect, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics.
Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make prodigious efforts rather than see you disillusioned.
Do you remember this principle: Appeal to the nobler motives?
And this example: “You strike me as someone who’s a great listener…” (If you want that person to listen to you)?
It’s the same here:
If you give a person a lofty reputation to live up to, this incites in them a desire to meet those expectations. In other words, act as though that particular trait were already one of his or her outstanding characteristics, and this person will try to live up to that.
So, in the previous example that trait would simply be “good listener”. This friend will now try to live up to that reputation and listen to you.
Carnegie makes the example of a guy named Bill, a mechanic whose work had become unsatisfactory. Here’s what his boss said to him in the situation:
“You are a fine mechanic, you have been in the business for many years, and we’ve had a number of compliments on the good work you have done. But lately, your work has not been up to your own old standards, and I thought you’d want to know since you’ve been such an outstanding mechanic in the past.”
Want to know what happened then? Bill the mechanic found back to his old work ethic and became as good in his job as ever before. No wonder when you consider the reputation his manager gave him to live up to.
This doesn’t just work when someone isn’t doing as well as they can. In fact, it works in almost every situation. If you want to change someone’s behavior, act as if that person already acted that way. You can use phrases like this:
(Just fill in the blanks with whatever personality trait, habit, or action you want them to convince of.)
- “I really love ______ about you.”
- “You’re so good at ______. I think that’s just great!”
- “You know what I appreciate about you? You always ________.”
- “Why are you acting this way? Usually you’re totally _______.”
Isn’t this MANIPULATIVE?
Yes, I guess it is.
But aren’t we always trying to manipulate each other?
Let’s say you’re dead sick and don’t want to go to the doctor. Wouldn’t it be in your interest if the other person tried to
persuade manipulate you into going to the doctor? After all, if the other person can’t convince manipulate you, your health might suffer dramatically.
Or say you would like to go for a jog with your best friend. When you’re trying to convince him of doing that, you’re manipulating him as well.
We’re really manipulating each other all the time, so we might as well learn some tricks to do it better and more efficiently. After all, we’re the ones who aren’t using it for evil anyway.
Principle #8: Use Encouragement – Make The Fault Seem Easy To Correct
Tell your child, your spouse, or your employee that he or she is stupid or dumb at a certain thing, has no gift for it, and is doing it all wrong, and you have destroyed almost every incentive to try to improve. But use the opposite technique - be liberal with your encouragement, make the thing seem easy to do, let the other person know that you have faith in his ability to do it, that he has an undeveloped flair for it - and he will practice until the dawn comes in the window in order to excel.
This one’s BIG.
Let’s say you’re a dance teacher and you get a new client who just CAN’T dance at all. He’s terrible at it. So, how do you talk to him? I’ll give you two options:
OPTION A: “You’re doing it all wrong darling. Forget everything you’ve ever learnt about dancing. We’ll have to start completely from scratch with you.”
OPTION B: “Well, your dancing style is a bit rusty, but the fundamentals are all right. We will surely make a pretty decent dancer out of you. I mean, that move from earlier was already really good.”
Approach B will work much better. Why? Because there you focus on encouraging. Maybe he’s not a great dancer yet, but who is born that way, right? You assure him that he will learn it and praise the little things that he’s already doing right. In other words, you use ENCOURAGEMENT.
Approach A does the exact opposite. It says that he has absolutely no talent, does everything wrong, and tells him that he probably won’t ever become even a half-decent dancer. This approach is discouraging and focuses on all the guy’s mistakes. I mean come on… We’ll have to start completely from scratch with you. Just with you. The others are better when they start. They have talent. You don’t…
Remember: Positive rewarding (praise and letting him know that he’ll do fine) works better than negative criticism (doing it all wrong, completely start from scratch with you, no talent).
So let’s try to encourage our friends, family members, children, etc… Let’s focus on what they’re doing right and let them know that we believe in them. That’s what will motivate, inspire, and get them into action.
Principle #9: Make The Other Person Happy About Doing The Thing You Suggest.
One of the important rules of human relations: Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Always make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
If you give a task to an employee, tell him or her that it’s a very important task to you and it’s crucial the task will be well done. By doing that you tell your employee that he has responsibility and what he does is important. He will then be happy about doing that task.
You can tell your kids that you will play something with them if they finish homework. Because they want to play with you, they will first happily do the homework.
If you want anyone to do anything, try to give them an incentive so that they are happy about doing it.
If, for example, you want your daughter to clean her room, find a way so that she’ll be happy to do it. Tell her that when the room is clean there’s much more space to play, she’ll find all of her toys again, and will generally be in a better mood because… (who knows? I’m not a father…)
I think you can use a lot of the previous principles to come up with ways to make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. You’ll just have to be a bit creative.
When you try to make another person do something, find ways so that he or she will enjoy doing it.
Part 4 in a Nutshell: Be a Leader
A leader's job often includes changing your people's attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:
- Principle 1: Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Principle 2: Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
- Principle 3: Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Principle 4: Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Principle 5: Let the other person save face.
- Principle 6: Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
- Principle 7: Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Principle 8: Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Principle 9: Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
How much time and energy do you waste arguing with people?
Let’s face it. Most of us waste hours and hours every week by arguing with other people or through plain miscommunication.
Implementing just some of the principles in this book will help you save a LOT of time, physical, and emotional energy.
And not only that:
If you’re a better communicator people like you more. They enjoy being around someone who lets them talk and who understands them. They enjoy the fact that you’re not trying to make them feel bad or inferior. They enjoy the feeling of importance you give them.
They fcking LOVE you for practicing the principles you’ve learnt in this summary.
Being a good communicator helps you in EVERY aspect of your life.
Because you save so much time and energy you are more productive and get more things done. You earn more money. You have more time and energy for high-lifetime activities such as exercise, meditation, and reading. You become a genuinely better and more successful person.
You will also find it easier to connect with people. You will make friends easier, your social circle will grow, and you’ll have both more and better friends.
Becoming a GREAT communicator by implementing some of the tactics discussed in this summary will MASSIVELY improve your life.
Commit to applying what you’ve learnt and enjoy a better, happier, and more fulfilled life.
This is, hands down, one of the best and most powerful books I’ve ever read in my life. I have recommended it to countless people. The fact that you’re seeking it out says volumes about your level of self-awareness as it is and this book builds on that.
Thanks, mate! I agree that it’s a powerful book. Highly recommend it for anyone looking to improve his or her social skills. Also just finished reading “Your Brain at Work” by David Rock – seems to explain a lot of the principles from Dale Carnegie from a neuroscience perspective. Super interesting stuff!
Great choice. I read this book as a kid and have been recommending it since – for decades.
I consider this book to be the most important book I read in my life.
The ideas of avoiding unnecessary fights (arguments), trying to see thing with your opponents eyes and letting your opponent save face have helped me immensely and this book is a constant reminder not to forget about this lecture.
Great you recommend it to others. It’s definitely a must-read and could help anybody 🙂
I disagree. I found the book to be horrible advice for anyone that wants an honest relationship or needs to provide guidance.
Even though DC says to be sincere, what he is promoting is false praise, manipulation, pandering, ingratiation, and word games to persuade others to his desire. If you’ve ever been the recipient of a person using his techniques you will notice the insincere nature of what they say and tire of the it readily.
Thanks for your input, and I agree: The techniques can be manipulative. That said, it’s our job to mold ourselves into sincere and virtuous people so that we use these strategies for the betterment of mankind. Besides, you can use anything for good or evil… it’s just a matter of choice on your end.
In addition, it’s always good to be aware of persuasion and influence techniques. That way, you’ll be less vulnerable when they’re used “against” you.