Have you ever wanted to learn how to be more charismatic? Trying to foster healthier and more meaningful relationships? Want to become a better communicator and get comfortable with people?
This book review will explain exactly that. ‘How to Win Friends & Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie. There are 4 main chapters in the book, each explaining a few key principals.
Just a reminder that this is my way of getting the most out of books. Taking notes and trying to teach what I’ve learnt to other people.
*The bullet points are principles directly extracted from the book.
1- Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Let’s try and put these points into perspective. Whenever you criticize or complain about other people, you automatically put them on the defense. This makes it difficult for them to absorb what you have to say, since they’ll tend to find a reason to criticize you back.
Countering that, we should focus on what people are doing right. When we’re honest and lavish in our appraise, we soften people and provide a comfortable space. This makes it easier for you to get your point across.
Remember: the objective isn’t manipulation. You’re not trying to get people to go against their own will. You’re trying to minimize misunderstanding and adequately get your point across. The final point essentially talks about building up your ideas, by getting the other person interested in what you have to say.
2- Six ways to make people like you
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember the person’s name.
- Be an active listener. Encourage others to speak about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important – do it sincerely.
All these points are essentially a summary of the final point. Trying to make the other person feel genuinely important. By trying these points, you’d improve your social skills and become comfortable getting to know strangers.
3- How to win people to your way of thinking
A lot of the principles in this chapter are quite self-explanatory. The key concept repeated throughout the book is that we each have ‘a desire to be important’.
“How you get your feeling of importance, determines your character.”
Ultimately, whether we are conscious of it or not, there’s a part of us that craves feeling important. Which is why so many of us enjoy sports, board games and just challenges in general. We feel a tad bit special when we ‘win’ or find a solution.
When you understand that the principle is universal, you can use it to aid people in feeling important. The following points are paramount in communicating effectively, whilst allowing the person to get the sense that they’re important to you.
- The only way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never start with ‘you’re wrong’.
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way
- Get the other person saying ‘yes’ immediately.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
All these principles foster your skill to empathize. You may or may not have noticed, but these are also key-points in developing emotional intelligence. “Judge people by their own values – not your own.”
- Let the other person feel like the idea is his or hers.
- Try to honestly see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
We need to cooperate with other people by showing them that their ideas and feelings are as important as our own. Start the conversation with purpose and say what you’d want to hear as the listener.
We always make assumptions when speaking to others. So we should aim to assume that people are being honest and sincere. This will allow them to be more readily corrected.
Throwing down a challenge is essentially stimulating competition. Bring about the desire to excel & to win. After all, we love feeling important.
4- Being a leader
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Let the other person save face.
A few things here discuss how to deal with people making mistakes. We should first always start with praise. Nothing fake or insincere, but pay them genuine compliments before diving into the confrontation.
Another tactic is to mention how often you make mistakes too. We’re not infallible, we too make mistakes all the time. This helps them empathize with us, making it a much smoother interaction.
- Praise every improvement – even the slightest ones.
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement and make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
We’re essentially trying to foster a growth mindset here. Constantly use encouragement and praise all that is working, instead of focusing on what isn’t. That’s not to say we shouldn’t try to help them improve, but by making clear how well they’re doing, it motivates them to keep doing more.
So we’ve covered fundamental techniques in handling people, different ways to make people like you, how to win people to your way of thinking and being a leader. I’m sure there are several aspects that you’ve already mastered and some of which you can work on.
Let me know which of these principles resonated with you the most (or the least). Feel free to share any ideas or thoughts relating to effective communication too. Thank you all as always and happy reading!