How to win Friends and Influence People was first published in 1937 and took its place in publishing history as one of the all-time international bestsellers. Dale Carnegie wrote this book to be used as a textbook for his courses in Effective Speaking and Human Relations and is still used in those courses today.
Thousands of people all over the world are reading and studying How to Win Friends and Influence People and being inspired to use its principles to better their lives. Here are 30 incredible tips from the book to improve your communication skills and build more meaningful relationships with people.
#1 Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
We live in a world with so many people having different opinions. There might be times when you can’t agree with someone else’s opinion or whatever they are saying is unagreeable. But instead of criticizing the other person’s point of view try to be kind and respectful when talking to someone.
Never condemn a person unless you know why the person did something in a particular way. Always have an open mind when communicating with people. Nobody likes when you keep complaining about something. It becomes a headache to the person who’s having to deal with your complaining. Stop complaining and look into your problem from a different perspective and try to find solutions to fix it.
#2 Give honest and sincere appreciation
There might be a lot of needs and wants in our life. But as humans what we desire the most is the ‘feeling of importance’. So how can we arouse this feeling of importance in a person? It’s by giving honest praise and appreciation.
It ignites the enthusiasm of a person and you’ll be amazed by how demotivated individuals become better day by day when you point out their good points. Remember this shouldn’t be flattery, as people can easily understand whether you are being honest or not.
#3 Arouse in the other person an eager want
There are people who only talk about what they want. But the truth is the rest of the world is also like them, we are interested in what we want. When sharing an idea or getting something done by someone make it clear how it would benefit them. Let them know why and how your idea would be advantageous to them.
#4 Become genuinely interested in other people
We meet tons of people in our day-to-day life and you might have noticed that it’s sometimes not easy to make a conversation with these people. If you try to take your time and analyze the person you’ll figure out what others are genuinely interested in. Talk about those interests. This will help to build a strong foundation for a lasting friendship. But don’t try to fake it. People will see through you and eventually realize you are just faking it.
#5 Always smile
There’s a popular saying, ‘Actions speak louder than words’. When you genuinely smile with someone it’ll show that you are glad to see them and looking forward to having a conversation. Not just in person, your smile is so powerful that it comes through in your voice even when you make a phone call. Your smile can brighten up someone’s day so always welcome others with a heartwarming smile.
#6 Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
Most people don’t remember names either because its difficult to memorize or hard to pronounce. Remembering a person’s name will make them feel respected and create a positive impression. Using a person’s name during a conversion will make them feel special and inclines them to be more open.
Dale Carnegie also came up with an easy strategy for remembering names which are called the LIRA formula.
- Look and listen: Look at the person and listen clearly to what they are speaking about.
- Impression: Create an image of the person in your mind by looking at their features and other details.
- Repetition: Use and repeat the person’s name appropriately throughout the conversion.
- Association: Use associations linking to the person or the surroundings to remember his/ her name.
#7 Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves
Listening to someone can be the hardest thing to do in life. The reason is that we are always interested only in ourselves. So next time when you have a conversation with someone prioritize what the person wants to talk about. Ask interesting questions that encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
#8 Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
When having a conversation we tend to respond quickly without even taking time to understand what the other person is actually asking us. Being a good listener not only impresses the other person but you’ll also learn a lot about the other person’s interests. It takes willingness and patience to become a good listener. So next time you talk to someone be patient and interested in what they talk about.
#9 Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely
We like to be admired and appreciated all the time. By making a person feel important we let them know what they do or what they say matters to us. Sometimes when people admire us we think they want to get something done, but it’s not the case all the time. So even if we want to appreciate this person we tend to skip it. The reality is people will always judge you no matter what. So next time if you want to say something nice to a person, say it.
#10 The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
Arguments always tend to end with unpleasant memories. When you disagree with someone’s idea, take time to process what the person is saying first. Welcome the disagreement and analyze if there is some point that you didn’t figure out initially because this can be the opportunity for you to correct your mistakes.
Our first natural reaction is to be defensive. Try to stay calm as much as possible and control your temper. Listen to your opponent first and give them the opportunity to talk. Look into the areas where you can agree and admit if there are any mistakes from your end.
Promise to think over your opponent’s ideas and thank them for taking the time to highlight their interests. Postpone or schedule a new time to think through the interests of both parties and come to a solution. Remember, your goal is to build more friendships not enemies.
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#11 Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, ‘You’re wrong’
One of the hardest things we don’t want to admit is that we are wrong. It hurts our ego. Similarly, if we directly blame someone else it’ll hurt their feelings too. But if we try to admit our mistakes the chances are that our opponent might look into the problem in a more sympathetic way. Therefore, try to understand your opponent and use a little diplomacy to avoid arguments.
#12 If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically
If you have made a mistake or you want to get out of a situation, be honest to admit your mistakes. Admitting the mistakes as early as possible not only helps you get out of trouble but will also help to build a better relationship with your opponent.
If you are right, try to win people gently without hurting their feelings. But if you are wrong, admit your mistakes quickly to avoid further disagreements.
#13 Begin in a friendly way
When a person approaches you in a friendly way, you also tend to react in a similar way. But let’s say a person starts accusing you angrily, then you might also try to defend yourself in an angrier manner. Having a friendly approach and being appreciative will help to resolve conflicts more easily in a positive way.
#14 Get the other person saying ‘yes, yes’ immediately
When talking with people try to emphasize that both of you have the same goal and get them to say ‘yes’ as much as possible. When a person says ‘no’ it seems like they’ve decided not to go ahead with whatever the plan was and the chances they’ll change their mind is very low. Try to align your questions in a way that supports your opponent’s ideas or problems.
#15 Let the other person do a great deal of the talking
Most people try to win others to their way of thinking. But your opponent only knows about their problems and ideas more than you do. Let them finish their part and listen patiently. Let the other person do most of the talking and encourage them to express their ideas fully. If they ask, you can share your ideas as well.
#16 Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers
Don’t tell, ask. Ask questions from the other person making it seem like the idea originated in their mind. Doing so will make them feel special and improve their self-esteem. It’ll also lead to more positive conversations that help both parties.
#17 Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view
When dealing with people always try to put yourself in their position. Try to understand how you would feel and act if you were them. We are born different and the way we see and understand the world can be different. Our experiences and level of knowledge are also different from each other. Therefore be more considerate and train yourself to see things from the other person’s point of view.
#18 Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires
When you receive a troubling or condemning message from someone you try to defend yourself angrily. Instead, take your time to understand the situation and why that particular person has done so. Be kind and sympathetic with other person’s ideas or desires.
#19 Appeal to the nobler motives
We expect others to see the world the way we see it. We tend to make assumptions about what the other person said without knowing the hidden meaning of what the person actually said. When a person says or does something you shouldn’t make negative assumptions. It’ll lead to a lot of misunderstandings. Instead, try to always see the positive in what other people say.
#20 Dramatise your ideas
Dramatizing your ideas makes them memorable to the person watching you and develops an interest in them. Use creative ways to showcase your ideas and make it easy for them to understand what you are talking about. This will make the experience unforgettable and you’ll be able to get acceptance very quickly.
#21 Throw down a challenge
Any person striving to become successful needs a challenge. They would willingly accept any opportunity they get to express their skills and challenge themselves. If you want to convince someone or make them believe something, look into their competitive side. Give them the chance to prove their worth and make them feel important.
#22 Begin with praise and honest appreciation
There might be times when you need to have difficult conversations. Rather than starting off with negativity, begin with a genuine appreciation. You can select any instance where they were their best and emphasize it. Even if there is no fault, you can still praise a person for their unique qualities. Genuine appreciation is a good quality of a true leader.
#23 Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
It is our natural instinct to correct someone if they make a mistake. But doing so will make the person demotivated and disappointed. Try to show them why they are wrong instead of making them feel they’re stupid.
#24 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person
If you directly start listing someone’s flaws and trying to show their mistakes they won’t really listen to you. They’ll feel upset and discouraged. If you humble yourself and talk about the mistakes that you did in the past and share your experience with them. This way they are more likely to listen to you and will try to reduce their mistakes in the future.
#25 Ask questions instead of giving direct orders
Develop a technique that makes a person feel important when asking them to do something. Without asking and ordering them to do this and that, ask what they would think about the task. Let them feel that they are also a part of the process. This will also improve everyone’s creativity and help to come up with better solutions.
#26 Let the other person save face
Be considerate when you are commenting or trying to show someone’s fault. Even if you are right and the other person is definitely wrong, try not to criticize them in front of everyone. Use a more empathetic approach when trying to make them realize what their fault was. Doing so will also help to build real trust and long-term relationships.
#27 Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be ‘hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise’
Let people know how their work or what they say helps you to achieve your goals. Nobody wants flattery. When your praise is genuine and sincere the person can feel it. Inspire the people around you to become better with genuine appreciation because your praise and recognition can change someone’s whole life.
#28 Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to
Giving the other person a reputation to live up to ignites a desire in them to meet those expectations. If you are a leader and you want to change the attitude of others start looking at their strengths and build up a fine reputation they can live up to.
#29 Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct
Telling someone they are not good at something will hinder their ability to try to improve. Praising them for what they are becoming better at and encouraging them to do more will eventually help them to strengthen their abilities. If you want someone to improve, encourage them to believe in themselves.
#30 Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest
Know exactly what you want the other person to do and ask yourself how the other person benefits from it. When you make the request try to emphasize how they will be benefitted rather than talking about your interests only.
Remember there might be times that you might still not get a favorable reply from others following these principles. But these tips will help you to make better relationships with people and be more focused on others when you are having conversations. Let’s not forget to be more kind and more patient the next time you talk with someone.