‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ by Dale Carnegie is an absolute gem of a book filled with knowledge and wisdom for mankind. The book suggests various doable practices which will help you become a better person, do better at your job, make new friends, get cooperation of people, get things done, and become more likable (if that is what you want), be a good conversationalist, encourage people and almost everything under the sun about dealing with people. What makes this book so interesting is the way it’s written, all the concepts, practices, and ideas that the author talks about are demonstrated through some awesome real examples.
Would I recommend this book? Well, I am no fan of self-help books. But this one really stands out. Therefore, I recommend it to all my reader and non-reader friends out there including children, adults (professionals, working people), etc. I would suggest you read it once every 6 months and apply the methods in your real life.
Some of the things or rather many things in the book are a bit obvious and are things we already know, but in our real lives, we tend to ignore them or do not know how to really apply them without seeming fake or manipulative. The best thing about the book? It is not about manipulating people, it doesn’t include tricks. In fact, the author mentions clearly, “The principles taught in this book will work only when they come from the heart. I am not advocating a bag of tricks. I am talking about a new way of life”.
Five rules from the book which can act as a game changer for you:
- Show a genuine interest 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.
If you apply this rule in your life, you’ll find that people around you are more welcoming and accepting of you. When you meet new people, greet them with enthusiasm instead of a boring ‘Hi, I don’t really care what you’re up to’ tone of voice. Take interest in other people, and by interest, I mean genuine sincere interest.
- Be a good listener
People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. And those people who think only of themselves are hopelessly uneducated. To be interesting, be interested.
If you aspire to be a good conversationalist, you have to be a good listener first. You can achieve this by giving exclusive attention to the person who is speaking to you. Listen with both your eyes and ears. You should be interested in what the other person has to say. Ask questions that the other person would enjoy answering. Respect their enthusiasm and interests or rather encourage him or her to speak about them.
- Begin with praise, Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly
Usually, if something goes wrong such as your junior messes up important work or your child doesn’t get good grades, the first instinct we have is to reprimand, find fault, criticize and we do exactly that almost always. But if you must find fault, the right way to begin is by praise.
It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.
Criticism doesn’t get you anywhere. It rather makes the other person want to justify his wrong. Instead of direct criticism, it is better to indirectly point out mistakes. For eg., Do not tell your child that, “We are proud of you for getting a B, but if you had worked harder, you would have gotten an A”. Instead, tell him that, “We are proud of you for getting a B and by continuing with your efforts, you will get an A next time”. You might be amazed to see the impact of using an ‘and’ instead of ‘but’.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders and Praise every improvement(Honest appreciation)
No one really likes to take orders. People are more likely to accept an order if they have had a part in the decision that caused the order to be issued. Don’t tell someone to do this or do that. Instead, give them an opportunity to have their say. Make them feel that it is something they would like to do or let them be a part of the decision-making process. Rather than telling your employees to work overtime to complete a large order, tell them, “We have this large order scheduled on this date. Is there anything we can do to handle this? Is there a way we can adjust the hours of work? What do you think?”. You will find that this rule will work wonders if applied in the right manner.
We all like to be appreciated. But we hate flattery. By praising every little improvement, you make the person feel positive and encouraged. It will make them want to make more effort to get better and it will work in their favor.
- If you are wrong, admit it
There is a certain degree of satisfaction in having the courage to admit one’s errors.
Do you know that you can avoid several nasty arguments and even save crumbling relationships by doing one simple thing-Admitting your fault? If we know we are going to be rebuked anyhow, isn’t it far better to beat the other person to it and do it ourselves? By admitting your fault, you get 99 steps closer to solving the problem. And it is very simple to implement this rule. You only have to say, ‘I am sorry’ and mean it. If you forgot to write something in your writing assignment, accept it and say, ‘I am sorry. I simply forgot to add that. I should have read it once again before submitting it. I promise to make all required corrections and be careful in the future also’. Avoid arguments.
– By Nidhi Bajaj