How to Win Friends and Influence People

In a nutshell

Part I — Fundamental Techniques In Handling 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.

Part II — Six Ways To Make People Like You.

  • Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Principle 2: Smile.
  • Principle 3: Remember other people name.
  • 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 III - How To Win People To Your 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 IV — Be A Leader: changing your people’s attitudes and behavior.

  • 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.
  • 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.

The great aim of education is not knowledge, but action.

—— Herbert Spencer

Say to yourself over and over: “My popularity, my happiness and sense of worth depend to no small extent upon my skill in dealing with people.”

Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain

People don’t criticize themselves for anything, no matter how wrong it may be. Hence criticism is futile because it puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself and arouse hard feelings.

Criticism wounds a person’s precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment. It can demoralize and still not correct the situation that has been condemned.

So, if criticism won’t change the outcome nor the other person’s perspective, why criticize? Just to feel better?

I will speak ill of no man.

—— Benjamin Franklin

Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. It’ll breed sympathy, tolerance and kindness.

Dr. Johnson said: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days” Why should you and I?

Never tell people they are wrong

This will be interpreted as a direct attack 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 throw at them all the logic of Plato and Kant, but you will not alter their opinions.

Few people are logical. Most of us are prejudiced and biased. Most of us are blighted with preconceived notions, jealousy, suspicion, fear, envy, and pride. We don’t want to change our minds about religion, haircut, or favorite movie star.

Remember that they may be totally wrong. But they don’t think so. Don’t condemn them. Any fool can do that. Try to understand them. There is a reason why the other man thinks and acts as he does.

On the other hand, we sometimes find ourselves changing our minds without any resistance, but if we are told we are wrong, we resent the imputation and harden our hearts.

Avoid arguments

You can’t win an argument. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Keep calm, watch out for your first reaction, and control your temper.

Our first reaction to statements we hear from other people is an evaluation or judgment, rather than an understanding of it. Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Let them finish. Do not resist, defend or debate. This only raises barriers. Try to build bridges of understanding.

When we are right, let’s try to win people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking, and when we are wrong — and that will be surprisingly often, if we are honest with ourselves — let’s admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm.

Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, begin by 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.

Give honest and sincere appreciation

There is only one way to get anybody to do anything: by making the other person want to do it.

The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated, “the desire to be important”. If somebody did something right, make them feel important.

“I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people” said Charles M. Schwab, “the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement”.

Remind and praise them about their early success, the “rough beginnings”. Almost every successful person likes to reminisce about his early struggles.

On top of that, even if we need to deliver unpleasant news, it is better to do it after we have heard some praise of our good points.

Let’s cease thinking of our accomplishments, our wants. Let’s try to figure out the other person’s good points.

Arouse in the other person an eager want it

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.

Every act you have ever performed since the day you were born was performed because you wanted something. So, first, think about what they want, not what you 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.

It then follows that if you are able to talk in terms of what the other person wants, and arouse in the other person an eager to want it, you’ll be set for life.

Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: “How can I make this person want to do it?” That question will stop us from rushing into a situation heedlessly, with futile chatter about our desires.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.

—— Henry Ford

No one likes to feel that she is being sold or told to do “a thing”. If salespeople can show us how their product will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us. We’ll buy. And customers like to feel that they are buying - not being sold.

Become genuinely interested in other people

People are not interested in you. They are not interested in me. They are interested in themselves - morning, noon and after dinner.

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.

One can win the attention and time and cooperation of even the most sought-after people by becoming genuinely interested in them.

If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people.

Remember other people’s names

The average person is more interested in his or her own name than in all the other names on earth put together. It is the sweetest and most important sound in any language.

The executive who tells me he can’t remember names is at the same time telling me he can’t remember a significant part of his business and is operating on quicksand.

Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices.

—— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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. Think of that the next time you start a conversation.

Be a good listener

Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves and their accomplishments; and always talk in terms of the other person’s interests.

Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.

—— Ralph Waldo Emerson

Be an attentive listener to become a great conversationalist. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering.

Most people are trying to win others to their way of thinking by talking too much about themselves. It doesn’t work. Let the other people talk themselves out. They know more about their business and problems than you do. So ask them questions. If you disagree with them you may be tempted to interrupt. But don’t. 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.

More principles

Smile. Show people you’re happy to see them by smiling. When they see how happy you are to meet them, they can’t help but be happy to see you too. Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says: “I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you”.

Admit it when you are wrong. There’s positive magic, in phrases such as: “I may be wrong. I frequently am. Let’s examine the facts.” 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.

Yes, yes. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” at the outset. Keep your opponent, if possible, from saying “no.” Think of the Socratic Method, which, in its core, seeks this very idea.

Don’t chase credit. Credit others, even if it was “your” idea.

Dramatize. Tell great stories. 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.

Stimulate competition. Instill in other people the desire to excel, the challenge. That is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression, to prove her worth, to excel, to win. The desire for a feeling of importance.

Prepare your meetings in advance. Put yourself in their shoes and have a clear idea of what to say and what that person — from your knowledge of his or her interests and motives - is likely to answer.

Give suggestions, not orders. Never say: “do this” or “don’t do that.” Instead go with: “you might consider this”, or “do you think that would work?”

Transform people. If you and I will inspire the people with whom we come in contact to a realization of the hidden treasures they possess, we can do far more than change people. We can literally transform them. We all have the magic ability to praise people and inspire them with a realization of their latent possibilities.

Encourage people. 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 in order to excel.

The effective leader should keep the following guidelines in mind when it is necessary to change attitudes or behavior:

  1. Be sincere: do not promise anything that you cannot deliver.
  2. Forget about the benefits to yourself and concentrate on the benefits to the other person.
  3. Know exactly what it is you want the other person to do.
  4. Be empathetic: ask yourself what is it the other person really wants.
  5. Consider the benefits that person will receive from doing what you suggest.
  6. Match those benefits to the other person’s wants.
  7. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.
First published on July 13, 2019