Friend me: The ongoing relevance of Dale Carnegie

Others can, and do, choose to write on the continuing consequence of Dale Carnegie and his work on the soft skills of business. His seminal book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, first published 75 years ago continues to be relevant. If Facebook co-creator Mark Zuckerberg were to purchase the rights to write a foreword, and co-brand the book, well . . . stop. Maybe I should friend Zuckerberg, and share some tips on how to earn a few extra bucks.

Here is an excerpt from How to Win Friends & Influence People. It is an example that exemplifies Carnegie’s “Win People to Your Way of Thinking,” which is comprised of 12 of his 30 Golden Rules for Success. (See full list below). He’s commenting on an 1863 letter from President Abraham Lincoln to General Meade that was never sent. I’d file this under #17: Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

My guess is—and this is only a guess—that after writing that letter, Lincoln looked out of the window and said to himself, ”Just a minute. Maybe I ought not to be so hasty. It is easy enough for me to sit here in the quiet of the White House and order Meade to attack; but if I had been up at Gettysburg, and if I had seen as much blood as Meade has seen during the last week, and if my ears had been pierced with the screams and shrieks of the wounded and dying, maybe I wouldn’t be so anxious to attack either. If I had Meade’s timid temperament, perhaps I would have done just what he had done. Anyhow, it is water under the bridge now. If I send this letter, it will relieve my feelings, but it will make Meade try to justify himself. It will make him condemn me. It will arouse hard feelings, impair all his further usefulness as a commander, and perhaps force him to resign from the army."

So, to update Carnegie: Reviewing his rules is like taking a sobriety test at 2 a.m. at your keyboard before you hit the Send button. Will your message be received as one of empathy and understanding? Will the recipient hit Delete upon receipt? Or, even more time-consuming, will they pen a long angry response in return?

Your goal: a message that sees things through the other’s eyes—thus you gain influence and advance the conversation.

Yes, Carnegie, he’s not just relevant, he’s hyper relevant.


Dale Carnegie’s Golden Rules for Success

Become a Friendlier Person

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
  4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  5. Smile.
  6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  7. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  9. Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.

Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Posted by Frank J. Mendelson | Business, Business Communications, Communications | Comments 3 |
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