Improving yourself is a lot more profitable than trying to improve others. Dale Carnegie
So I’m back this week with 5 more principles from Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence people. You don’t have to listen to these two parts in any particular order but if you’ve not heard part one I suggest you give it a go. It gives something of a context to what I am talking about.
The sixth principle which I would like to present from Carnegie’s the book is MAKE THE OTHER PERSON FEEL IMPORTANT. Carnegie points out that some people claim that all of civilization ultimately rests upon the human desire to feel important. That our craving for approval and praise makes us climb the highest mountains, write novels and found multi-million-dollar companies. It’s enough to use simple phrases like “Thank you” and “I’m sorry,” while also giving sincere, honest praise to make people feel this way though. He warns too, not to shower people with phony flattery, or they will see right through it. Instead, you should stop thinking about yourself and focus on the good points of the person in front of you.
This is perhaps just another way of looking at the Golden Rule which I discuss in detail in my Law of Success in 16 lessons series. Treat others as you would like others to treat you. Carnegie takes this a little further– He says “Try leaving a trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips. You will be surprised how they will set small flames of friendship that will be rose beacons on your next visit” You’ll soon become someone whom others like and enjoy working with. And best of all, you’ll have a positive impact on the lives of those around you.
Number seven on my list is IF YOU ARE WRONG, ADMIT IT QUICKLY AND EMPHATICALLY. He explains that 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 usually helps solve the problem created by the error. And if it is too late to admit a mistake quickly, you can still admit it emphatically. The key point in all this I think is that your honesty will set you up above the rest, and bring the person who has been wronged or fouled by your error back onto your side.
The eighth principle from Carnegie’s book is kinda linked to this one, but it’s when talking of the mistakes of others. He says WHEN DRAWING ATTENTION TO MISTAKES, DO SO INDIRECTLY. He tells a story of the American steel magnate Charles Schwab to demonstrate this one. One morning, Charles Schwab was walking through one of his steel mills when he noticed a group of workers smoking right under a “No Smoking” sign. Instead of confronting them directly about this, he handed them each a cigar and said he would appreciate it if they smoked them outside. Because he pointed out their mistake so tactfully, instead of berating them, the men probably felt a great deal of admiration and affection for him. Schwab knew that calling attention to mistakes indirectly makes people far more amenable to changing their ways.
Even subtle changes to what you say can be enough. The next time you plan to start with praise but then say “...but...” and continue with a criticism, think about how you could formulate the criticism more softly with an “and.” He gives this example, instead of saying to your child: “Your grades are looking good, but your maths is still lagging,” try saying “Your grades are looking good, and if you keep working on your maths, it’ll soon catch up!” I haven’t been giving many calls to action this season, but this is a good one. Start swapping “but” for “and” when you deliver critical feedback, to help you frame it in a positive and uplifting way, instead of inferring failure and disapproval.
Number 9 on my list is pretty simple, but it works. IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION, SMILE. If someone we’ve just met smiles at us, we tend to automatically like them. The smile of a baby, for instance, immediately makes us feel warm and fuzzy inside, as does seeing a dog wagging its tail out of its sheer delight at seeing us. So if you want to make yourself instantly likeable to someone, show them that 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. There’s a great article about how smiling can help you in other ways on verywellmind.com which I’ll link to in the show notes. They say that smiles make us attractive to others as Carnegie says, but also that it relieves stress, elevates our mood, that it’s contagious, that it boosts your immune system, lowers our blood pressure, helps us stay positive and reflects success and just that it makes us feel good. Smiling maybe deserves an episode of it’s own, but for now it’s just the penultimate principle in today’s list.
The final lesson I’ll offer up today is not a specific principle but the general message of a chapter. It is “THE BIG SECRET OF DEALING WITH PEOPLE” - Carnegie gets right to the point in the opening paragraph of this chapter by saying “There is only one way under high Heaven to get anybody to do anything… And that is by making the other person want to do it.” Ultimately, you’ll have to give someone what they want in order to win friends and influence people.
Carnegie gives us the top eight list of normal adult wants here which includes: Health and the preservation of life, Food, Sleep, Money and the things money will buy, Life in the hereafter, Sexual gratification, The well-being of our children and as I’ve talked about already a feeling of importance. The chapter dives into the importance of praise. He talks again of Charles Schwab who was paid $1 million a year by Andrew Carnegie for his ability to deal with people. When asked what Schwab did differently, he emphasized a focus on appreciation and encouragement. He said, “…I am hearty in my approval and lavish in my praise.” Carnegie followed Schwab’s example and would often praise his employees as well in both public and private events. He believed that appreciation and praise were so important that people often craved it as much as food but would sometimes go years without ever having their needs met. Part 6 of this list MAKE THE OTHER PERSON FEEL IMPORTANT and part 3 from last weeks show GIVE HONEST AND SINCERE APPRECIATION are both principles presented in this chapter. The big lesson is that by giving honest and sincere praise, people will hold onto your words for a lifetime. And that’s the best kind of impact to have in a relationship you’ve built.
The books first chapter is titled “If You Want to Gather Honey, Don’t Kick Over the Beehive” which encompasses the lesson DON’T CRITICISE, CONDEMN OR COMPLAIN from last weeks show. I think that the title itself deserves a mention here as it’s a great principle to live by.
In summary today I have covered MAKE THE OTHER PERSON FEEL IMPORTANT, IF YOU ARE WRONG, ADMIT IT QUICKLY AND EMPHATICALLY, WHEN DRAWING ATTENTION TO MISTAKES, DO SO INDIRECTLY, IF YOU WANT TO MAKE A GOOD FIRST IMPRESSION, SMILE “THE BIG SECRET OF DEALING WITH PEOPLE”.
Do you sometimes struggle to make friends? Or argue with others and still don’t manage to win them over to your way of thinking? Do you feel like your relationships with your colleagues and clients could be better? If that sounds like you then Dale Carnegie’s self-help classic How to Win Friends & Influence People might be worth reading. It’s just 75 cents at the time of recording on Kindle, and the Kindle app itself is free to download on electronic devices, so if the principles from it that I’ve talked about here have appealed to you, and believe me there are many more, then go grab a copy.
Thanks once again for joining me on Film Pro Productivity and Success and investing in yourself. I‘d be very grateful if you would take the time to leave a rating or a review perhaps on whatever app you use to listen to your podcasts on. It makes a big difference to the show because it bumps it up in the rankings and that attracts more listeners. I really appreciate your time here whether you are a long time follower of the podcast or this is your first time hearing what I have to say. Next weeks show is all about Pride And Arrogance and looks at how those attributes can get in the way of your advancement.
I’ll end with some final words from the author of How To Win Friends And Influence People, Dale Carnegie. If you are not in the process of becoming the person you want to be, you are automatically engaged in becoming the person you don't want to be.
Now take control of your own destiny, keep on shootin’ and join me next time on FILM PRO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS!
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