Winning Friends, Influencing People

Dale Carnegie reading his book

I fiiinnnaaaaalllllyyy got around to reading How To Win Friends & Influence People. TL;DR – highly recommend! The book covers a ton of timeless work/life principles that are as valuable now as they were when the book was published in 1936, even if the examples feel a bit dated.

This post, however, is not a book review. Instead, it’s my attempt to¬† integrate the teachings into my day-to-day. The book covers 30+ individual principles, and that is simply way too many for me to meaningfully integrate into my daily work. My monkey brain functions best when I have a shortlist of bullet-point-able guidelines, ideally something that fits on a single sticky I can slap on my desk and turn to for quick guidance in the heat of the moment (e.g. the contentious prioritization session in which I’m somehow utterly convinced that I’m right and everyone else is wrong).

So, I’ve taken Mr. Carnegie’s 30-ish principles and reduced them down to half a dozen pithy guidelines below (including bullet points with some of the constituent principles from the book). Time to go find my stickies and see how well this works. . .

1. Be Positive

  • Don’t criticize, condemn or complain
  • Avoid arguing (the way to get the best out of an argument is not to have it)
  • Act in a friendly way
  • Praise improvement

2. Make People Look and Feel Good

  • Begin with, and give lots of, sincere praise and appreciation
  • Avoid making someone wrong
  • Call attention to mistakes¬†indirectly
  • Help others save face
  • Encourage! Make the fault seem easy to improve

3. Care About People

  • Find ways to be genuinely interested in other people
  • Talk in terms of others’ interests
  • Use people’s names – it is the sweetest sound to them
  • Help others feel important
  • Try honestly to see things from the other’s POV
  • Be sympathetic to others’ ideas and desires

4. Build Buy-In

  • Start where you agree (find a “yes, yes” to kick things off)
  • Help others feel the idea is theirs
  • Appeal to noble motives
  • Give others a high reputation to live up to
  • Arouse in the other an eager want
  • Throw down a challenge sometimes

5. Listen Lots

  • Be a good listener, and encourage others to talk
  • Let the other person do most of the talking
  • Ask questions instead of giving direct orders

6. Be Accountable

  • When wrong, own it promptly and fully
  • Talk about your own mistakes before others’

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