Today we’re looking at an oldie but goodie—How To Win Friends & Influence People (The Only Book You Need to Lead You to Success), by Dale Carnegie. This book’s original copyright was in 1936, which makes it 80 years old at the time of this recording! The fact that it’s still a huge seller today is evidence of the wisdom in its lessons. Now, things definitely change over time, and the world is a lot different today than it was in 1936, but people… people aren’t really. In the details of how we spend our days, the cars we drive, and the technology we use, sure we’re different. But we’ve hardly changed at all on an evolutionary timeline, and that’s why the fundamentals of this book are still powerful. If you want to learn more about what makes people tick at their core, read this book.
If you watched the lesson on Poor Charlie’s Almanack, today’s quote may be familiar to the #1 cognitive bias, which had to do with incentives—reward and punishment. Carnegie says “When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion.” Remember, Benjamin Franklin said to appeal to interest, not reason, if we want to influence people. And this point was clearly not lost on Mr. Carnegie.
By the way, with all the information and books out there, sometimes it can get a little overwhelming. It can be even more so when you start finding conflicting arguments. But you can do two things with this: 1) Recognize that there are always two sides to a coin, and one or the other isn’t necessarily right, and 2) look for the principles that multiple people seem to agree on, and give them extra weight in your mind.
Today we’re going to focus on a section of the book that gives 6 ways to make people like you. By the way, this is the #2 cognitive bias of the liking/loving tendency, so it’s important! I’ll focus more on #1 and #6, because I think I can go a little deeper into those, so first let’s go over the others.
#1 – “Become genuinely interested in other people.” We’ll get to that one.
#2 says “smile,” and I won’t make it more complex than it is. Smiling is instinctual, and we all know what it means. It makes us think of good, happy, and fun.
#3 is an eloquent way of saying that people like to hear their names: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” One time, my fiancé and I were leaving the grocery store, and she said “you’re so nice, you always say the checker’s name when you say bye.” The fact that she, as a 3rd party, thinks this is nice, makes me confident that the checker appreciates it too.
If you’ve gone through the Start To Success Formula, #4 and #5 are related to something I harp on, which is to think of your audience always. You listen to what they want, encourage them to tell you what they want, and then talk to them in their language. “Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.” And “Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
#6 – “Make the person feel important, and do it sincerely.” We’ll get to that one.
Ok, back to #1 – “Become genuinely interested in other people.” Remember, showing interest is one of the simplest ways to demonstrate that you like another person. And people like people who like them.
One of the best reasons to be interested in other people is because, often times… they’re interesting! This may not always be the case, but usually the other person knows about something that you don’t. That’s kind of the whole premise of this knowledge business: We all have knowledge and expertise in some area, and we can share that with each other to better our lives. So, don’t be afraid to learn something new.
And, when you hear or learn something new, don’t be afraid to challenge your beliefs. Getting perspective from another person can be invaluable. Seeing things through their eyes may not change your whole belief system, but it may allow you to see the other side of the coin we were talking about. One of my favorite quotes is by F. Scott Fitzgerald, and he says “The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in mind at the same time and still retain the ability to function.” Kind of funny, and kind of profound.
And, lastly, #6 – “Make the person feel important, and do it sincerely.” Do any of you have that friend whom, you invite to a party, and they respond with “who else is coming?” Or, maybe they aren’t that crass, but they always wait until the last minute to RSVP, and you know it’s because they’re holding out to make sure it’s their best option? Well, I hope not, but I’ve known people like this, and I pretty quickly stop inviting them to things. This sense of “what’s in it for me” is so obvious, and it doesn’t feel very good that it’s not enough for them to spend quality time with you.
One of the easiest ways to give yourself away as a self-centered person is body language. If you find yourself talking with someone, they should be the focus. Don’t look at your watch, check your phone, or scan the room for someone who could benefit you more. Make eye contact, listen, and be grateful to make a connection.
The world is changing, and attention spans are decreasing. This statement gets thrown around a lot, and I think people misunderstand it. Our brains haven’t changed that much in 50 or 100 years, but our environments have. The only reason we have short attention spans is because we are overstimulated. So, control your environment. Want to know my #1 productivity hack? I use airplane mode on my phone whenever I need to focus. That keeps my phone as a powerful, useful tool instead of a time-sucking distraction.
As always, we’ve left the majority of stones unturned in this book, but we can always come back to them down the line, and I encourage you to get reading these awesome books. This one is a great example of the power of books: Andrew Carnegie is dead, and yet we can still learn from him to make our lives better. Take advantage of all the knowledge there is out there!
The summary is simple: To get people to like you, give yourself tunnel vision, focus on them and only them, and listen to what they have to say. How can we help but like those who show interest and make us feel important?
Alright, and lastly let’s do the exercise for today: 1) Who is the person that you like most in this world? Why do you like them so much? 2) Think of someone you met, and they just didn’t feel right. Try to identify what they did that turned you off to them. Did they violate one of these 6 principles? And 3) Which of the 6 principles do you need to work on most?
I hope you all feel like these book learning courses are valuable. Let me know how I can make them even better, and I’ll see you in the next one!