Would you like to be able to talk to anyone with confidence? What if you were able to get people into your way of thinking? What if you could influence people to do what you want them to do?
It is possible. For that, you have to read this book called How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
If you read and understand everything written in this book, and also apply its principles in your life, you will be to do all of those things.
How to Win Friends and Influence People?
Most people have the fear of communicating with other people. We try to avoid those awkward silences, small talks, and unwanted conversations. But we all want people to like us and talk to us about the things that we are interested in.
One of the most important skills required to achieve success in life is communication skills. If you have this skill, you will be able to get whatever you want in life. How? We always have people around us – friends, family, colleagues, business partners, life partners, so on. These people, directly or indirectly, have an impact on what we do in life. Naturally, if we can communicate well and have a good relationship with them, we will be able to live wonderful lives.
Communication is one of the most important skills you need to achieve success in life. How can you become better at the skill of communication?
Dale Carnegie teaches several principles in this book. You need to apply these principles in your life to improve your communication skills.
“If out of reading this book you get just one thing – an increased tendency to think away in terms of other people’s point of view, and see things from their angle – if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.”
Understand This: It Should Be About The Other Person, Not About You
Having read this book multiple times, I have learned this one important lesson about human communication from it, and that is:
It should always be about other people, not about you.
When you are having a conversation with someone, what is it that you are trying to do? In a general scenario, you want to have a better impression of yourself to that person. So what do you do? You try to show them how good of a person you are by talking about yourself – by saying good things about yourself to them.
This is the exact opposite of what you should be doing.
The best way to make a better impression of yourself to other people is by being genuinely interested in them.
What is the other person interested in? What makes them happy? How can you make them feel important? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself. You should talk about their interests, not yours. You need to make them feel important. Do not try to show how important you are.
“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.”
Read that line again.
Key Lessons From the Book
I will be discussing some of the most important lessons from the book. All the other principles discussed in the book are also very important, but here, I have selected the best ones. I have been using these principles in my life, and they do work. However, I have to keep reminding myself of them from time and again, which is why I re-read this book every year.
Below are the key lessons from How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
#1: Be Genuinely Interested
You have to be interested in other people to make them like you. Remember, people care more about themselves than they care about you. If you show interest in them – in their work, relationships, health, recent trips, education, or whatever, you will make a better impression of yourself. How to be interested in other people? By asking questions about them. You need to stop talking about yourself and start talking about them. Ask questions about things they are interested in. This will work in your favor. They will like you for being interested in them.
#2: Remember People’s Names and Use Them Often
This works. I know because I have tried it myself. Before reading this book, I did not care about the names of strangers. I used to think that I am never going to see this person again in my life so why should I bother asking for his/her name. After doing some experiments, I have seen that this actually works. You must ask for people’s names, remember them, and use them more often during conversations. Remember this:
“A person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
Listening is the best way to show that you are genuinely interested in people. Listen, and listen attentively. Then, ask questions. That’s it. In the book, Carnegie gives an example of this one time when he had met a botanist at a dinner party. He simply stood there with the botanist and listened to him talk about exotic plants and experiments in developing new forms of plant life and indoor gardens. Carnegie had no interest in botany but still, he listened. Later, the botanist gave him a compliment, saying that he was an “interesting conversationalist”. Carnegie had hardly said a word and yet the botanist said that he was a good conversationalist. That’s the power of listening.
#4: Make Them Feel Important
People want to feel important. In general, most people feel themselves to be superior to you in some way. It is easy to make such people like you. You have to make them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance. You can do this by praising them for their efforts. Know their interests and ask yourself how you can make them feel important. Find the answer and use it.
#5: See Things from Their Perspective
This, as I said earlier, is one of the main lessons of the book. It is so easy to use, yet so many people neglect it. You have to be able to see things from other people’s point-of-view. Ask yourself, “If I were him/her and I was interested in so-and-so, how would I feel? What actions would I take? Why would I want to do this?” Before saying something to someone or asking them to do something, stop and think for a moment. Put yourself in that person’s shoes and think.
#6: Acknowledge Your Own Mistakes
We are often good at identifying other people’s mistakes. When we point out their mistakes we feel superior. But we are actually making a bad impression of ourselves. First, we need to identify our own mistakes. Remember that you are not perfect. None of us are. We all make mistakes. We must acknowledge our own mistakes first. When you are humble at admitting your own mistake, you will come off as less defensive and more agreeable to people. You need to take responsibility for your actions, including your mistakes. Apologize, if necessary.
“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.”
If you want to learn how to communicate with people effectively, you must read this book multiple times. It will not only make you a good conversationalist but also help you achieve success in all the areas of your life. Remember, if you want to make a good impression of yourself, you have to be genuinely interested in other people. You have to learn to think things from other people’s point-of-view.
The author also recommends reading this book multiple times. He says to read each chapter twice. We often forget about the things we read from a book. If you don’t want to forget the important principles in this book, read it over and over again. This book is worth reading 100 times if necessary. Maybe even more. You have to apply the principles from the book practically. Only then, you will be able to become a good conversationalist and achieve success in life.