How to Win Friends and Influence People
A favourite of the self-improvement crowd. The title of the book sounded a bit manipulative to me, but the recommendations therein are actually not (for the most part).
“A great man shows his greatness,” said Carlyle, “by the way he treats little men.” Bob Hoover, a famous test pilot and frequent performer at air shows, was returning to his home in Los Angeles from an air show in San Diego. As described in the magazine Flight Operations, at three hundred feet in the air, both engines suddenly stopped. By deft maneuvering he managed to land the plane, but it was badly damaged although nobody was hurt. Hoover’s first act after the emergency landing was to inspect the airplane’s fuel. Just as he suspected, the World War II propeller plane he had been flying had been fueled with jet fuel rather than gasoline. Upon returning to the airport, he asked to see the mechanic who had serviced his airplane. The young man was sick with the agony of his mistake. Tears streamed down his face as Hoover approached. He had just caused the loss of a very expensive plane and could have caused the loss of three lives as well. You can imagine Hoover’s anger. One could anticipate the tongue-lashing that this proud and precise pilot would unleash for that carelessness. But Hoover didn’t scold the mechanic; he didn’t even criticize him. Instead, he put his big arm around the man’s shoulder and said, “To show you I’m sure that you’ll never do this again, I want you to service my F-51 tomorrow.”
Instead of condemning people, let’s try to understand them. Let’s try to figure out why they do what they do. That’s a lot more profitable and intriguing than criticism; and it breeds sympathy, tolerance and kindness. To know all is to forgive all. As Dr. Johnson said: “God himself, sir, does not propose to judge man until the end of his days. Why should you and I?”
If you tell me how you get your feeling of importance, I’ll tell you what you are. That determines your character. That is the most significant thing about you. For example, John D. Rockefeller got his feeling of importance by giving money to erect a modern hospital in Peking, China, to care for millions of poor people whom he had never seen and never would see. Dillinger, on the other hand, got his feeling of importance by being a bandit, a bank robber and killer. When the FBI agents were hunting him, he dashed into a farmhouse up in Minnesota and said, “I’m Dillinger!” He was proud of the fact that he was Public Enemy Number One. “I’m not going to hurt you, but I’m Dillinger!” he said. Yes, the one significant difference between Dillinger and Rockefeller is how they got their feeling of importance.
Carnegie wanted to praise his assistants even on his tombstone. He wrote an epitaph for himself which read: “Here lies one who knew how to get around him men who were cleverer than himself.”
In our interpersonal relations we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy. Try leaving a friendly 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.
Hurting people not only does not change them, it is never called for. There is an old saying that I have cut out and pasted on my mirror where I cannot help but see it every day:
I shall pass this way but once; any good, therefore, that I can do or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again.
IN A NUTSHELL FUNDAMENTAL TECHNIQUES IN HANDLING PEOPLE
- PRINCIPLE 1 Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- PRINCIPLE 2 Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- PRINCIPLE 3 Arouse in the other person an eager want.
Alfred Adler, the famous Viennese psychologist, wrote a book entitled What Life Should Mean to You. In that book he says: “It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”
People who talk only of themselves think only of themselves. And “those people who think only of themselves,” Dr. Nicholas Murray Butler, longtime president of Columbia University, said, “are hopelessly uneducated. They are not educated,” said Dr. Butler, “no matter how instructed they may be.”
So if you aspire to be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other persons will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
IN A NUTSHELL SIX WAYS TO MAKE PEOPLE LIKE YOU
- PRINCIPLE 1 Become genuinely interested in other people.
- PRINCIPLE 2 Smile.
- PRINCIPLE 3 Remember that a persons name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- PRINCIPLE 4 Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- PRINCIPLE 5 Talk in terms of the other persons interests.
- PRINCIPLE 6 Make the other person feel importantand do it sincerely.
But [Robert E.] Lee was far too noble to blame others. As Pickett’s beaten and bloody troops struggled back to the Confederate lines, Robert E. Lee rode out to meet them all alone and greeted them with a self-condemnation that was little short of sublime. “All this has been my fault,” he confessed. “I and I alone have lost this battle.” Few generals in all history have had the courage and character to admit that.
IN A NUTSHELL WIN PEOPLE TO YOUR WAY OF THINKING
- PRINCIPLE 1 The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- PRINCIPLE 2 Show respect for the other persons opinions. Never say, You’re wrong.
- PRINCIPLE 3 If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- PRINCIPLE 4 Begin in a friendly way.
- PRINCIPLE 5 Get the other person saying yes, yes immediately.
- PRINCIPLE 6 Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- PRINCIPLE 7 Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- PRINCIPLE 8 Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view.
- PRINCIPLE 9 Be sympathetic with the other persons ideas and desires.
- PRINCIPLE 10 Appeal to the nobler motives.
- PRINCIPLE 11 Dramatize your ideas.
- PRINCIPLE 12 Throw down a challenge.
IN A NUTSHELL BE A LEADER A leaders job often includes changing your peoples attitudes and behavior. Some suggestions to accomplish this:
- PRINCIPLE 1 Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- PRINCIPLE 2 Call attention to peoples mistakes indirectly.
- PRINCIPLE 3 Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- PRINCIPLE 4 Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- PRINCIPLE 5 Let the other person save face.
- PRINCIPLE 6 Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.
- PRINCIPLE 7 Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- PRINCIPLE 8 Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- PRINCIPLE 9 Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.