How To Win Friends & Influence People-- 6 Tips for Handling People

6:43:00 PM

It's finally pool season here in Las Vegas. I LOVE the pool!  It's my "me time" and I can just relax, listen to the waterfall, and feel the sun on my skin. I used to bring a stack of magazines to the pool, but I've recently been into books about business and leadership.  My dad sent me "How to Win Friends & Influence People" by Dale Carnegie, and I had to share some great points from it.  Carnegie suggests you read each chapter twice before moving to the next chapter, so today I got through Part 1-- Fundamental Techniques for Handling People.  Here are my 6 favorite takeaways that I'm going to apply to my own life.

1) "Criticisms are like homing pigeons.  They always return home."
This really struck me.  What is the result of criticism of someone or something?  Does criticism change someone or a situation?  No and no. Criticism is not a key motivator for lasting change.  Criticism "puts a person on the defensive and usually makes him strive to justify himself... it wounds a person's precious pride, hurts his sense of importance, and arouses resentment."  Criticism is counterproductive. When asked about the secret of his success, Benjamin Franklin said, "I will speak ill of no man... and speak all the good I know of everybody."  I have to constantly remind myself of this.

2) "A great man shows his greatness by the way he treats little men."
I love this.  We all know people who place themselves above everyone else with different walks of life, personality types, financial situations, career levels, etc.  We likely do this ourselves, too. This speaks a lot to what type of leader we should strive to be.  A leader isn't made a leader by power, position, or title, but by their ability to influence others, invest in others, and grow others.  We need to be self-aware of not placing ourselves on pedestals and avoiding criticism, condemnation, and complaining. 

3)  "How you get your feeling of importance... determines your character."
What makes you feel important?  Flowers from your husband?  Birthday cards?  Your kids taking out the trash?  Or when you get 100 "Likes" on your new Facebook profile picture?  This "desire to be important" is what differentiates us from animals. This is what drives us to dress cute, have nice cars, brag about our kids, and post our most filtered flattering selfies on Instagram.  How you get your feeling of importance determines your character.  I feel important when I'm seen as an asset or when I achieve a goal.  But the key is not trying to figure out how WE can feel more important, but how we can make OTHERS feel more important.  What drives this feeling for them?  A pat on the back?  A thank you card? A simple, "How are you doing today?"

4) "The biggest craving in human nature is the craving to be appreciated." -- William James. 
How did Charles Schwab climb so high in his career and (in 1921) obtain a $1M salary?  What was his secret?  Schwab said, "I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.... There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors.  I never criticize anyone.  I believe in giving a person incentive to work.  So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault.  If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise."  He also said, "I have yet to find the person.. who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism."  This applies just as much to all of our relationships and friendships as it does to our work.  I want to be better at this in all areas of life.

5) "Flattery seldom works with discerning people.... It is shallow, selfish, and insincere."
This is so true and not often recognized.  "The difference between appreciation and flattery?  One is sincere and the other insincere.  One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out.  One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned."  Wow!  I've never thought so much about flattery versus sincere appreciation before.  "Flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks about himself."  This makes flattery easy, effortless, and cheap.  Not to mention, people usually see right through it.  I want to make a better effort to give others sincere, honest appreciation.

6) "The only way... to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it."
Whether you're dealing with children, spouses, or employees, it's always helpful to remember that "we are interested in what we want."  Everything we do, we do because we want something.  This chapter is really helpful when applied to sales and negotiation tactics.  It's also applicable to leading a team of people and inspiring them to follow your lead. William Winter says, "When we have a brilliant idea, instead of making others think it is ours, why not let them cook and stir the idea themselves.  They will then regard it as their own; they will like it and maybe eat a couple of helpings of it."  This is counter-intuitive, however, when someone feels ownership of an idea they feel responsible in driving it to fruition and success.

Happy Weekend!

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