Winning Friends and Influencing People

November 8, 2010 by
Filed under: Networking, Relationships 

WinFriends1 Winning Friends and Influencing PeopleIt’s inter­est­ing how many peo­ple out there want to rewrite the rules in life. They want to rewrite them so that it fits their cho­sen lifestyle. Some even say, “I play by my rules”. Have you ever heard any­one say that? One can say that’s a coura­geous atti­tude to take. Oth­ers may say that’s a very unre­al­is­tic, even child­ish atti­tude to take. It’s OK to make your own rules, just be pre­pared for when the rest of the world con­fronts you about them (and doesn’t agree). Some rules of life are rules that can­not be changed or altered. Why? Because peo­ple are people!

One of my favorite books is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influ­ence Peo­ple”. It’s prob­a­bly one of the most read books when it comes to the art of rela­tion­ship build­ing. If you’re a per­son who truly wants to learn about under­stand­ing peo­ple (as well as your­self) bet­ter, then this is a book that I highly rec­om­mend. I peri­od­i­cally re-read this book in order to not become rusty on the teach­ings it pro­vides. Here are a few golden nuggets from it that have helped me and many of my col­leagues and friends:

Six Ways to Make Peo­ple Like You Better

1.  Become gen­uinely inter­ested in other peo­ple.

Believe it or not, I was asked how I could net­work with peo­ple so eas­ily. When I asked that per­son what he meant by that he told me that it seemed as though I was sin­cerely inter­ested in the other per­son.  Ding Ding Ding….We have a win­ner!! Of course I was inter­ested in the peo­ple I meet when I net­worked.  Hav­ing a sin­cere and gen­uine inter­est in oth­ers is key to enjoy­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with another human being.

2.  Smile. 

This is one of the sim­plest exer­cises for one to doJ. A smile can brighten someone’s day. A smile can open a door for you when you least expect one. A smile can melt someone’s rude­ness (or it may not…but why not try). A smile con­fuses an approach­ing frown. There is strong truth in the say­ing that says, “the world looks bet­ter from behind a smile.” Hey, if you smile at some­one, they might smile back. Then how would that make you feel?

3.  Remem­ber that a person’s name is to that per­son the sweet­est and most impor­tant sound in any lan­guage. 

This one may sound weird to some of you, but believe it or not it’s true!  I was really sur­prised when I learned this and started to say a person’s name with a lit­tle more fre­quency when­ever I was hav­ing a con­ver­sa­tion with them. What started hap­pen­ing, after I was say­ing the person’s name with a lit­tle more fre­quency, was that the per­son started to open up to me more. They started to talk in more detail about the topic we were dis­cussing or about some­thing that they expe­ri­enced ear­lier that day. They even at times got more per­sonal with what they chose to dis­close about them­selves. The only dif­fer­ent thing that I did now was to include their name with a lit­tle more fre­quency within the sen­tences I was using.

4.  Be a good lis­tener. Encour­age oth­ers to talk about them­selves. 

Here’s one that many of you have prob­a­bly come across before or have heard about. A per­son will always want to talk about them­selves when given the oppor­tu­nity. Why? Because who else knows us bet­ter than our­selves. Since we know our­selves bet­ter than any­one else, it stands to rea­son that we’d find it eas­ier to talk about this par­tic­u­lar sub­ject more than any other. When a per­son starts talk­ing about them­selves, they begin to nat­u­rally get fired up about the con­ver­sa­tion. They begin to have enthu­si­asm.  Once that is expe­ri­enced by a per­son, that per­son will eas­ily con­tinue to talk and feel good doing soJ. Be a good lis­tener. Be an active lis­tener, don’t be a lousy lis­tener, and encour­age them to talk about them­selves more.

5.  Talk in terms of the other person’s inter­ests. 

I’m sure no one saw this one com­ing. What can be more inter­est­ing to a per­son than talk­ing about what’s inter­est­ing to them? Noth­ing, that’s what. No mat­ter how one spins it, a per­son will gen­er­ally want to speak and have a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one (hint…hint…hint) about some­thing that they are inter­ested in.

An approach on this that’s often used by expert net­work­ers is to ask a per­son, once they find out what the person’s cho­sen pro­fes­sion, how they got into their line of work. The per­son will then begin to talk about not the posi­tion or occu­pa­tion, but about how they got into their line of work. To them, hav­ing some­one inter­ested in their story, no mat­ter how brief or bor­ing is inter­est­ing. So the next time you’re in a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one, be aware of what they say inter­ests them. It comes out in con­ver­sa­tion, early on more often than one may think. If you lis­ten and deter­mine what some of their inter­ests are, you’ll be in a bet­ter posi­tion to make the con­ver­sa­tion more inter­est­ing to them and more mem­o­rable in a pos­i­tive way. When a per­son remem­bers enjoy­ing their con­ver­sa­tion with you, most likely that per­son will want to speak with you again and with more frequency.

6.  Make the other per­son feel impor­tant (and do it sin­cerely). 

As I just men­tioned above, when another per­son feels good about the con­ver­sa­tion they are hav­ing with some­one, they most likely want to repeat was caused that feel­ing. If you can help the other per­son feel impor­tant or help them rec­og­nize their value (sin­cerely), that per­son will remem­ber how you made them feel and will want to asso­ciate them­selves with you more often. Note that I empha­sized the word sin­cerely here because if you make a per­son feel impor­tant, and you don’t truly mean it. Once they find out that you’re not being sin­cere about it, they will want to not spend time with you. Or worse, they may make a strong effort to not asso­ciate them­selves with any­thing about you and may go out of their way to let oth­ers know about your insin­cer­ity towards them poten­tially dam­ag­ing your rep­u­ta­tion. So let’s be sin­cere when mak­ing oth­ers feel important.

When you have a con­ver­sa­tion with some­one who is not inter­ested in you, you can kind of tell that they’re not inter­ested in you. How does that make you feel?  The con­ver­sa­tion turns out to not be rec­i­p­ro­cal in nature. The rule of reci­procity becomes appar­ent and either you under­stand and fol­low that rule or you don’t. Just don’t be sur­prised when oth­ers don’t want to help you out with some­thing when you’d like them to later on…. 

What are your thoughts here?

                What are some other ways to make peo­ple like you?

 *   *   *

Here are some other great sites and arti­cles on win­ning friends and influ­enc­ing people:

How to Win Friends

Killer atti­tude: the rules of unstop­pable confidence

Net­work­ing and People

The Friend­ship Blog  

Tips To Main­tain Friend­ship With An Ex

Your Smile Didn’t Mat­ter  - Seth Godin’s Blog


4 Intelligent Opinions, Leave Yours on Winning Friends and Influencing People

  1. Nara Venditti on Mon, 8th Nov 2010 11:24 am
  2. Loved the arti­cle, Gil. This is a great reminder on how to build rela­tion­ships. Dale Carnegie wrote mostly from Amer­i­can per­spec­tive. So, I just wanted to add that in the global world we live now, it is very use­ful to be aware of dif­fer­ences across cul­tures. Take body lan­guage, more specif­i­cally, smile does not always mean friend­li­ness, it may need embarassment.

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  3. Gil Pizano on Mon, 8th Nov 2010 7:46 pm
  4. Excel­lent point Nara! We do live in a smaller world than we did just a cou­ple of decades ago and Dale Carnegie although being a gifted writer who has helped mil­lions with devel­op­ing bet­ter peo­ple and lead­er­ship skills, was still mostly focus­ing on Amer­i­can cul­ture. Things such as body lan­guage and even voice tones can be inter­preted dif­fer­ently depend­ing upon where a per­son is or is from. I per­son­ally wasn’t aware of the smile mean­ing that the per­son is embarassed. Within what area or cul­ture would that be the case. I’m sure oth­ers as well as myself would love to know that par­tic­u­lar tidbit.

    Thanks Nara for the enlight­en­ing comments!


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  5. Jens P. Berget on Tue, 9th Nov 2010 1:26 am
  6. I’m not sure if it’s because I’m from Nor­way, or if it’s because I just don’t like it (I don’t think I’m play­ing by my own rules, I’m not try­ing to). When peo­ple say my name in a con­ver­sa­tion, espe­cially one to one con­ver­sa­tions, they will prob­a­bly get the oppo­site result as to what they are look­ing for (and the more they say my name, the more neg­a­tive I’ll become). To me, this is peo­ple involved in sales talk­ing. Every time a tele­mar­keter phones me, they say my name over and over again. The same with my boss :-)

    But, all the other tips sound great. And I’ll def­i­nitely have to buy the book :)
    Jens P. Berget recently posted..How to write an outlineMy Profile

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  7. Gil Pizano on Tue, 9th Nov 2010 8:02 am
  8. Inter­est­ing point Jens! (I won’t say your name more than once :) ) This is sim­i­lar to what Nara was point­ing out. It may not sim­ply be the cut­lure or loca­tion a per­son is from, it can also be based upon a person’s own expe­ri­ence. As you men­tioned, when somone says your name repeat­edly, you asso­ci­ated it with a sales­per­son attempt­ing to push the sale. I can relate to that, not from a per­son always say­ing my name but from other char­ac­ter­is­tics for which I won’t get into right here. Dale Carnegie has helped mil­lions around the world over the last 60 or so (the book was writ­ten in the late 1930’s) but since then, some aspects of the book were removed entirely. “How to Win Friends and Influ­ence Peo­ple” was re-released in 1981 with entire sec­tions removed because they weren’t as relavent today as they were back in 1937. An exam­ple of a sec­tion of the book removed talked about how to have a happy mar­riage from the point of view of the male spouse. As one can imag­ine, the points of view of the best way a man should act in a mar­riage in the 1930’s can and may in fact be quite dif­fer­ent than the views for how a man should act in a mar­riage in 2010.

    Thanks a bunch for the excel­lent insights here!!


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