As part of my reading for my Personal MBA, I am documenting the key lessons I learnt from How to Win Friends and Influence People. It is not intended to be a summary or review, rather a reflection of how the book has influenced my thinking.
Even with the advent of technology, so little of life’s successes are determined by a person’s IQ. EQ is a far bigger factor. Perhaps in the future as technology intercedes our engagements more and more, engaging with people will become a rarefied skill, so while it may no longer holds the 85% factor (as per the book), for those that utilise it, it could become exponential.
I don’t like the title, I feel it alienates people who don’t want to admit they could be better and perceive themselves as pretty good already. The name also gives an impression of manipulation. But perhaps that was just my perception.
I already did, or at least strive to be aligned with the majority of the principles below, for others it may be life changing, I certainly wish I had read it earlier.
My takeaway in a sentence – Be polite and positive, as well as realise being right and helpful are not the same, no one wins an argument. For a full list of the principles, see below.
How to get the most out of the book (any book?):
1. Deep desire to improve the ability to deal with people – Remember the importance
2. Read/skim each chapter for birds-eye view, then re-read thoroughly – Perhaps always best practice
3. Highlight (take notes)
4. Re-read/reference frequently
5. Use active learning – apply at every opportunity
6. Have a forfeit for violating the principles
7. Reflect on behaviour
8. Keep a record of triumphs
Principles for handling people:
1. Don’t criticise, condemn or complain. – instead try to understand. Everyone rationalises their own action as correct, blame someone else, criticism does not help.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation- it feeds the desire of people to feel important. Lack of appreciation drives people away.
3. Arouse their want first. – Ask yourself what they want
Make people like you
1. Become genuinely interested in people
2. Smile – and you will be welcome anywhere. It is so powerful, that people can tell on a telephone call if you are smiling
3. Remember people’s names – don’t confuse inability with laziness, the story we tell. It’s the sweetest word to the recipient. Practice, learn, be better.
4. Be a good listener, encourage people to talk about themselves, it’s amazing how a conversationalist you become
5. To seem interesting, talk in terms interesting to other people.
6. Make the other person feel important- and do it sincerely. Politeness takes a bit longer when making the request, but I imagine the request will be completed with greater effort.
How to win people to your way of thinking
1. The only way to get the best out of an argument is to avoid. – like war, there are no winners.
2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.” No one is right all the time, why assume that I am?
3. If you are wrong, admit it freely and emphatically. It will make you feel better and often the other person will stumble in their attack, even coming to your defence.
4. Begin in a friendly way – people put up defences. These double with each sign of aggression.
5. Get the other person saying ‘yes, yes’ immediately. Start with what you agree on, even the simple things.
6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. They understand their view better than you and are more likely to talk themselves to a neutral point of view than you are.
7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or her’s. Bring them on the journey, use them to mould the idea.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. It’s unlikely either person is right or their view can’t be enhanced.
9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. Given their predisposition and circumstances, it makes sense they think and perceive as they do.
10. Appeal to nobler motives. We have two reasons for doing something, the real one and the one we want to believe, challenging on the real one won’t work, but the other certainly will, otherwise we break the narrative.
11. Dramatise your ideas. A little showmanship goes a long way to creating intrigue.
12. Throw down a challenge. It drives the desire to Excel.
Be a leader
1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation. Before any criticism.
2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticising the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.