This week, Life Training Online is reviewing How to Win Friends & Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, the nineteenth of fifty-two books in the 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks series.

If You Want to Gather Honey – Don’t Kick Over the Beehive

Principle 1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain

In most cases, we never criticize ourselves, for anything, no matter how wrong it may be. On the other hand, when it comes to others faults, we are usually the first to get in line to tell them what we think.

When we are dealing with people, we need to understand that we are not dealing with perfectly logical creatures. Instead we are dealing with beings of emotion, prejudices, pride and vanity. Criticism is seldom taken without resentment and it usually only fosters criticism directed back at us.

Benjamin Franklin was so talented at handling people that he was made Ambassador to France. In his own words, “I will speak ill of no man…and speak all the good I know of everybody.” The greatest among us show us their greatness in the way they treat those who aren’t so great. Instead of criticising, complaining or condemning those around us, try instead to understand them. This will take you a lot further than negativity; and it will gather to you sympathy, tolerance, and kindness.

The Big Secret of Dealing with People

Principle 2: Give honest and sincere appreciation

In Carnegie’s opinion, there’s really only one truly effective way to get somebody to do something. And that is to give them the one thing that is seldom gratified. And what is that? According to Carnegie, it is the feeling of importance or the desire to be great.

Think about it for a minute. If our ancestor’s didn’t have this strong desire to make a difference, feel important, or be great, we as a society would not be where we are today. This is the desire that inspired Dickens to write is timeless novels, to turn a once uneducated, poverty-stricken grocery clerk into one of the most influential presidents of our time (Lincoln), and create the Rockefeller’s and Bill Gates of our day.

That rare individual that can satisfy this need in others will be able to hold people in the palm of their hands so that “even the undertaker will be sorry when he dies.” Charles Schwab, steel tycoon, and one of the most wealthy men of his time said it best,

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.

It really comes down to thinking less about our wants and accomplishments and becoming more in tune to other’s praiseworthy points. Forget flattery. Give honest, sincere appreciation and people will cherish your words, remembering them long after you’ve spoken them.

He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him. He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way

Principle 3: Arouse in the other person an eager want

In line with principle 2, this third principle takes the focus away from you and puts it again on those around us. It’s really the only way we can influence others. And that is to talk about what they want and to show them how to get it.

The next time you want to persuade somebody to do something, before you speak, Carnegie suggests pausing and asking yourself, “How can I get this person to want to do it?” That question will immediately put a stop to you rushing off in futile chatter about your own desires — prohibiting any powers of persuasion.

That’s where having the ability to truly empathize — that is, to see another’s point of view as well as your own — comes in great demand. You’ll then be able to perceive what it is that they really want, thereby arousing within them that desire. And if you can do that, the “world will be with you.”

How to Win Friends & Influence People is the nineteenth of fifty-two books in Life Training – Online’s series 52 Personal Development Books in 52 Weeks.

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