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.

Principle 1: Be Genuinely Interested in Other People

You can make more friends in two months being genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years trying to make others become genuinely interested in you. Carnegie claims that those who show no interest in their fellow men, end up in the end having the greatest difficulties in life. “It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.”

In the words of the famous Roman poet, Publilius Syrus, “We are interested in others when they are interested in us.”

So if you are interested in making friends, begin by voluntarily — that means no strings attached — doing things for other people. Things that require time, talents, energy, thoughtfulness and unselfishness. This is the key to winning friends…

Principle 2: Smile

We’ve all heard the phrase, “Actions speak louder than words.” And the simple action of a smile can carry you further with people than most words will.

Think about it. Have you ever had one of those days where nothing is going right, the world seems to be conspiring against you, and most of all you feel miserable? Then all of a sudden you come across someone who, without any reason why, gives you a most genuine smile. Doesn’t that simple action seem to cause the sun to break apart the clouds of your dismal day, and lift you up from that point on? I’ve definitely experienced that.

That’s the power of a simple smile.

Principle 3: Remember that a Person’s Name is to that Person the Sweetest and Most Important Sound in Any Language

We need to understand that someone’s name represents their individuality and uniqueness. It’s what they own and is what sets them apart. Whether you’re dealing with the senior executive or the waiter, taking the effort to recall and use their name will bring you dividends well worth the effort it takes to put it to memory.

It really is the sweetest sound they can hear.

Principle 4: Be a Good Listener. Encourage Others to Talk About Themselves

To become a great conversationalist is somewhat of a paradox, because you hardly converse at all. Truly great conversationalists are in fact great listeners.

Just to make his point, Carnegie explains that if you want to make people avoid you like death, here is the recipe: Never listen to anyone for long. Always talk about yourself. In fact, if someone is talking about himself, interrupt them in the middle of their sentence and start talking about YOURself again.

Have you ever met people like that? Yeah, me too. And I tend to avoid them as probably so do you.

So if you aspire to be a great conversationalist, start working on your listening skills. Encourage others to talk about themselves and show genuine interest.

Principle 5: Talk in Terms of the Other Person’s Interests

If you can talk with other people in terms of what they’re interested in, both of you will benefit. You’ll begin to not only gain favor in the eyes of the other person, but best of all, you’ll expand and grow as a result of learning about other’s interests, and you may just develop a new passion out of it.

We are not an island unto ourselves. If you live that way, you’re sure to have a very uninteresting life. It’s when you open yourself up to others’ interests, that your own interests grow.

Principle 6: Make the Other Person Feel Important — and Do it Sincerely

There is one all-important law of human conduct. If we obey that law, we shall almost never get into trouble. In fact, that law, if obeyed, will bring us countless friends and constant happiness…The law is this: Always make the other person feel important.

As was noted in the last post, the desire to be important is the deepest drive in human nature. We all want to be appreciated. Take to heart the words of Emerson, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn of him.”

Just think of that! If you were to really feel that everyone has something that they can do better than you, and you genuinely seek to learn from them, the feeling of appreciation that they’ll have is beyond words.

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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