How to win friends and influence people

It is naïve to believe you will always get a favorable reaction from other persons when you use these approaches, but the experience of most people shows that you are more likely to change attitudes this way than by not using these principles—and if you increase your successes by even a mere 10 percent, you have become 10 percent more effective as a leader than you were before—and that is your benefit.

Fundamental techniques in handling people:

  • People are emotional. When dealing with people remember that you are not dealing with a creature of logic, but a creature of emotions, bristling with prejudice and motivated by pride and vanity.
  • Avoid criticism. It puts a person on the defensive, and makes him strive to justify himself. Criticism wounds a person’s pride, hurts his sense of importance and arouses resentment. Remember Lincoln: “with malice toward none and charity for all”.
  • Learn and appreciate. The best way to motivate people is though sincere appreciation and encouragement. Learn people’s good points and give honest, sincere appreciation. Remember Franklin: “I will speak ill of no men and speak all the good I know of everybody”
  • Arouse an eager want. People are self-focused and don’t care about what you want, the only way to influence other people is to talk about what they want and show them how to get it. To do this you must be able to get the other person’s point of view and understand what would motivate them to act in a way that is mutually beneficial.

How to develop connections with people:

  • Become interested in people. People will become interested in you if you show a sincere and active interest in them. Going out of your way to do things for other people will create a positive connection and will become the basis for a healthy friendship. Understanding what people are interested in is therefore the first step to establish a friendship.
  • Always smile. A genuine smile is a natural way to establish a positive relationship before even speaking a word. Think of a pleasant thought to help you get in the right mood to show a sincere smile. Most times your smile will be returned with another smile, making the other person happy and reinforcing a neural connection between your presence and a sense of happiness.
  • Remember the name. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. When you remember someone’s name it shows them that they are important to you. Use the name of the individual during a discussion to make people feel connected to the task at hand.
  • Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves. The people you talk to are much more interested in themselves than anything else, so if you want to increase their liking to you become an attentive listener and ask questions that they would like to answer, and encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments.
  • Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. Find out what other people are interested in, what excites them, and focus the conversation on those topics. “Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours” – R.W. Emerson
  • Make people feel important. It’s a basic human need and one that goes mostly unsatisfied. People have different ways to seek recognition, if you understand where they look for recognition it you will learn much about their character. Almost all people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, the way to their heart is to sincerely recognize their importance.

How to win people to your way of thinking:

  • Avoid arguments. Even if you win an argument you will have lost the sympathy of your opponent. A misunderstanding is never ended by an argument but by diplomacy, conciliation and a sympathetic desire to see the other person’s viewpoint. When dealing with disagreements: welcome the disagreement as an opportunity to learn, distrust your fist instinct to be defensive, control your temper, listen instead of defending or debating, look for areas of agreement, be honest, promise to think over your opponent’s ideas, thank your opponent for his interest and postpone action to give both sides the time to think though the problem.
  • Never say “You are wrong”. Setting off to prove someone wrong is a lose-lose situation. If you have to prove anything do it subtly, diplomatically, allowing the other person to change his mind while thinking that he had done so on his own and take pride in that. Start out admitting that yourself may be in the wrong, inspiring an open mindset in your opponent, it will make him admit that he also may be wrong. People become attached to their ideas when others attack them, but will find gratification in changing their minds if this urge comes from within. B. Franklin forbade himself all language that is verbally attacking someone’s opinion, be like Franklyn.
  • Admit when you are wrong. If you are the first to admit that you are wrong, the likely response from your opponent will be of magnanimous understanding, since that’s most likely to provide him a boost of self-esteem and a sense of importance. The effect is to turn an adverse outcome to a more favorable one by admitting quickly and emphatically to our mistakes.
  • Be friendly. If you approach a person in a friendly way their natural disposition will be friendly towards you. Their friendly disposition will be valuable when discussing a potential problem, rather than having to deal with a defensive opponent.
  • Get to “Yes” immediately. Begin the discussion on the things you agree on, keep emphasizing that you are both striving for the same end and that you only differ in method and not purpose. Once your opponent has said yes a number of times he will be in a more positive mental disposition to agree to your point.
  • Let others talk. Most people trying to win others do too much talking themselves. Ask questions, let people talk, do not interrupt, pay attention and let them express their ideas fully. Once they have gotten their thoughts out of their heads they will be more open to discuss and debate.
  • Let your ideas germinate in others. We have much more faith in ideas that we discover ourselves than in those handed to us, so it’s important to let others believe that our ideas is of his own creation. To do that we must take others on a path of co-creation, guide them towards the goal without pushing too much and letting them arrive at the same conclusion that we desired all along.
  • Consider the other point of view. Being able to honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view is one of the most valuable interpersonal skills to develop. Understanding why a person thinks and acts the way he does is will reveal much of his personality and will enable you to build a stronger relationship with him. Cooperation in conversation is achieved when you show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own.
  • Be sympathetic. If you were in the other person’s position you would probably feel the same way they do. Remind them of this fact and show sympathy towards their feelings, ideas and desires. Sympathy is a universal currency that people will openly seek by complaining about real or imaginary reasons, give them sympathy and you will gain much equity.
  • Appeal to the nobler motives. Everybody has a high regard for themselves and like to think they are fine and unselfish, but a person usually has two motives, one that sounds good and a real one. In order to change people you can appeal to their nobler motives and let them feel better about themselves by “doing the right thing”, you just need to create the occasion for them to do it.
  • Dramatize your ideas. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship if you want to get attention.
  • Throw down a challenge. People are motivated by a desire to excel, it’s a way to reach a feeling of importance. To motivate someone to take action you can challenge them to succeed and highlight the great importance that they would gain if they did succeed.

How to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment:

  • Begin with praise. When necessary to give a negative feedback first start with “what went well” and then move to “even better if”. This way your listened will have a more open mind and won’t be as defensive
  • Use “and” instead of “but”. Call attention to a mistake indirectly, letting other know that you know but without making it explicit. This will conserve their ego and increase their respect in you. In writing, after praising someone don’t use “but” to call attention to a mistake, instead add a phrase (“and”) to call to a way to improve on the mistake made.
  • Talk about your own mistakes first. Humble yourself before others, make them feel better by noting how your mistakes were far worse than theirs will reframe your message in a more positive way.
  • Don’t give orders, give suggestions. Suggesting actions empowers people and encourages cooperation, with the added benefit of stimulating creativity. Giving suggestions allows others to take credit and feel like a participant to the process.
  • Let the other person save face. Even if we are right and the other person is definitely wrong, we only destroy ego by causing someone to lose face and ensure than any further collaboration will be forever impaired by the humiliation that we caused on him: “Hurting a man in in his dignity is a crime”.
  • Praise every improvement. When criticism is minimized and praise in emphasized the good things that people do will be reinforced and the poorer ones with atrophy for lack of attention. Be specific and sincere in praising the improvement so it doesn’t sound like flattery.
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. To help a person improve in a certain area, act as though that trait is already part of their character and give them a chance to live up to it.
  • Make the fault seem easy to correct. Emphasizing the solution instead of the mistakes. Praise the right things and minimize the errors. Tell them the mistakes are easy fixes, encourage them, let the other person know you have faith in them.
  • Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. Focus on the benefits to the other person, be empathetic by asking yourself what the other person really want while remembering what you need them to do. When you make your request, put it in a form that will convey to the other person the idea that he personally will benefit.