How to Win Friends and Influence People

What a great book. I
learned a ton about people and how I can influence them. Here are 10 things I
learned that I’m applying to my life.

I’m learning to:

1. Praise sincerely and abundantly. People are more motivated to do something if someone notices and praises them for what they’ve done. I’m going to find the good things in people’s actions, thoughts, and ideas and let them know.

2. Stop criticizing others. Ignoring undesired behavior is often enough to make it stop; actions that don’t receive praise or attention tend to go away. I’m not going to criticize others’ thoughts, ideas, or behavior unless absolutely necessary, but if it is necessary…

3. Criticize myself first. If I absolutely must criticize someone (see #2), I will criticize myself first. I’ll talk about my own faults and missteps, then gently criticize what they’ve done wrong in a way that makes it seem easy to correct their behavior.

4. Give people my full attention. I will listen when someone’s talking to me, give them eye contact, ask good questions, and show that I’m interested. They’ll be a lot happier to do what I want if they know I like them enough to listen to their ideas, their thoughts, and their side of the story.

5. Give people a reason to want to do what I want. If I want somebody to do something, it’s a lot easier to get them to want to do it than to command or force them to do it. I’ve found that this is especially true with my son – when I want him to wash his hands, he does a much better job and actually enjoys it when I tell him we can go play outside after we wash them. He wants to wash his hands if it means playing outside afterwards.

6. Get people to start saying yes. If they start saying yes, they’re more likely to keep saying yes. Newton’s first law applies to behavior as well as physics.

7. Stop arguing. Don’t do it. Ever. No argument will ever change anyone’s mind; therefore, arguing is not an effective way to get someone to do what I want. If I want to change someone’s mind, it’s better to listen to their side, agree with them (even if they’re wrong), and allow them (help them) come to the conclusion I want. Arguing is harmful and unnecessary.

8. Be sympathetic. Listen to the other person’s problems. If I get a nasty email about how terrible my app is, I will respond by agreeing with them. After all, they’re right about something (the app probably doesn’t do what they want). It’s best to agree with them and then gently explain why it is the way it is. Sympathy makes us more human, and it’s a good way to get on someone’s good side.

9. Give people a good reputation to live up to. They will. Most people want to be honest, hard-working, smart, or good at what they do. If I want them to do something, I can explain to them how they’re really good at it (much better than I am) and give them specific, honest praise about their skills in it.

10. Let people think ideas are their own, even if they’re not. I’ll present my ideas by asking questions and allowing the other person to come to the same conclusion I’ve come to so they can think the idea is their own. If someone thinks an idea is their own, they’ll be much more likely to want to go through with it.

Have you read any good books lately?