Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” has been heralded as a masterpiece by almost everyone who has put his or her hands on it. And you know what? It is. Although the tips put in the book are referred to as being common sense. It is good to know that the most genius books are based on “common sense” concepts. And as Voltaire said: Common sense is not so common. Here are 6 key concepts from Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece:
- Do not criticize
Giving people your honest opinion about something is different than criticizing. Stop being the person that only criticizes people and never realizes that everything starts with self rather than the people around you. Nobody wants be around a person that only criticizes and puts forth negative energy. This is a very hard concept to grasp, as we have been force fed the concept of being real and equalizing this to being a criticizing parrot.
- Give honest appreciation
Too many people resort to flattery rather than honest appreciation. One amazing Italian proverb that I love even though I am not Italian is: He that flatters you more than you desire either has deceived you or wishes to deceive. It is just very simple if you are dishonest in your appreciation, it can be sensed and always begs the question: What does this person want from me?
It is hard to distinguish between the two, but a rule of thumb for yourself: NEVER compliment someone just to compliment, but compliment someone because you really appreciate that aspect of their character or appearance.
- Be a good listener
Are you a good listener? Really ask yourself this question and be critical. I catch myself not listening to people sometimes and it really degrades the conversation to a monologue and topic diverters. Whenever you have your next conversation: Don’t talk and really listen. What is this person saying? How can I contribute? Dissect what the person is saying. It will be hard if you are just starting out, but at some point it will become second nature. You will find out more by listening than by talking.
- Show respect
Although this is considered “common sense”, there is etiquette in conversation. Everybody wants to be a bad ass that does not care about anything, and basically does not give a fuck. It is everywhere now. And it is ridiculous. Show respect to people and if they do not show it back, do not resort to unnecessary name calling and move on. There are 7 billion people in the world, just in case the person you were talking to feels irreplaceable.
- Questions, not commands
There is nothing worse than someone screaming commands like they are some Greek god descended from the heavens. Create a situation where you ask questions rather than commanding. Instead of “Go create some content”, this might be more appropriate: “Can you create some content?”
Although “please” can get you places, it is not really necessary in the realm of getting stuff done.
- Become genuinely interested
I can already hear it, people screaming: But how can you become interested?
Simple, go do some research and see what people’s interests are about. Seriously, there are so many different interests and many of them have similarities. Many business people admire the work ethic of entrepreneurs and many entrepreneurs admire the work ethic of rap artists. So what’s the common trait? Work ethic. There are so many topics you can cover, but the main point is that there is always something interesting about each passion, interest and hobby. Be open-minded.
At the end of the trip, it is all about really listening and being self-aware. If you truly know yourself, you know how you want to be treated. So you will show respect, listen, and show honest appreciation. These key concepts are not only about improving your communication, but these concepts are key to leading people.