Recently I mentioned Paul Graham’s essay on how to disagree, which described types of disagreement. This post will instead really tell you how to disagree without making enemies, and more generally how to get along well with people.
Here’s a summary of Dale Carnegie’s outstanding book (with the same title as this post), which has been a top-selling communications book for the past 70 years. These techniques don’t sound terribly original or mind-blowing. Instead, they are elegant and straightforward, which makes them easy to remember. I’ll also tell you which principles I think are the most important.
Fundamental techniques in handling people
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Arouse in the other person an eager want.
These ideas lay the groundwork for everything else. The overall focuses of the entire book are:
- Encourage the positive things people do, instead of disparaging the negative.
- Talk about what other people want, instead of what you want.
6 ways to make people like you
- Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Make the other person feel important–and do it sincerely.
The most important points from this group are 1 (be interested in others) and 5 (talk in terms of their interests).
12 ways to win people to your way of thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to the nobler motives.
- Dramatize your ideas.
- Throw down a challenge.
Important points here are 3 (admit your mistakes), 4 (begin friendly), and 8 (step in their shoes).
9 ways to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
- Call attention to other’s mistakes indirectly.
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
- Let the other person save face.
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
The first 5 points here are the most important, although all of these ones are important.
Best of luck to you in applying these principles to your own life!