Carnegie’s effective approach to human relations

Dale Carnegie, originally a poor Missouri farm boy who, after excelling in a sales career, started the renowned Dale Carnegie Course in 1912, which was designed to develop better people, communication, and leadership skills in the workplace.

In 1936, he published his signature book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  Both the course and book are still popular tools in developing soft skills employers want from their employees.  The Dale Carnegie Course will become an official part of the business curriculum at MTSU this year.

My column this week will focus on Carnegie’s effective approach to human relations.  I will concentrate on the principles enunciated in his book.

There are three basic techniques in handling people?  First, try to understand people instead of condemning them; this will breed sympathy, tolerance, and kindness.  Second, the only way to get anybody to do anything is to make the other person want to do it; make the other person feel appreciated through compliments, not criticism.  Third, Carnegie said the most important thing in his book is to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view and see things from his or her angle if you wish to influence him or her.

There are six ways to make people like you.  First, become genuinely interested in other people.  You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in them than you can in two years by trying to get them interested in you.  Second, practice smiling; a smile says “I like you, you make me happy, I am glad to see you.”  After all, why do we like dogs so much?  Third, remember people’s names; it makes them feel important.  Fourth, be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves.  Fifth, talk in terms of the other person’s interest.  Sixth, make the other person feel important; think that in some way everyone you meet is your superior and that you can learn from him or her.

There are 12 rules to win people to your way of thinking.  They are:  (1) the only way to get the best at an argument is to avoid it (to win an argument makes the other person feel inferior); (2) show respect for others’ opinions and never tell them they’re wrong; (3) if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically; (4) begin in a friendly way when confronting an angry person; (5) get other persons saying “yes” immediately and if possible keep them from saying “no”; (6) let the other person do a great deal of the talking; (7) let the other person feel the idea is his or hers; (8) try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view; (9) be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires; (10) appeal to another’s nobler or best motives; (11) dramatize your ideas – e.g., power point, animation, attention grabbers; (12) throw down a challenge for the other person to excel and feel good.

There are nine ways to change people without causing resentment.  They are: (1) begin with praise and honest appreciation; (2) call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly – e.g., praise something first before suggesting an alternative; (3) talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person; (4) ask questions instead of giving direct orders; (5) let the other person save face if you have to win an issue; (6) praise the slightest improvement; (7) give others a fine reputation to live up to; tell them you know they can do their best; (8) encourage and make the fault seem easy to correct; (9) make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.