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Dale Carnegie

How to Make Friends and Influence People

When dealing with people, remember you are not dealing with creatures of logic, but creatures of emotion. 

–– Dale Carnegie

When I’m working with a group of leaders and someone asks for book recommendations, one of my first choices will be the classic, How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie. Most people recognize this book and author.
However, when I ask when Carnegie wrote this landmark book, guesses vary widely, mostly settling in the 1960s. People are shocked to learn that the first edition actually was published in 1936!
Carnegie, who became a famous writer, trainer, and lecturer, was far ahead of his time in unearthing the principles of influence. What Carnegie wrote instinctively more than eight decades ago has since been scientifically verified by researchers, including Dr. Robert Cialdini in his book Influence: the Psychology of Persuasion.
Let me share the core ideas of Carnegie's great book, with the hope that you’ll pick it up and learn more. In his well-organized volume, Carnegie uses many stories from real people in history to illustrate his points, which makes it an interesting read. 
Carnegie’s central idea is that we can influence others with the simple act of showing respect and appreciation. 
Carnegie quotes John Dewey, who said that “the deepest desire in human nature is ‘the desire to be important.’” The book talks a lot about how people want to be appreciated – and how we can meet that need. It’s a universal longing for humans. Everyone wants to feel appreciated, encouraged, heard, and understood.
Here’s a bit more detail on three of his core principles:
1. Show appreciation
Carnegie credits appreciation as “one of the most neglected virtues of our daily existence.” Since we tend to focus on ourselves, we often forget to encourage and compliment our coworkers, children, spouses, or others we might meet on our daily journeys. 
He tells the story of a boy named Stevie Morris who lived in Detroit. One day, a teacher asked him to help her find a mouse that had been lost in the classroom. The teacher appreciated Stevie’s strong sense of hearing because the boy was blind.
It was the first time in this young man’s life that someone had shown appreciation for a talent he had. He now says “this act of appreciation was the beginning of a new life.” The boy had kept developing his keen sense of hearing and went on to become one of the world’s most famous singers – Stevie Wonder.
Carnegie urges us not to use false flattery, but to observe the talents and attributes of others and bring them to the light with an honest compliment. As a constant traveler, I can’t tell you how many upgrades in flights, hotels, and other services I’ve had by simply observing and giving honest compliments to people who suffer negative feedback all day long. 
2. Show interest in other people
It’s human nature for us to want to talk about ourselves. Some people think that the secret to winning friends is to make themselves interesting to others. But that’s not Carnegie’s path to making friends. 
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you,” Carnegie writes. You gain trust and respect from people when you show interest in them! 
President Theodore Roosevelt was known for his popularity among the people, especially those who served him. His valet wrote an entire book about how Roosevelt would always remember little things about the people around him. Roosevelt knew the names of the entire White House staff, including the kitchen staff.
3. Begin in a friendly way
If you want to win someone over to your way of thinking, it’s important to start things off in a friendly manner. If you jump straight to business or start criticizing or accusing, it puts the other person on the defensive. If you’re perceptive, you can feel a wall go up between you.  
Carnegie tells a story about a man who wanted to reduce his rent. Mr. Straub wanted to stay in his apartment, but couldn’t afford it. He’d heard that the landlord was mean and unwilling to budge on price. 
The landlord came to meet with him after Mr. Straub sent him a letter, telling him he couldn’t afford another year of rent. Straub started off by telling the landlord how much he loved the apartment and how well everything was run. The landlord was shocked because he’d never had such high praise from a tenant before! Without Mr. Straub saying anything, the landlord offered to reduce the price of rent. 
As Abraham Lincoln said, “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.” 
Overall, Carnegie’s real message is to treat others with interest, kindness, and respect. 
This simple credo will take you a long way. It’s not a gimmick or a fast fix, but rather a way of life.

Best wishes for the holidays,


P.S. –– To talk with me, please use my contact page.

How to be More Persuasive

“Arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
--Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie’s classic book quoted above was written in 1936 and gave great advice still relevant today. His intuitive insights into human beings effectively explored the art of persuading people. Carnegie’s wisdom has since been confirmed by researchers who have documented the science of persuasion.

Leading that charge is Dr. Robert Cialdini, a professor at Arizona State University and author of the seminal book, INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion, and other books codifying the science of influence.
Why should you care about persuasion?
Because any results in our lives come from our relationships with others.
My friend Brian Ahearn, who is one of only 20 people in the world certified by Dr. Cialdini to teach his method of persuasion, says our ability to influence others is central to our lives.
“Persuasion is more than changing minds and hearts, it’s about changing behavior,” Brian says. “Whether you want someone to buy from you, approve your project, get a promotion, or just get your kids to do their homework, persuasion is a skill that can help you accomplish your goals.”
In To Sell is Human author Daniel Pink cited information from a survey of more than 7,000 business people when he wrote, “People are now spending about 40% of their time at work engaged in non-sales selling – persuading, influencing, and convincing others in ways that don’t involve anyone making a purchase.”
This means that most of us, in non-sales roles, spend up to three hours a day trying to influence others; and that’s work-related. You might spend an equal amount of time in your personal life trying to influence the decisions and behavior of your kids and other family members.
Dr. Cialdini’s persuasive method makes a distinction between ethical influence and manipulation. As Brian says, “When you use ethical influence you can succeed now and build a long-term relationship.”
I can’t do Dr. Cialdini’s body of work justice in one newsletter, but here’s an overview of his principles of influence. I’ve studied, taught and used these principles of influence and firmly believe they will help you in your work and your life:
Principle #1: Reciprocity
We feel indebted to those who do something for us or give us something, no matter how small.
You’ll notice that when you’re ready to negotiate buying a new car, you’ll be offered a bottle of water or soda and a snack. This is where the sense of obligation begins. Whether you realize it or not, you’ll be looking for a way to repay this simple kindness. The research confirms what the car dealer hopes: you’ll be much more likely to say “yes” when the time comes.
Principle #2: Scarcity
We want more of those things there are less of.
This is why people buy “limited editions,” try to be one of the “first 20 callers” who receive a bonus, and camp out overnight for the new IPhone. I always smirk when I hear the urgent “this is a limited time offer!” Yes, until the next limited time offer. ;-)
What scarcity teaches us, Cialdini points out, is that we not only have to sell the benefits of our proposal and what’s unique but also what people stand to lose by not taking advantage of our offer.
Principle #3: Authority
We respect authority. We follow the lead of those we perceive as credible, knowledgeable experts.
The research found that psychical therapists who displayed their degrees in their offices were more likely to gain compliance from patients for their exercise therapy programs.
The science shows it’s important to send signals demonstrating our knowledge and credibility before we make the attempt to influence. The research says those signals are strongest when they come from third parties, such as testimonials of people who know you, even those who work for you.
In one example, the researchers had the receptionist answering the phone in a real estate office build up the credentials of the agent before transferring a call, such as “Mary has more than 20 years of experience selling local homes. I’ll connect you with her now.” They found this increased appointments by 20% and signed contracts by 15%.”
Principle #4: Consistency
When we like to stay consistent with the commitment we have made.  
Finding and asking for small initial commitments from people can activate this principle. For instance, Cialdini cites one study in which people declined to put a large “Drive Safely” sign in front of their house. However, the researchers found that people who agreed to put a small “Drive Safely” postcard in their window 10 days earlier were four times more likely to accept the placement of the sign.
Cialdini says the key is to ask people for voluntary, active and public commitments, especially in writing. You already have seen the living example of this during the U.S. presidential election. Those who early on and publicly committed to a candidate are highly unlikely to change their mind, regardless of whether they disagreed with the subsequent words, actions or behaviors of their candidates. They remained consistent in their commitment.
Principle #5: Liking
We like to be involved with and do business with people we like. But what makes us like people?
Cialdini’s research finds three important factors. We like people who are similar to us, who pay us compliments and who cooperate with us toward mutual goals.
His research with graduate students from two major business schools found that in negotiations, building rapport greatly increased the likelihood of an agreement. Negotiators who were told “time is money” and to get straight to business reached agreement about 55% of the time, while those who took the time to share personal information and find similarities reached an agreement 90% of the time.
The lesson is to offer sincere compliments and find areas of similarity before attempting to influence.
Principle #6: Consensus
We are social animals. When we’re not certain what we should do, we will look to the actions of others to determine our own.
This is why, when you are ready to purchase a product from Amazon, you’ll see those other offers: “People who bought that CD also bought these headphones and this coffee.”
They know what you like…and they know what people like you like. 
I urge you to learn more about how to persuade others in an ethical way. Developing the skill of personal influence will positively change your life in every way.

Additional Resources:
INFLUENCE: The Psychology of Persuasion by Dr. Robert Cialdini* 
How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie*
To Sell is Human by Daniel Pink*
* Amazon affiliate link

Check out the videos and blog of my friend Brian Ahearn at

Photo by Malvestida Magazine on Unsplash