A Book that Changed My Life: How to Win Friends and Influence People

August 26, 2019

For those of you who don’t know, I am an introvert. I do enjoy socializing and meeting new people, but my favorite way to spend my time is being with my family, at home. As a child, I was very shy, and making friends was scary for me. I moved every year to two years throughout my childhood, so this was something I was forced to work on. As an older chid and teenager, I found a resource that helped me tremendously. This was the book How to Win Friends and Influence People. This book gave me tools to enter social situations with more confidence, build friendships, and later grow to be a more professional business owner.

Below I’m sharing a few fundamentals from the book. I hope you find them helpful!

Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
  1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain. Nobody likes being around people who are constantly critical and complaining. Also criticizing someone’s behavior, condemning their choices, or complaining about them usually causes the person to become defensive. There are far more effective ways to deal with issues than to use these three c’s. 
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation. This is one of the most powerful relationship tools in the world. Everyone wants to be valued and appreciated. If you sincerely, honestly appreciate them and what they are doing, they’ll like being around you because they feel valued and seen. 
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want. Their number one question is often: What’s in it for me? Answering this question for them is the biggest key to influencing people + their behavior. 
Six Ways to Make People Like You
  1. Become genuinely interested in other people. Have you ever shared a story about your life with someone, only to have them immediately dive into a story from their own life, without even acknowledging what you said? This can be a huge turn off to people. Show genuine interest by asking questions and being an active listener. 
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. I’ve found that even the most quiet person has a topic that they can talk about for hours. Find what their passion is and ask them questions about it. This is a surefire way to have a good conversation with almost anyone. 
  6. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
Win People to Your Way of Thinking
  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. Is the argument worth the frustration and stress? Will it make a difference or change the other person’s mind? If not, it’s sometimes not worth it. Also remember – not everyone is going to sincerely share in your happiness. Be respectful of them, but also don’t let them impact your happiness.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions.
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. Although it doesn’t feel like it in the moment, this leaves a much better impression and will earn respect.
  4. Begin in a friendly way. Even if we are upset, we must be friendly and respectful if we want to influence their way of thinking.
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately. To do this, start with asking them questions that they’ll answer yes to.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that 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 the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.
Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to the people’s mistakes indirectly. I don’t think the author means “be unclear and vague and wishy washy.” I think he actually means don’t be a jerk, and don’t make them feel stupid. Don’t make it front and center and draw loads of attention to it. Instead, be gentle and courteous. 
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. This technique makes it easy for the person to correct their error. It makes them want to co-operate instead of rebel. For example, say “You might consider this” or “Do you think that could work?” or ask for feedback, such as “What do you think of this?”.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise improvement.
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. A huge part of this is being motivated + happy to do it yourself.

I hope you found these tips helpful! I’ve used them to successfully navigate social situations with friends and in the workplace. If you found them helpful, I highly recommend reading the full book. You can find my affiliate link to purchase it here.