How to Win Friends and Influence People
Condensed from the book
For nearly four decades, millions of people around the globe have used this handbook to improve their ability to get along with others. Its message is as timely as ever…
To learn how to win friends study the technique of the greatest winner of friends the world has ever known. You may meet him tomorrow coming down the street. When you get within ten feet of him, he will begin to wag his tail. If you stop and pat him, he will almost jump out of his skin to show you how much he likes you. A dog makes friends by being genuinely interested in people, not by trying to get people interested in him.
Yet people blunter through life trying to wigwag others into becoming interested in them. It doesn’t work, because people are not interested in you. They are interested in themselves. (When you see a group photograph that you are in, whose picture do you look for first?)
You want approval, recognition of your true worth. You want to feel that you are important. You crave sincere appreciation, not cheap, insincere flattery. So treat others as you would have them treat you.
Where should you begin applying the magic touchstone of appreciation? I know of no place where appreciation is more needed – or more neglected – than in the home.
We nourish the bodies of our children, but how seldom we nourish their self-esteem. We provide them with beef and potatoes, but neglect to give them kind words that would sing in their memories for years. Your spouse has some good points, too, but how long has it been since you expressed your admiration? Do it! And bring a smile in addition, and some warm words of affection.
Florenz Ziegfeld, the most spectacular entrepreneur who ever dazzled Broadway, knew the value of making people feel important and appreciated. He made women feel beautiful by the sheer power of his gallantry and consideration. He was practical: He raised the salary of chorus girls from $30 to $175 a week. And he was chivalrous: On opening night, he deluged every chorus girl with American Beauty roses.
All of us can use the philosophy of appreciation of the other fellow. You can work magic almost every day with little phrases: “I’m sorry to trouble you,” “Would you be so kind as to …”
At a party once, I found myself talking with a botanist. I sat fascinated while he spoke of Luther Burbank and told me astonishing facts about the humble tomato. After I said good-night, the botanist turned to our host, paid me several compliments and ended by saying I was a “most interesting conversationalist.”
An interesting conversationalist? I had said hardly anything. But I had listened intently because I was genuinely interested, and he felt it.
Another bit of advice about the fine art of human relations came from Henry Ford: “If there is any once secret of success,” he said, “it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from his angle as well as your own.” That is so obvious that anyone ought to see the truth of it at a glance; yet 90 percent of the people ignore it 90 percent of the time.
I am very fond of strawberries and cream, but I know that fish prefer worms. So when I go fishing, I think about what the fish want. It is childish to talk about what we want. The only way to influence the other fellow is to talk about he wants and show him how to get it.
But when you have good idea, instead of making the other person think it is yours, why not let him cook and stir the idea himself? Don’t you have more faith in ideas that you discover than in those that are handed to you on a silver platter?
Some years ago, I was planning to go fishing in New Brunswick and wrote the tourist bureau for information. I was soon bewildered by scores of letters and booklets from camps and guides. Then one camp owner sent me the names of several New Yorkers he had served and invited me to call them to discover for myself what he had to offer.
I happened to know one of the men on his list. I telephoned him, found our what his experiences had been and then wired the camp the date of my arrival. The others had been trying to sell me on their service, but one chap let me sell myself.
Arguments, and particularly unnecessary arguments, are a sure way to dissipate goodwill. As a young man I learned this lesson one night at a banquet. The man next to me told a humorous story which hinged on a quotation. He mentioned that the quotation was from the Bible. I knew it was from Shakespeare and appointed myself a committee of one to correct him. He stuck to his guns.
An old friend of mine, who had devoted years to the study of Shakespeare, was also at the table. The storyteller and I agreed to submit the question to my friend, who listened, kicked me under the table and said, “Dale, you are wrong. It is from the Bible.”
Later, I told my friend I was certain he knew the quotation was from Shakespeare. “Yes, of course,” he replied. “But we were guests at a festive occasion. Why prove to a man he is wrong? Is that going to make him like you?”
Since then, having watched the effects of thousands of arguments, I conclude that there is only one way to get the best of an argument: avoid it. Even if you win it, you lose it. Why? You may feel fine, but you have made other man feel inferior, and he will resent you.
In talking with people, begin by emphasizing the things on which you agree. Get the other person saying, “yes, yes,” at the onset. Keep him, if possible, from saying “No,”
Socrates, “the gadfly of Athens,” was one of the wisest persuaders who ever influenced this wrangling world. His technique was based upon getting a “yes” response. He asked questions with which his opponent would have to agree. He kept on winning one admission after another until he had an armful of yeses. Finally, almost without realizing it, his opponent found himself embracing a conclusion that he would have denied bitterly a few minutes previously. The next time you are smarting to tell a man he is wrong, remember Socrates and ask a gentle question – one that will get the “yes” response.
Perhaps the most fundamental lesson of all comes from Aesop’s fable about the sun and the wind quarrelling over which one was the stronger. The wind said, “I’ll prove I am. See that old man wearing a coat? I bet I can make him take his coat off quicker than you can.”
So the wind blew until it was almost tornado, but the harder it blew, the tighter the old man wrapped his coat about him.
Finally, the wind gave up, and the sun came from behind the cloud and smiled kindly on the old man. Presently, he mopped his brow and pulled off his coat. The sun then told the wind that gentleness and friendliness are always stronger than fury and force.
And so it is today. The sun can make you take off your coat more quickly than the wind; and kindliness, the friendly approach and appreciation can make people change their minds more readily than all the bluster and storming on earth.
Reader’s DigestSeptember 1976
Special thanks to Mr David Madhavan,
who had introduced me to myself.
Pusat Matrikulasi Kolej Negeri
Seremban, Negeri Sembilan