Be interested in people!
In this article, we will summarise the principles of Part Two – Six Ways to Make People Like You – of Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends & Influence People” *. Have you started reading it yet?
All of us like to be liked. Even one person not liking us, can affect how we view ourselves.
Principle 1 – Be genuinely interested in other people.
Carnegie talks about Tippy, the puppy his father bought him when he was five years old. Tippy loved him unconditionally, and came running to greet him each afternoon when he arrived home. Tippy was loyal, and had no agenda apart from wanting to be with Carnegie.
The easiest way to be genuinely interested in other people is to show interest in them. Ask about them. Know what makes them tick; know what is important to them, and ask them about their interests.
Carnegie quotes Alfred Adler who, in What Life Should Mean to You, wrote:
It is the individual who is not interested in his fellow men who has the greatest difficulties in life and provides the greatest injury to others. It is from among such individuals that all human failures spring.
This is a thought-provoking statement. As I think about people I know, I see its truth. Some who believe life owes them a living, do have the greatest difficulties and injure others greatly. Others who want to contribute, help others and are far happier than those who put themselves first, middle and last.
If you want to be interesting, be interested in others.
Something to think about.
Principle 2 – Smile!
How often do we love to be greeted with a smile? We instinctively smile in return.
Should we consider our smile an item of clothing, as preparation for our day?
I have read that it takes fewer facial muscles to smile than to frown. And frowns leave lines on our faces.
What does a genuine smile say to another person? I’m glad to meet you. I’m happy to see you. I’m looking forward to spending time with you.
Remember too that a smile is heard in the voice. A voice can be strictly business, condemning and cold … or it can be warm, lively and joyful. Many large businesses train and encourage their staff to speak on the phone “with a smile”.
A sage once said, “A happy heart is good medicine and a joyful mind causes healing, but a broken spirit dries up the bones.” **
Carnegie cites a Chinese proverb – “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”
In short, a smile and good attitude are excellent for our health. And our work life. And those we love most.
Principle 3 – Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
We all know how special we feel when someone makes the effort to remember and use our name.
So, let’s put it into practice. We all remember names differently: whether by word association, seeing the name on paper, or whatever works for you.
Calling someone by their name indicates that we care more about them than ourselves, and we recognise them as a person worthy of attention. Our name is our identity! It sets us apart from those around us.
Conduct an experiment. Next time you are in the supermarket, shop or business, call the staff member who is serving you by their name. Ask about their day. Not only will it be special for them, it will make the day more pleasant.
Principle 4 – Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
Listening intently to another person – without distraction or thinking of an appropriate response – is what makes a person feel listened to and valued.
In the business or shopfront context, Carnegie writes: Yet I know and you know department store owners who will rent expensive space, buy their goods economically, dress their windows appealingly, spend thousands of dollars in advertising and then hire clerks who haven’t the sense to be good listeners – clerks who interrupt customers, contradict them, irritate them, and all but drive them from the store.
Ensure your business is not like this. Be the example and train your staff to listen to customers.
Principle 5 – Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
People will be interested in you because you are interested in them.
US President Theodore Roosevelt was known for his knowledge over a wide range of topics.
He gained that knowledge by researching the interests of those he met. He stayed up late the night before his visitor was due, to read up on whatever subject he knew his visitor was particularly interested in.
This resulted in memorable conversations for both the President and his guest.
Principle 6 – Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
The statesman Disraeli said, “Talk to other people about themselves, and they will listen for hours.”
Interest, admiration and listening intently to the other person – for the purpose of getting to know them – will yield dividends. Because the other person feels appreciated and valued, they will be more open to you. Their perception will be that you are likeable.
Looking at these six principles, how do you rate yourself? I encourage you to put them into practice and see the changes which result.
Please comment below.
*Carnegie, D. How to win friends and influence people. William Collins Publishers: North Ryde. 1989, pp. 81-142