Kill them with kindness
How to Win Friends and Influence People
I read Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People. I found the book to have many similar themes that I had been thinking of as of lately already, yet I discovered new viewpoints and captivating new ideas. The book was unusually interesting to read and I barely was able to put it down at times.
I, as we all today, have heard and read so many discussions, rants and posts about the negativity in today’s world and especially the online communities we all belong to. Negativity, hate comments, jealousy, rumors and other issues like these have been a controversial topic for a while. Almost every day I see and influencer’s post on one of the social media platforms about these issues.
In addition to the online communities, I have been reflecting on the effects of simple, friendly gestures and words in face to face interactions between us humans. I have noticed that an enjoyable, personal and genuine customer service situation has a huge impact on the state of my mind and my thoughts, both in the case where I’m the customer and in the case where I’m the customer servant. So do the unpleasant ones.
Lastly, a couple of months ago, I noticed a slight issue in my family and the way we communicate with each other. My parents had had an argument. I don’t know what it had been about, but I could clearly see that my mom was upset with my dad. Later I heard my mom speaking quite sharply to my little brother for no apparent reason, other than the fact that she was already annoyed by something else. After this, my brother was snappy and mean to me, when I tried talking to him.
Normally, in this situation I would have then been annoyed and continued to spread this cycle of being mean when I would have talked to my boyfriend. But this time, I stopped. I thought of the situation and saw the problem. I wanted to be the person to put a stop to this, so I calmed myself before I spoke to anyone. During that day, even when my mom or my brother or my dad where being snappy, I took a deep breath and tried to be as calm, friendly and kind to all of them. I felt much better.
All these three things I just listed, online communities, customer service situations and the way my family talks to each other, are human interactions, communication between us human beings. They have had me thinking, reflecting and coming to the conclusion, that something needs to change to make all the negativity, hate, viciousness and so on stop.
I know that I alone cannot change the entire world by myself. I know that I alone cannot eliminate hate comments or rumors on Instagram. I know that I alone cannot change the minds of all customer servants and all customers. I know that I alone cannot even transform the way my family communicates. But Gandhi once said, “be the change you want to see in the world”. Even if I alone cannot change everything, I can do my part and hopefully also convince others to do their part.
A few weeks ago, before I started reading How to Win Friends and Influence People, I started a list in my journal. The list is titled “things I want to do more of”. On my list I have items such as “thank the bus driver”, “take responsibility for my own mistakes and apologize, rather than blaming a co-worker, the weather or anything else”, “say hello to my neighbors, promoters and other people I face during the day”, “say out loud the things I appreciate and admire about people around me” and “ask, listen and be genuinely interested in other people”.
These are all similar themes that Carnegie lists in his book. The book has 30 principles to carry out in human relationships and interactions in order to win friends and in order to influence people. Carnegie explains through various examples and stories how to generally have more pleasant human interactions. His example stories also show that in many of the cases, the more pleasant interaction also ensures the desired outcome rather than an interaction that includes yelling, blaming and other unpleasant ways to communicate.
Carnegie points out many cases where sincere praise, genuine interest in the other person and making the other person feel important has gotten far better results in changing another human’s actions than criticizing, condemning and complaining ever has gotten. He mentions cases where this worked in politics, family relations, the business world and customer servant situations.
After reading this book I’m going to do everything I possibly can to learn all the 30 principles by heart and to apply them in my everyday life communications, whether it be personal or business related. I want to do my part to make the online communities more positive and supportive and I want to help others grow in these communities. I want to do my part to make customer service situations more pleasant, regardless of which role I am in. I want to do my part to changing the way my family and people around me communicate with each other to a more kind, happy direction.
I am also going to utilize these principles in my business and work. I am going to utilize these principles in selling. I am going to do my best to utilize them in every business situation I come across. And I think you should too. Since businesses consist of human beings, every business encounter is just a human communicating with another.
Carnegie, D. 2006. How to Win Friends and Influence People. 3rd edition.Vermilion.