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The library of essays of Proakatemia

Putting others first – skills needed in business and other life situations



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How to win friends and influence people

by Dale Carnagie

Milja Laakso

 

Dale Carnagie’s book ”How to Win Friends and Influence People” is in an odd way touching a topic that is pretty current. I could not have guessed that the original book was written many years ago and how the same points Carnagie wrote about originally then can still be (and should be) applied today.

 

In general, my main thoughts about the book first off, was that the things stated were pretty self-explanatory. Meaning that I felt like Carnagie was simply just telling us the obvious with some quite good real-life examples and situations. Somehow I feel when reading these instructive and educational books that the points and lessons learnt while reading is just getting deeper understanding of a thing that you might already have known before.

 

The main feeling I got after reading ”How to Win Friends and Influence People” was quite positive. Understanding others and handling social situations with other people keeping their feelings in mind is a very good skill to attain. With some of Carnagie’s examples and points I could reflect some things I personally do (or at least try to do) myself. Mostly I found that I do a lot of things that Carnagie pointed out in points on how to make people like you. I tend to smile a lot, I genuinely am interested in other people, I have been told I am a good listener and ask a lot of questions. I talk a lot about other people’s interests. However, I think I have a bit of learning to do when it comes to remembering names and making the other person feel important during a discussion. I would like to pay more attention to the other, but I usually get very excited and tend to talk a bit too much. I probably should calm down and ask more questions when getting to know new people.

 

Carnagie has the right ways of explaining, for instance, basic ways of how to handle people. The points in the book can be applied in any situation and I personally feel they can be applied with any type of person as well. Things such as not immediately criticizing or complaining, honestly appreciating others and understanding to place yourself in other’s position will help you overcome any possible “hard” situation. People are pretty simple and these three points are not hard to do. You can never win an argument if you immediately are rude and criticize, if you do not appreciate the other person’s feelings and if you don’t even want to understand the other perspective.

 

Earlier I stated that I felt that the book touches a current topic. For me, at least. I think I can immediately apply the points I read to situations at school, at work, at home and even with friends. Getting to know new people and keeping some of the things I learnt in mind might truly help some social situations.

 

The other points in the book were points that can be implemented more in work and business related situations as well as possible teamwork situations. Getting people to think the way you do and being a good leader are not things everyone knows and cannot be skills that can be taken for granted. The points Carnagie has in his book will stick with me and I will try and keep them in mind in the future.

 

The best advice I learnt when reading about “How to Make Others Think the Way You Do” was that the best argument is to avoid one completely. Arguing simply hurts feelings and does not help any situation become better. Respecting other’s feelings is key again. Situations can’t be resolved by pointing out other’s wrongs straight forward. You should never say that someone is wrong, even if you know they are. Try and make them understand their mistake in a manner when feelings don’t get hurt. (It is easy – just ask questions and stay calm). Be kind and concentrate on points you agree on. If you do make a mistake yourself admit to it quickly, denying it or defending yourself will not help in the long run. Also remembering to be sympathetic, giving others credit and letting others talk more will make them trust what you have to say and respect you in a different way. With these points in mind you will have people wanting to agree with you and they will keep your side. This was a part of the book that was new to me and made me think about some situations I have had in team building and learning sessions, especially when talking about a topic that might touch some different perspectives. These points will also help me in different work related situations for sure.

 

Some of the points Carnagie wrote about when explaining how to be a good leader were already known to me. For example, begin with praise is something I learnt through the “hamburger” constructive criticism method where you first talk about the good things before pointing out the bad. Also talking about your own mistakes first is something I use when giving constructive criticism and that is how I would like to hear it as well. Encouragement, praise and asking questions – not giving orders are new things I will from now on keep in mind and will use in the future.

 

Somehow while reading I also compared some points with today’s influencer culture. This might possibly be because of the title having the word “influence” in it, but still I did some thinking and comparing. I did see a difference between good and bad influencers. I personally follow mainly people who have an influence in visuals and photography, lifestyle and style related things. I pick the people I follow and trust with of some points also stated in Carnagie’s book. I trust influencers who are genuine and honest. Those who don’t only talk about themselves and are humble. Those who genuinely want to interact with their followers and know them as best as they can. Basically the things Carnagie listed on how to make people like you. This to me was pretty interesting and I hadn’t really thought about it before.

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