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How To Win Friends and Influence People

Handling People

Don't Criticize, Condemn, or Complain #

If you want to gather honey, don't kick over the beehive.

People never criticize others, since criticism itself always puts them on the defensive. It hurts their pride and sense of importance and makes them resentful. Correcting and condemning others usually evokes the same reaction - they simply justify themselves without change (also known as the Backfire Effect).

It's because as rational as we think we are, at their core humans are creatures of emotion, prejudice, pride, and vanity. That's why criticism stings, regardless of if it's warranted.

Sharp criticism and rebukes shut another down instead of getting them to listen, so don't do it.

Remember that under another's circumstances we would likely do the same thing, so unfair criticism isn't warranted anyway. Instead, focus on improving yourself before trying to improve others. Show understanding, self-control, and forgiveness. Framing criticism in a positive light, and from the other's perspective for how it benefits them, is more productive.

Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation #

The only way to get someone to do something is to make them want to do it. You make someone want to do something by giving them something they want in return. The thing we can give others that they always want is the desire to be important and appreciated.

I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement.

Much of a person's character and identity is determined by how they get their feeling of importance. People crave appreciation the same way they crave food.

Remember the difference between flattery and appreciation - flattery is insincere and deceitful, from the teeth and not the heart. Appreciation is honest, sincere, and based on actual feelings. Flattery is telling others precisely what they already think of themselves. Appreciation comes from thinking of someone's genuine good points we enjoy and sharing it with them.

Leave along trails of gratitude when around new people. Remember every person you meet is superior in at least one way, and appreciate what they are while learning from them.

Arouse an Eager Want in Others #

Don't think about what you want, think about what others want and show them how to get it. This works because people are instinctually only interested in what they want.

Giving charitably is good, but also not an exception to this rule - wanting to feel good about giving was simply greater than wanting to keep one's money.

  1. Arouse in others an eager want
  2. Show them how to get what they want

The first question to ask is "how do I make someone want to do this?"

This can be done through showing an infectious enthusiasm for an activity so another wants to do it as well. It can be an activity as part of a larger goal of persuasion, like the book's example of parent's showing enthusiasm for finger-painting (and other activities) to make their child want to attend kindergarten.

Another is simply looking at the situation from the other's perspective and showing them the pros and cons of how one decision ultimately benefits them more.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.

Do not state what you want, focus on how to help others and their wants. If you're trying to sell something, customers like to feel like they're buying instead of being sold to.

This isn't simple manipulation or selfishness since in this approach both parties should, and ultimately will, benefit.

This fits well with the previous tip's point about people desiring to feel important, since making others feel important often overlaps with what someone wants.