My summary of the first part of Dale Carnegie’s How To Win Friends and Influence Others
The first part of Dale Carnegie’s famous book was amazing. It taught me how to think about other people, talk, and build genuine relationships with people around me!
Here are the three core lessons of the first part;
Don’t criticize, complain, or condemn
Dale Carnegie did a brilliant job explaining this. He gave the deserved importance to justice while also conveying to the readers, how criticizing, complaining, and condemning another person can have its problems.
Firstly, to influence people, we must have a deep relationship with them. Without such a foundation it is not possible to have such power. Having influence over someone is a strong thing but it does not have to be bad. People often correlate them both but they are not the same at all. Carnegie does an excellent job explaining that!
Carnegie conveys that criticizing someone is in no way good for them. This does not mean that if someone does something wrong it should be ignored. It should be communicated to them but in an effective and mutually beneficial manner. When you criticize someone to prove a point, the other person has to become defensive, and then it becomes infinitely harder to communicate reason and logic. When someone does something you think is worthy of criticism, communicate that in a dignifying and effective manner and withhold words that can be perceived as getting the other person defensive.
We as humans do not like being shown disapproval as we are social creatures. Condemning someone is worse than that. It completely destroys the relationship we are trying to develop. The reason condemning is harmful in communication is that it is primarily done to ignite a flame rather than blow it out. Condemning someone does him more harm than good. It is not helping with anything.
Whilst complaining all many people want to do is to state their case. It represents an underlying motive regardless of whether or not it exists. This creates distrust at the very least and no one likes being around a complainer either. If you complain a lot it is easy for people to lose respect for you and they won’t take you seriously either.
Affirm what is good and not sell out to flattery
Affirming what is good in someone can go a long way to developing a strong relationship with them. When you affirm what is positive in someone it results in a genuine connection.
Dale Carnegie gave an example of the movie The King’s Speech portraying the Duke of York, Prince Albert. Prince Albert had a stammering problem. To cure this problem, Lionel Logue was hired as a speech therapist. Logue used unorthodox methods for his patients as he knew that the problem stemmed from his childhood.
When Prince Albert is about to be crowned king at his coronation, fear starts to loom over his head and he starts thinking about how he would become a failure of a king and a laughing stock for the whole world. It is at this moment that Logue says, “Bertie,” as he is known to his family members, “you’re the bravest person that I know.” These simple words bear massive weight and result in a life-changing impact for him!
Carnegie then goes on to explain the difference between affirmation and flattery. The difference is simple, affirmation is genuine. Meaningless encounters like, ‘Hello, it’s nice to see you’ are so common nowadays. How is it nice to see someone you aren’t even making eye contact with? These words have lost meaning nowadays and they make for nonsensical small talk.
When affirming what is good in someone you have to make an effort to spot it. That is what makes it genuine. Flattery knows no limits. It is easy to say random positive things. The ease results in the lack of effort and abundance of availability. This results in its meaninglessness.
Igniting an eager want
In order to influence someone, we must connect with a core desire within them. Influencing someone is not a matter of outsmarting them but rather seeing what they want and offering it with mutual benefit. You can not influence someone you don’t have a deep connection with, you have to make that foundation to connect at an intellectual and meaningful level. This can be achieved by educating oneself about the goals and perspectives other people hold.