54

How to get on well with other people

1. Viewpoint

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you."

Dale Carnegie in How to Win Friends and Influence People.

2. Quotable quote

"Strive deliberately after popularity and the chances are you will never attain it. But become one of those rare personalities about whom people say: ‘(S)he certainly has something’, and you can be certain you are on the way to having people like you. I must warn you, however, that despite your attainments in popularity, you will never get everybody to like you. There is a curious quirk in human nature whereby some people just naturally won’t like you - But the fact is that popularity can be attained by a few simple, natural, normal and easily mastered techniques."

Norman Vincent Peale, The Power of Positive Thinking, The World's Work, Kingswood, Surrey, 1953, p. 249.

3. Viewpoint

"Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down."

Oprah Winfrey

4. Here's an idea

Think of the most boring people you know. Aren’t they always talking about themselves? You don’t have to be a bore. Instead, encourage people to talk about themselves. Acknowledge their expertise and draw on it. ‘Grace, you’re good at this - what do you think?’

Remember… ‘you’ is always better than ‘I’.

5. Here's an idea

Don’t flash an immediate smile when you greet someone, as though anyone who walked into your line of sight would be the beneficiary. Instead, writes Leil Lowndes in How to Talk to Anyone, look at the other person’s face for a second. Pause. Soak in their persona. Then let a big, warm, responsive smile flood over your face and overflow into your eyes. It will engulf the recipient like a warm wave. The split second delay, he says, convinces people your flooding smile is genuine and only for them.

6. Here's an idea

Try this simple trick to help you project a good impression whenever you meet someone for the first time: Take note of the colour of the person’s eyes as you shake hands. In this way, you’ll gain that strong eye contact that’s so important first up, and at the same time indicate that you’re interested in the person and in what s/he has to say.

7. Your most important words

The five most important words for any manager: You did a great job.

The four most important words: What do you think?

The three most important words: Could you please…

The two most important words: Thank you.

The most important word: We

The least important word: I

These are important words if you want to get on well with other people.

8. Where it all began

Dale Carnegie, once a poor farm boy making 5c an hour, became in the 1920s and 1930s the high priest of pop psychology, making, during the Depression years, a massive $1 a minute training executives on how to become successful.

A publishing executive attending one of his self-help lectures in 1934 suggested to Carnegie that a book in his 'rapid-fire talking style' was just what Depression-bound America sorely needed.

And it was. Bargain-priced at $1.96 in hardback, and later as a 25c paperback, Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People sold millions of copies - and continues to do so.

In a breezy style, Carnegie presented basic lists of rules to live by - six rules to charm your colleagues, nine rules to win over opponents without making them angry, rules to make people like you, to change people without making them resentful, and so on. If you followed his advice, success was simple, he said - and guaranteed (although he later divorced, thereby bringing into question his seven rules to ensure happiness in the home).

The simple formula behind all his advice was this: always focus on the other person's point of view if you want to get on well with them .

A couple of snatches from this influential publication?…

"You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. "

And again:

"If you have an idea you want someone to adopt, let him think the idea is his."

How-to-do-it books have mushroomed in recent decades, but they are all the descendents of one of the greatest how-to publications of all time.

Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People.

9. Napoleon's secret

Napoleon's genius has been attributed to many things but, above all, he was a superb natural leader of men.

Like any wise leader, he was aware that his own success would have been nothing had his men not been willing, even eager, to follow him. Obviously he could not know and personally inspire every man in his vast army - so he devised a simple technique to circumvent this difficulty.

Before visiting a regiment, he would call the colonel aside and ask for the name of a soldier who had served well in previous campaigns, but who had not been given the credit he deserved.

The colonel would indicate such a man. Napoleon would then learn everything about him, where he was born, the names of his family, his exploits in battle.

Later, upon passing this man while reviewing his troops, and at a signal from the colonel, Napoleon would stop, single out the man, greet him warmly, ask about his family, compliment him on his bravery and loyalty, reminisce about old campaigns, then pin a medal on the grateful soldier.

The gesture worked. After the review, the other soldiers would remark: 'You see, he knows us. He remembers. He knows our families. He knows we have served.'

10. Paul Eddington's interview

According to British journalist Francis Gay, one of the most moving radio interviews she ever heard was given by the British actor Paul Eddington, shortly before his death. Eddington, of 'Yes Minister' fame, was suffering from a painful form of skin cancer, but was facing the situation resolutely and calmly. When asked how he would like people to think of him, he replied, 'I would like them to say, "He did very little harm", and you know, that's not very easy.'

It may not be very easy but in Paul Eddington's brave case it was certainly true, and on the way he did a great deal of good.

11. Keep your score on smiles

We must activate 43 muscles to frown, but only 17 to smile. So, it's not only more fun to be happy than sad, it's also less work. It's also more productive, because nobody likes a grouch. Start the day happy and, invariably, things will continue in the same vein. And remember, it's catching! Try this experiment:

Each morning all week, smile at each person you meet and note if they smile in return, or ignore it. Chalk up how many 'bounce-backs' you get from your warm, friendly approach. Chances are, if you smile genuinely and radiantly at 20 people, you'll get close to 20 smile-backs. And that's a good start to any day.

12. Jefferson on humility

Thomas Jefferson was the most remarkable of America's founding fathers. He was a scientist, inventor, diplomat, humorist, and business strategist.

His secret for how to win friends and influence people read like some Dale Carnegie advice - except that it was recorded some 300 years earlier:

"Would you win the hearts of others, you must not seem to vie with them, but to admire them. Give them every opportunity of displaying their own qualifications, and when you have indulged their vanity, they will praise you in turn and prefer you above others. Such is the vanity of mankind that minding what others say is a much surer way of pleasing them than talking well of ourselves."