Back to Basics — Five Ways to Win Friends

November 21, 2015

biz friendsBefore starting kindergarten, I reviewed the basic ways of treating people correctly with my son.  As a raving fan of Dale Carnegie, I felt it was necessary to set him up for success in his new school.  My recommendations embody many of the principles outlined in Dale Carnegie’s best-selling book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.’

Here are five basic ways to win people over.

  1. Listen.  ‘Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves,’ is the 7th Human Relations principle.  As I told my son, “We have two ears and one mouth for a very good reason; we are supposed to listen more than we speak.”  While we may have the latest and greatest idea; the most sophisticated opinion; or the experience and wisdom our team members’ lack, we absolutely must hear everyone else out.  By listening to understand instead of to respond, we demonstrate our respect for other people.
  2. Say ‘thank you.’  ‘Give honest, sincere appreciation,’ is the 2nd principle and while rather simple, many people forget to give thanks.  Showing our appreciation for others helps develop rapport and reinforces respect.  By acknowledging others’ actions of gratitude, we are verbally patting them on the back.  Moreover, researchers have found that appreciating the positive aspects of life on a habitual basis is related to a generally higher level of psychological well-being and a lower risk of certain forms of psychopathology.
  3. Be nice.  ‘Begin in a friendly way,’ is the 13th Human Relations principle.  When my son gets frustrated and needs my help, he typically throws his Lego or pencil and screams, “Can’t you help me, MOM!”  I kindly retort, “If you start over and ask me in a friendly way.”  We all need help sometimes and hopefully we will receive it, however the chances of procuring that support are much greater if we ask nicely. Whether traffic was a nightmare or you spilled coffee on your tie on the way to work, check it all at the door and be friendly.
  4. Don’t whine.  ‘Don’t criticize, condemn or complain,’ is Dale Carnegie’s first Human Relations principle.  Part of life is doing things we don’t want to do.  Few kindergarteners want to put away art supplies nor do most adults yearn to complete forecasts, expense reports, etc.  Complaining about it will not help get the job done any more quickly, so just focus on the positive aspects of the assignment.
  5. Try not to tattle tale.  Let the other person save face,’ is one of Dale Carnegie’s leadership principles. Everyone makes mistakes, however it’s unnecessary to point them out every time.  If a colleague does something unethical and/or undue harm is caused, then it is important to tell or whistle-blow.  In most cases, it is more important to protect the relationship than to throw someone under the bus.  So, the next time you want to shine by reporting a co-worker’s mistake to your manager, try allowing the other person to save face.


This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of North Dakota, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in North Dakota. We would love to connect with you on Facebook.

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