Developing Your People Skills

by rubenharris

I just finished reading Dale Carnegie’s book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, and I believe that it is one of the best books that I have ever read about building relationships.

Here are the key points I think you should remember:

1.  Remember people’s names.

It shows that even if you’re in a higher position, you took the time to care about them.  Background people are used to people not noticing them or the job they do unless there’s a problem.  When somebody does, it usually makes them feel special and want to continue to do their job to the best of their ability.

2.  Smile.

“It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give.  It happens in a flash and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever.  None are so rich or mighty that they can get along without it, and none so poor that aren’t richer for its benefits.  It creates happiness in the home, fosters good will in business, and is the countersign of friends.  It is rest to the weary, daylight to the discouraged, sunshine to the sad, and nature’s best antidote for trouble.  Yet it cannot be bought, begged, borrowed, or stolen, for it is something that is no earthly good to anybody until it is given away…”

3.  Be a good listener.

Encourage people to talk about themselves.  My father taught me this.  People take pride in their work and they enjoy talking about it.  All you have to do is listen attentively.

4.  Get the other person’s point of view and see things from his or her angle.

“Looking at the other person’s point of view and arousing in him an eager want for something is not to be construed as manipulating that person so that he will do something that is only for your benefit and his detriment.  Each party should gain from the negotiation.”

“If out of reading this book you get just one thing – an increased tendency to always think in terms of the other person’s point of view, and see things from their angle – if you get that one thing out of this book, it may easily prove to be one of the building blocks of your career.  

5.  If you are wrong admit it quickly and emphatically.

“When we are right, let’s try to win people gently and tactfully to our way of thinking…and when we are wrong – and that will be surprisingly often, if we are honest with our ourselves – let’s admit our mistakes quickly and with enthusiasm.  Not only will that technique produce astonishing results; but, believe it or not, it is a lot more fun, under the circumstances, than trying to defend oneself.”

6.  Get the other person saying “yes” immediately.

“In talking with people, do not begin by discussing the things on which you differ.  Begin by emphasizing – and keep on emphasizing – the things on which you agree.  Keep emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only difference is one of method and not of purpose.”

7.  Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.

This point is very similar to #3.  

“Most people trying to win others to their way of thinking do too much talking themselves.  Let the other people talk themselves out.  They know more about their business and problems than you do.  So ask them questions. Let them tell you a few things.  If you disagree with them you may be tempted to interrupt, but don’t.  It is dangerous.  They won’t pay attention to you while they still have a lot of ideas of their own crying for expression.  So listen patiently with an open mind. Be sincere about it.  Encourage them to express their ideas fully.”

8.  Be sympathetic to the other person’s ideas and desires.

“Three-fourths of people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy.  Give it to them, and they will love you.”

9.  Dramatize your ideas.

“The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, and dramatic.  You have to use showmanship.  The movies do it. Television does it.  And you will have to do it if you want attention.”  Tell your story…

10.  Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.

“Isn’t it bad judgment to ram your opinions down the throats of other people?  Isn’t it wiser to make suggestions and let the other person think out the conclusion?”

11.  Give honest and sincere appreciation.

Thank you goes a long way.  Be specific about what you are thanking them for, keep it simple, and most importantly be genuine about it.

I encourage you to buy a copy of this book, share it with your friends, and apply the principles in it to your life.  

Ruben A. Harris