Dale Carnegie wrote this book back in 1936, and it was a global success, bought by tens of millions and setting in motion an entire genre of self-discipline books. In 2011, How to Win Friends & Influence People took on a new guise, accommodating a more modern world, this time dishing on how to befriend and influence people in an era characterised by phones, social media, and reduced in-person interaction. Though the book is abundant with countless fantastic life lessons supported by real-life examples, this post will explore the five most important takeaways from the book.
Admit your mistakes
The first thing that the book How to Win Friends and Influence People In the Digital Age teaches us is once you’ve made a mistake, don’t waste any time admitting you did it. By immediately taking full accountability and fessing up to your error, you usurp the opportunity of others to fault you on how you dealt with the aftermath of your error.
People generally find it easier to forgive those who come clean and admit their wrongdoing quickly after the mistake, as it demonstrates that the person cares about the people they’ve hurt and wants to make it right.
Avoid conflict and telling people they are wrong
Though it can be tempting to argue with someone when we feel they are wrong about something, this book asserts that conflict of any sort is useless. Even if you are absolutely right in a situation, it will not get you anywhere to argue your point to death. The person you’re arguing with will only be more convinced of their own rightness.
Equally, you should not tell somebody they are outright wrong about something. This will only earn you enemies, as nobody likes to be told they are wrong. Telling someone they are wrong triggers an emotional and defensive response from the other party rather than a logical one, as you are undermining the other person’s judgment. Instead, it is better to approach a difference of opinion with an open mind, acknowledging that you might be wrong yourself and don’t have all the answers.
Say their name
When addressing someone, make sure to include their name. The difference between “Hi” and “Hi Katie, I hope you’re well” is actually greater than it might appear. Names go a long way — use them!
Daft as they may look, there’s much to be said for smiley emojis. Smiling is a good way to come across well in the digital sphere. Though not as easy to convey when using a computer, an online smile means being kind and as positive as possible in all situations. When sending emails, for instance, begin and end each one on an optimistic note rather than with an angry tone. Research shows that a smile makes people more likely to want to deal with you, so make sure your smile always shines through, even in the online space.
Another pearl found in this book is yet another rather simple instruction: listen to others. Attentiveness leaves a strong impression and helps you foster strong connections and trust with others. Hearing people out and letting them know that you are paying attention is a guaranteed way to generate and strengthen relationships.
How to Win Friends & Influence People is littered with nuggets of wisdom — too many to mention, so we highly recommend reading the full book for the complete picture of how to achieve what the title promises.