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How to Win Friends and Influence Others Essay

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Sophie Coppock

Lowder 10/ 12:00 MWF

MKTG 4390 Personal Selling


Dale Carnegie Paper #1

  1. Overview of the Text

In How to Win Friends and Influence People Dale Carnegie wrote, “Only knowledge that is used sticks in your mind”. In the famous self-help book, Carnegie discusses principals to use in life to assist you in your journey to success. As a marketing major at Auburn University, this book enlightened me on the importance of interaction with others and the steps to take to influence them in the right direction. This book is relevant to anyone and can be applied to the business world as well as in everyday life with family, friends, and even strangers. The four main tenants I got from reading How to Win Friends and Influence People were principle on how to deal with people, being likeable, how to win people over, and leading others without offending them.

Carnegie goes in depth on how to deal with people, giving advice on ways to avoid criticism of others, appreciating others, and how to show people that doing what you want benefits what they want. In the first chapter, Carnegie writes, “Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain”. People are often wary of criticizing themselves, so when criticized by others, it leads to them feeling more defensive than productive. Just like Al Capone, people will avoid criticizing themselves, and often justify actions that are seen as wrong to others. Carnegie suggested instead of criticizing someone for bad behavior or actions, rewarding them for good behavior tends to be more effective. Even if the criticism is warranted, people tend to respond to it emotionally and might even respond to criticism with returned criticism to the person. What stuck out to me the most about Carnegie’s view on criticism, was the act of improving oneself rather than criticizing others to improve their actions.  I think a lot of people avoid self reflection on their own actions, but have no problem criticizing or reflecting on someone else’s. Rewarding others for their actions has a lot to do with sincerely appreciating them. Carnegie focuses on this with the principle, “Give honest and sincere appreciation.” If you want someone to do something, you need to make them feel appreciated so that they want to keep doing it. Carnegie claims that people are motivated by, “the desire to be important.” I think for people to feel important or needed, they need to be appreciated rather than criticized and condemned. I think when I am criticized, but never appreciated for my actions, I tend to loose my drive to try because I feel as if nothing I do matters. Carnegie discusses the difference between flattery and appreciation, and the importance of sincerity when appreciating someone. When someone compliments me, I know the difference between them simply flattering me and genuinely appreciating me; other people notice the difference too. Appreciating someone is really important in handling them and can be incorporated in showing them that you have their best interest at heart. Carnegie discusses the art of getting someone to do what you want by showing them that your wants correlate with their wants and needs, stating the principle, “Arouse in the other person an eager want”. A lot of this principle is based on the idea of putting yourself in someone else’s shoes and gaining perspective of what their wants and needs might be and how you can fulfill them. This principle seems to be important in the sales world, where you have to sell a product by making it something that someone would want to buy. I think conveying to someone that you want what they want goes a long way in the business world as well as in situations that occur in your life. Being able to handle people appropriately goes a long way, but you have to be liked by the people you are handling to create successful relationships.

In the book, Carnegie discusses six ways to make people like you to create friendship with others: showing genuine interest in other people, remembering to smile, remembering names and details about others, sincerely listening to what someone has to say, talking in terms of the other person’s interest, and sincerely making someone feel important. Showing genuine interest in other people is the first step in establishing a relationship with someone; instead of attempting to impress someone or make them interested in you, Carnegie believes you should do the opposite and focus on other people’s interests. This principle also correlates with being a good listener. To be a good listener, you not only have to show that you are listening, but also encourage others to talk about themselves.  Friendships start from acts of kindness from others, and if someone is genuinely interested in another it goes a long way for first impressions. Remembering to smile is crucial for first impressions as well, and something that some people forget to do when meeting others. Carnegie wrote, “The expression one wear on one’s face is far more important than the clothes…. on one’s back.” Smiling shows someone you are glad to see them, and creates a warm approachable feeling, especially when first meeting someone. Carnegie even mentioned to smile on the phone, because a smile “comes through in your voice” when speaking on the phone. Carnegie discusses the importance of introductions claiming, “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language”. I think the biggest flaw I have is forgetting someone’s name as soon as they tell me it. I get so caught up in the interaction, that when they tell me their name, I almost forget to listen. Remembering someone’s name portrays a person’s effort to truly get to know another, and forgetting it shows a lack of interest in furthering a relationship. The last principle is based on the idea of connecting with people by treating them with the golden rule: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” I think this is a really important part of building friendships because relationships are built with mutual respect, and the golden rule encapsulates that idea. The principle Carnegie uses for this states, “Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely,” which incorporates using polite phrases or going out of your way to do something for another. Using these methods to make people like you assists in the process of winning people over.

Winning people over is something that can be tricky because you might think differently than someone you are trying to win over; Carnegie expresses ways to win people over that might think differently than you by listing rules to abide by when dealing with other people. One of Carnegie’s rules revolves around the idea of avoiding arguments, especially with potential customers. After working at numerous restaurants, I can attest that this is a very important rule and something that you have to live by to make money (tips); we worked with the motto that “the customer is always right”. It might be frustrating, but sometimes you have to agree with a customer even when they are wrong, because in the long run your goal is to please them. A lot of times people engage in arguments to display superiority over others, but end up loosing the other person’s favor by belittling them or causing them to feel inferior. A rule that goes along with this one is showing respect for others and not ever telling them that they are wrong. To avoid this, Carnegie recommended asking questions to get the truth or make the person understand that they are in the wrong. On another note, another of Carnegie’s rules states, “If you are wrong, admit it quickly and empathetically.” I think that admitting when you are wrong will comes off as mature and respectful, and also lessens the likelihood that you will receive criticism from the other person. Another rule I found interesting was the rule that called for you to get the person to say “yes” as soon as possible. Carnegie said you can do this by asking the person questions that they are likely to say yes to, to get them in an agreeable mood so that they will be more likely to say yes to a question you are unsure of. I think that is a smart sales tactic, that I have probably used when pushing food items or drinks at restaurants I have worked at. I’ve also used the principle Carnegie talks about that states, “Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.” To do that you must plant an idea in his/her head and let them come to their own conclusion. This is a great sales technique that influences people without them realizing, which is nice because a lot of times people will be more likely to choose decide on something if it was their idea verses someone else’s. If you are having trouble winning someone over, you could always lead them in the right direction while still avoiding offending them.



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