One of my favorite books of all time is Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People.” Originally published in 1936, the book went on to become one of the best-selling books of all time and made Carnegie an international celebrity.
His book was used as the text in my first college speech course. Every few years, I decide to reread it. I especially like how Carnegie expresses profound truths in simple but profound ways. A perfect example is his “Six Ways to Make People Like You”:
- Principle 1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Principle 2. Smile.
- Principle 3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. (NOTE: It is critical, however, to find and call the person the name that the person WANTS to be called. Oswald hates his name but loves “Ozzie.” Mel feels the same way about Melvin. Mortimer wants to be called “Mort.” Barbara prefers “Barb.” Patricia prefers “Pat.” POINT: ALWAYS start by asking the name that the person WANTS to be called; if you don’t—even with your best of intentions—you may alienate, rather than create a positive relationship.)
- Principle 4. Be a good listener, and encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Principle 5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
- Principle 6. Make the other person feel important, and do it sincerely.
Carnegie believed that you could make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you. It’s timeless advice we all need to heed.