Review – How To Win Friends & Influence People

How To Win Friends And Influence People

by Dale Carnegie, published 1936, 1981

A master’s education in properly respectful and efficacious communication

Dale Carnegie’s 1936 classic in interpersonal communication sets the standard in techniques for dealing positively and constructively with others. The book is easy to summarize (the edition I own actually has an end-chapter summary and end-of-section summary-summary of all the major points addressed), so I’ve done that below for quick reference. But Carnegie is an excellent story teller and weaver of parables. This is a book that’s easy to pick up, hard to put down and well-suited to driving the points home in a concrete way that reading the outline by itself just can’t do. Every human being should own and know the principles of this book.

Fundamental Techniques In Handling People

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Six Ways to Make People Like You

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  2. Smile.
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  6. Make the other person feel important– and do it sincerely.

How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  4. Begin in a friendly way.
  5. Get the other person saying “Yes, yes” immediately.
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
  8. Try honestly to see from the other person’s point of view.
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives.
  11. Dramatize your ideas.
  12. Throw down a challenge.

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense Arousing Resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly.
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
  5. Let the other person save face.
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.”
  7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
  8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
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Notes – Emotional Intelligence/EQ

The following are notes I took from an introductory course on Emotional Intelligence.

The Four Components of EQ

Emotional Intelligence is composed of four major facets:

  • self-awareness, how aware are you of your own emotional state and thoughts?
  • self-management, how well can you control your emotions and thoughts?
  • social awareness, how aware are you of other people’s emotional states and thoughts?
  • social management, how well can you control your behaviors that influence the emotional states and thoughts of others?

It is possible to have high self-awareness but poor self-management, or to be good at managing oneself and one’s social environment without having significant awareness of either one. Many possible EQ patterns are possible or conceivable, though typically people are either stronger at the self-related items or the social-related items but not both.

Where does EQ fit in?

EQ is considered as “the brains ability to recognize emotions from oneself and others and to use this information to guide thinking and behavior.”

EQ is leg of a three-legged stool of self-awareness. The other components are the DiSC and Core Values Index (CVI) assessments. Whereas the CVI attempts to determine the “unchanging nature of the person” and DiSC seeks to explain behavioral tendencies developed through experiential learning, EQ ideally serves as a way to quantify a person’s ability to modify their behavior and influence the behaviors of others based on perceived emotional states.

EQ is considered related to IQ in that it measures something about an individual and their boundaries for achievement. But whereas IQ measures intelligence or problem-solving ability and is considered fixed at birth by genetic factors, EQ measures perceptive and self-control abilities in social settings and it is considered improvable over time, that is a person who a low EQ score in one of the four components might be able to raise their score with conscious effort and examination of their behavior over time.

Applications of EQ

Some people consider EQ to be more valuable than IQ in a business setting because businesses are about people (employees and customers) so having a superior ability to influence the behaviors of people could be considered more valuable than the raw intelligence necessary to solve problems. If you have the solution to a problem but can’t convince anyone to cooperate with you in implementing it, what do you actually have?

Part of the value of EQ comes from the way the brain is physically hard-wired to handle new data inputs. Stimuli entering the brain pass through the emotional area of the brain and trigger an emotional reaction before passing through a secondary filter and entering the part of the brain where a rational filter is applied and a behavioral response is shaped. The brain gives priority to emotion over reason.

The development of EQ in an individual involves increasing tiers of awareness and capability best thought of as a kind of pyramid with the lowest function at the bottom and the highest function at the top:

  1. (Top) influence
  2. building trust
  3. adapting and connecting to build rapport
  4. recognizing the needs of others
  5. controlling impulses to achieve positive outcomes
  6. (Bottom) acknowledging the self and impact on others

Emotional range

The basic emotions common to all humanity are:

  • mad
  • glad
  • sad
  • fear
  • shame (embarrassment about a state of being)
  • guilt (embarrassment about an action undertaken)

The entire range of emotions people experience can be explained by low, medium and high intensities of these basic emotions. For example, one can be satisfied, excited or elated in terms of experiencing the emotion of glad.

Rage is not a feeling, but rather it is an uncontrolled reaction to pent-up, diverse feelings that have not been expressed and come out all at once. It is a sign of emotional disorder, not an intensity of anger, sadness or fear by itself.

With regards to fear specifically, there are four “fatal” fears that typify most of the emotional experiences:

  1. failure (or success!)
  2. rejection
  3. emotional or physical discomfort
  4. being or looking wrong

The whole person

People are complex, there is no doubt about it. EQ is not better than or worse than IQ, it is simply another component of the “whole person”. In fact, intellectually (rather than biologically), the “whole person” is best described by considering EQ, IQ and personality together.

Review – Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion

Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

by Dr. Robert B. Cialdini, published 1984, 2006

Another study in the motivations underlying human behavior

Originally published in 1984, Cialdini’s “Influence”  has gone through several updates and reprints since. The book outlines 6 categories of persuasion, most of which we encounter on a daily basis (frequently by someone who wants us to buy something, but not always), and most of them are so ingrained in us that we barely even notice ourselves complying with them anymore.

Now this is not to say that you won’t recognize the 6 categories, in fact you’ll know them all too well, but the genius of the book lies in describing how each one of these methods is currently used unbeknownst to us, you’ll start recognizing them being used the second someone’s using them, which helps to ignore them if you want.

The 6 categories of influence

  1. Consistency & Commitment – continuing a course of action to be consistent with your previous actions (e.g. you subscribed to our cable service last year, so why not this year?)
  2. Reciprocation – feeling obligated to give something in return just because someone gave you a gift (e.g. take these free mailing labels, can you make a donation to the Children Need _________ Fund?)
  3. Social Proof – when there is a lack of objective, 3rd party evidence, people typically use what other people are doing as a guide for their actions, which is acceptable in most situations, but also horribly unacceptable in many others (e.g. Buy this product because these people did! )
  4. Authority – ever done something just because someone was wearing a uniform? It’s easy to put a lot of stock into what someone says just because they’re wearing a $20 uniform or have a title in front of their name.
  5. Liking (Similarity) – ever agreed with someone just because they seemed to be like you, and people like you are agreeable, therefore what they say makes sense right? Erm…sometimes it doesn’t…
  6. Scarcity – this one is ingrained in us like the need to eat and sleep. When we feel there is the potential for there to be less of something in the very near future, we automatically value it more (e.g. But don’t wait, call now before we run out!)

Truth runs deep beneath the surface

The average person can grasp these concepts with ease, but that’s not to say they’re simplicity prevents them from being profound. In fact, the truth is that these things go much, much deeper.

  • Have you ever continued on a path you knew was silly just because you’d already committed to it?
  • Have you ever had difficulty resisting what other people are doing simply because so many people were doing it?
  • Have you ever agreed with someone for the moment simply because you felt similar to them, only to realize after the fact that you don’t really agree with them at all?

I have absolutely done all of these things, and as you get older most people become less susceptible to the weak forms of these strategies (but this book certainly helped me leap frog my previous understanding of them). These strategies of influence are not inherently bad, but knowing when they’re being used will allow you to step back from the persuader, realize the strategy being used, and assess whether you want to continue your current course of action.

And the implications of these forms of influence go further than just understanding how marketing or advertising messages work. Think about the investment markets– how many investors put their money into something because they heard someone else they respect is doing it (similarity), they’re concerned there isn’t enough to go around such as in an IPO (scarcity), because the government said they’re backstopping it (authority) or because they were caught up in a bubble and everyone else was doing it (social proof).