Today we continue exploring Dale Carnegie's book How to Win Friends and Influence People. The first part of this two series post was on How to make friends which you can check out by clicking the link below:
How to make friends
The other portion of this text is about influencing people. If you'd like to read all the points that Dale Carnegie suggests, wikipedia does a nice job of laying it out in an easy to read format in the link below.
While Mr. Carnegie lists out twelve key points to winning people over to your way of thinking, I'd like hone in on a few of his points that in my opinion are the most important. I think because these points feel so counterintuitive that it becomes difficult to understand how these points could be valid.
Nonetheless, I would like to share my thoughts with you on these few ideas and pair them with a brief anecdotal. Then you can be the judge and determine its merits or lack thereof.
Point 1 - The only way to win an argument is to avoid it. When I first read this I thought this was such a useless piece of information. I mean, how can you win arguments if you avoid them? How can you convince people of your position if you avoid confrontation?
As of August 20, 2017, there is a lot of political controversy that is going on in the United States. On August 11th in Charlottesville, Virginia, there was a rally that was held by white supremacists and Neo-Nazis in the aforementioned town. The rally was held in protest of the removal of a statute of Robert E. Lee. That rally was met by a counter-rally of people holding an opposite stance to the white supremacists and Neo-Nazis. The event ultimately led to violence. One person was killed, Heather Heyer, when a white supremacist drove a car into a group of anti-racist protesters.
Since then social media has been lighting up with people taking stances on both sides.
You have probably seen a few yourself.
You probably have some friends that have posted about the incident too.
Or even maybe you have posted about it.
And, out of all of these posts, whose posts got the most likes? Shares?
I don't know about you, but I found the people who procured the most distribution were the people who took mild to moderate stances. They didn't condemn one side, or the other. They didn't even take a political stance.
Most of them preached things such as: love over hate, trying to understand each other's views, and topped it off with a personal anecdotal.
In short, they avoided an argument. They didn't say White Lives Matter or Black Lives Matter. They simply encouraged others to understand and love.
So how does this lead to influence? Well, the worst thing on social media is being ignored.
Why is that? Because you are being shunned and your point of view is unsupported, irrelevant, and insignificant.
Influence on social is measured not just by views, but by how much interaction is occurring with your content. If nobody is commenting, and everyone is ignoring your alt-right posts or far-left comments, then you carry no weight.
But, if people support your posts and share your content then you carry influence. And, I have found that people who post the most idealistic content, that is neither offensive or argumentative, those are the posts that people like the most. So in short, a part of being influential and winning arguments is to avoid them.
Point 2 - Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers AND throw down a challenge. Have you ever spoken to your boss or a colleague and shared an idea that you thought was really good. Then later on in the day in a meeting or through the grapevine you hear that friend or boss spout that same idea you shared. However, they try to pass it off as their own?
I'm sure you have. Most, if not all of us, have had those moments.
How did you react though?
Did you feel upset? Annoyed? Or elated?
Let's try a different scenario for a second.
Imagine that you had a goal of losing 20 pounds by the end of the year. Let's also imagine that you are living with a romantic partner, it could be a boyfriend/girlfriend or a husband/wife. Let's also imagine that you have found that the greatest impediment to you losing weight is that fact you eat too many sweets. The reason you eat too many sweets is because your partner buys too many sweets.
So you realize that you need less sweets in your apartment or house. Therefore you need your partner to procure less of them and to not bring them home.
a) Ask them to stop buying sweets. Which they may do or they may not. If they do, they may feel like you are being controlling by dictating what they can or cannot eat.
b) You can do nothing and just not eat them. Which may last for a point, but lets say you have a sweet tooth. How long will your will power last? There are limits to these things.
c) You could have a conversation about eating healthier at home. You can start by asking:
- Hey, do you think we should try to eat better when we are at home?
Yeah sure why not.
- Okay cool, what do you think we should try to eat less of?
Probably sweets, I don't know.
- Yeah your probably right, we should probably try to eat less sweets.
Result: Your partner keeps in mind that going forward, they should probably get less sweets.
How do you feel now in regards to who gets credit for the idea?
Annoyed? Or elated?
If you still feel annoyed then I got nothing for you.
If you feel elated then that is the point Carnegie is trying to make. It doesn't matter who gets the credit for the idea, all that matters is the outcome. Whether it is a gain in profit, or losing weight, all that matters is the end result. Furthermore, in order to drive a point home, people need a challenge or goal to help motivate them to achieve it.
So in trying to be influential, encourage other people to walk to their own conclusions. Let them take ownership over the idea. Then challenge them to make it happen.
Overall, the book was an easy read and can be digested with ease. I recommend reading the book but I do want to preface it with this. It is important to be genuine and know who you are before you dive into texts like this. While although these texts try to teach you how to be a likable person there is something that feels malicious about it.
You should always be grounded in who you are, and only read this if you feel like it can help you relate to other people. I don't know what Mr. Carnegie's intentions were when he wrote this book, nor am I sure that you will find this text to be helpful. I do know that if you choose to read it then please do not let yourself be drawn to the darker side of his text but rather to the idealistic parts of it which encourage a person to be genuine and caring.
Thank you for reading and if you liked this post please like or share it. Please follow, subscribe, or come back each Monday for a new post. If you are looking to get this book on digital please click on one of the Kindle Banners at the top or at the bottom of this post. Thanks again!!