How to Win Friends and Influence People Study Guide

How to Win Friends and Influence People By Dale Carnegie

Don't critique, complain, or condemn others. People don't critique themselves, so your criticism will be even less welcome. It just makes others defensive and resentful. It's better to positively reinforce those elements of their behavior that you do like.

Be genuinely interested in others. They are interested in themselves, so you'll have something in common. Remember their birthdays, children's names, and other important details. Talk about their interests, and ask about them if you know nothing about them.

Be a good listener. When you listen, don't do anything else. Urge them to talk about themselves and their interests, and ask questions.

Make other people feel important. Everyone wants to feel accepted and appreciated, so praise other's strengths -- they will work to reinforce your expectations. Use people's names whenever you can. Smile.

Avoid arguing if at all possible: all you do when you argue is convince people to 'dig in' and defend their positions. Even winning an argument hurts the other person and causes them to resent you. Instead of arguing, welcome disagreements as a chance to progress. Listen carefully, identify the items you agree on, and admit when you have made an error before you expect the same from anyone else. If you can't reach a resolution, postpone a decision and promise to explore the other person's perspective in the interim.

Most people hunger for sympathy. Never tell them they're wrong; instead tell them that you'd feel the same way under the same circumstances. If you are wrong, admit it. Be willing to be rational.

If someone else is about to criticize you, try to beat them to it. Rebuke yourself harshly to soften their critiques. Admit your errors and your guilt, and honestly try to see from their point of view.

When asking someone for something, ask yourself why they would WANT to do what you're asking, and frame the question in terms of what they want.

When selling an idea to someone, get them to agree to something that you know they already believe; you will build momentum toward 'yes'. Dramatize what you have to say, but if possible, make the other person believe that it's their idea -- people are more committed to their own ideas. To that end, make small suggestions, and let them come to your conclusion.


When in the lead of something, driving others can be difficult. Being with honest appreciation for their work and praise them. Sandwich your criticism between two pieces of praise to lessen the harshness. Share your own mistakes along the way. Call attention to their errors indirectly; let them discover them on their own.

Suggest that the idea isn't flawed; but the environment or situation is. "This would be great in Japan, but American audiences aren't discerning enough to appreciate it." Give others the maximum opportunity to save face. For starters, always give criticism in private. Make the problem seem easy to correct and new skills seem easy to learn.

Praise every improvement, no matter how slight. Make the praise as specific as possible. Give the other person the idea that they have a reputation to live up to -- people WANT to live up to positive reputations. "You're very capable, but this project isn't quite up to your normal standards."

Ask questions instead of giving orders. "Would it make sense from a customer's perspective to organize these alphabetically?" Make people feel too important to do tasks that you'd rather they not do. Give out authority: it takes things off of your shoulders and makes others feel important and valued.

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