As an executive, face-to-face interaction with people is the majority of your job. Whether you’re negotiating, giving feedback, or presenting a new idea, you can’t go a single day without having to engage with someone. When it comes right down to it, that’s a lot of pressure. After all, one slip of the tongue or bad attitude and you could cost yourself more than you bargained for.
If you want to improve your interactions with people inside and outside the world of business, Dale Carnegie claims to have the keys to successful communication in his book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People.”
Be Interested and Smile: First impressions are everything. This is true in every area of life. As an executive, there could be a lot riding on your shoulders to secure a deal, and your potential career future. Make sure you start off on the right foot by smiling and being genuinely interested in the person you’re meeting. This can save you a lot of backtracking to make up for that sour first impression.
Remember Someone’s Name: Think about the last time you met someone: Did they remember your name right away? Did they use your name in conversation? Remembering someone’s name is an easy way to make a big impression. It shows that you’re paying attention, and that the other person means enough to you for you to remember their name. Use the person’s name in conversation. This will help you remember, but also add a personal touch to a professional conversation.
Always Begin Positive: This is easier said than done, but it could be the difference between building respect and starting drama. Begin every interaction in a positive way; this is especially true when you need to give feedback on poor performance or bring up a touchy subject with a hot-headed person. Start with what the person did right, and try to be light-hearted. Once a calm environment is established, you can bring up the feedback or troublesome subject. Be sure to end as you start: in a positive way.
Things to Improve
Too Much Saving Face: One of the things I wasn’t too thrilled about was the idea that you have to constantly be the one biting your lip. Sometimes, you need to put your foot down and lay down the law. You don’t always have to be in some professional “alpha” position, but you shouldn’t let people walk all over you. If I could sum this part up, I’d say pick and choose your battles wisely. If someone is trying to treat you like dirt, stand up for yourself.
Needs an Update: There’s no denying that How to Win Friends and Influence People is a timeless classic, but to be honest, it could use an update. Business, interactions, and everyday life moves much faster now than in Carnegie’s day. I’d love to see an appropriate update of this book to deal with business life in 2018 and beyond.
Do I Recommend How to Win Friends and Influence People?
Yes, yes, and yes! This should be on the bookshelf of every person who has to negotiate, make a deal, or be the face of a company. Even though the advice can seem repetitive at times and in need of a dire update, it’s still a treasure trove of information that can help you in any profession.
Have You Read How to Win Friends and Influence People?
What did you think of it? Do you apply the principles you learned in the book? Would you recommend it to others? Let me know what you think in the comments below!