Dale Carnegie’s original book How to Win Friends and Influence People was published in 1936, and laid out powerful and timeless principles of human communications that have impacted millions. It was written at a time where communications were limited to face-to-face, phone and letter interactions. These foundational principles have become even more important in today’s digital age, where we are surrounded by constant self-promotion, clever publicity tactics, and “me-ism”. Rather than use marketing tactics and technology to replace people-fundamentals, we should work on the meaning and intent behind our messages, so we can communicate them digitally and multiply the effect using media. In this free version of How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age summary, you’ll get an overview of ideas from the original book, with tips on how to apply them in today’s digital age, so you can stand out as a leader and build rich, trusting and lasting relationships.
Essentials of Engagement
There are 3 principles of engagement that underlie all other principles in the book. Chances are, most of us violate these principles in our daily interactions, and the (negative) impact is being multiplied through social media, emails, messages and other form of digital communications. Here’s a quick overview:
Bury your Boomerang
Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. The next time you’re tempted to criticize someone or give them a piece of your mind via social media, email or message, hold yourself back. This will achieve nothing, and can only backfire.
Affirm what’s Good
Everyone makes mistakes, and we all want to feel valued and appreciated. Rather than put others down, we can choose to affirm them.
Connect with Core Desires
Influence is about tapping into what others are already feeling, what they really want, and then finding a way to offer it to them in a mutually beneficial way.
You can get more details on these 3 essentials in our complete How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age summary bundle.
6 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression
In the digital world, we are inundated with too much information, advertising, promotion, and “noise”. How do you stand out and make a lasting impression on others? Here are 6 key ideas.
• Take interest in others’ interests: Self-interest is an inherent part of human nature. People gravitate towards people who are interested in them and their interests. Rather than just engage in digital media or campaigns, invest time to truly know people and their problems / interests. That’s the only real way to achieve mutual benefit.
• Smile: We tend to gravitate towards smiles, grins and giggles. In the digital space, your voice – be it spoken or written – can effectively convey a digital smile.
• Reign with Names: In the digital age, your name is like a company logo, and an identifiable name has great commercial value. However, when you interact with and know and interact with others, you have a relationship, which is even more valuable. Check out our full summary bundle for some common pitfalls to remember when using people’s names.
• Listen Longer: People want to be heard. Good listening leaves a lasting impression, a strong connection and builds trust. The key is to be present – suspend your own thoughts and give full attention to what the other person has to say.
• Discuss what matters to them: Don’t just “push” your message – focus on what really matters to the other person:
• Leave others a little better: The best way to build relationships is to add value to others.
You can learn about these 6 ideas in greater detail in our full 13-page version of How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age summary.
Gain & Maintain Others’ Trust
The best way to gain trust is to genuinely listen, understand, and try to add value to others, rather than try to be right or to asset yourself. Carnegie (via Cole) outlines 10 key ways to do so, which are outlined below. You can learn about these in greater detail from our complete book summary.
• Avoid Argument: Arguments only cause both sides to dig deeper into their own positions.
• Never say “You’re Wrong”: Resist the temptation to tell someone they are wrong, or indirectly convey it through your look, intonation, or gesture.
• Admit faults quick and emphatically: Don’t try to hide or deny your mistakes; in today’s digital world, news spread faster than ever.
• Begin in a friendly way: When we’re friendly, we validate the other person. When people feel friendly toward us, they are more likely to agree with us.
• Access affinity:In the digital age, we can build affinity with people we haven’t even met – get people to say “yes” as often as possible, by offering what they want (rather than pitching our own products or causes).
• Surrender the Credit: When you surrender credit as a way of life, you spread the effect of success, and collaboration will occur more naturally.
• Engage with Empathy: Most people don’t stop to consider how others feel in a situation. You’ll stand out simply by making a sincere effort to understand someone’s circumstances and perspective.
• Appeal to noble motives: By targeting the noble desires of people, we appeal to the side of them that wants to be presented in the best light.
• Share your Journey: When you share your story, people get to see who you are and what you strive to be, creating points of commonality that allows friendships to develop.
• Throw down a challenge: Use challenges to inspire and compel, rather than discourage and depress.
Do get our complete summary bundle for:
- More details and examples for the 10 ways above to gain and maintain others’ trust; and
- Learn 8 ways to lead change without resistance or resentment.
Getting the Most from “How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age”
This book is a powerful reminder of the fundamentals of human relations in Carnegie’s original book. It provides new references and modern day examples (alongside classic examples from the original book e.g. those of Abraham Lincoln and Teddy Roosevelt) to help us understand how to strengthen our relationship fundamentals, while leveraging digital media effectively to build meaningful relationships.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can make use of opportunities and our potential to positively impact others through our communication in the digital age, check out our full book summary bundle. It includes an infographic, a 13-page text summary, and a 22-minute audio summary
Loved this article? You can purchase the book here. To get the most of Carnegie’s teaching, we strongly recommend that you read this alongside the original book: here’s our summary for How to Win Friends and Influence People.
About the Author of How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age
How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age was adapted from Carnegie’s book by Dale Carnegie & Associates, with Brent Cole, a writer based in Georgia. Dale Breckenridge Carnegie (1888–1955) was an American writer, lecturer and thought leader on personal improvement, interpersonal skills, sales, public speaking and corporate training. Carnegie was born into poverty on a farm in Maryville, Missouri, and worked his way through college. By 1912, he had successfully developed his Dale Carnegie Course, focusing on developing self-confidence and public speaking skills.
How to Win Friends and Influence People in the Digital Age Quotes
“Always leave people a little better, and you might be surprised how big it makes you and how far it takes you.”
“The secret to all interpersonal progress is adding value, and doing so with regularity.”
“Appeal to noble motives and you can move the masses, and yourself along with them.”
“Questions allow you to create a conversation – in any medium – that can lead to a better place for all involved.”
“Save someone’s face once and your influence with him rises. Save his face every time you can, and there is practically nothing he won’t do for you.”
“Abilities wither under criticism and blossom under encouragement. Magnify improvement and you maximize others’ talents.”
“The quickest path to personal or professional growth is not in hyping yourself to others but in sharing yourself with them.”
“While connection is necessary to keep us thriving, competition is necessary to keep us striving.”