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Have you ever tried to get someone to do something or change his/her behaviour, only to have the person snap back at you, or even demonstrate more of the undesired behaviour?

Well, check out these 9 tips by Dale Carnegie in his book How to Win Friends and Influence People, and you will inevitably spot a few areas where you could have been more effective in influencing the desired change/ behaviour.



HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_start with praiseBegin with praise and honest appreciation. Can you imagine removing a molar at the dentist without any local anaesthetics?  Receiving feedback for change can make someone feel like he/she is not good enough, and that hurts.  Start with a sincere compliment to build confidence and set a positive foundation, before sharing constructive feedback on the potential areas of improvement. It will help to dull the pain and smoothen the process.

When you praise someone before criticizing them, be conscious to avoid the word “but” and replace it with “and”, e.g. “I really appreciate the time and effort that you put into making this event a success, and it would be even better if….”

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_highlight mistakes indirectlyCall attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. Never criticize someone directly.  This could trigger resentment and backfire.  Instead, bring their attention indirectly to the action that you want them to change.  For example, Charles Schwab (founder and CEO of Charles Schwab Corporation) came across a group of employees smoking under a “No Smoking” sign. Rather than point that out directly, he offered each of them a cigar and said, “I’d appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.”  You can imagine how positively this feedback was received.

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_own mistakes firstTalk about your own mistakes first. Let’s face it – all of us make mistakes, and most of us don’t like being reminded of them. Hence, before you point out someone’s mistake, start by talking about your own mistakes first. It doesn’t matter if you have already corrected them. Sharing your own mistakes brings you to their level, makes you more relatable, and makes it easier for the other person to hear his faults.

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_ask questionsAsk questions instead of giving direct orders. No one likes to be ordered around. When you ask questions like “What do you think of this?”, “Do you think this idea could work?”, you help people to feel that they are a part of the decision-making process, which stimulates creativity and improves buy-in.

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_save faceLet the other person save face. Threatening, belittling or directly finding fault with someone serves no purpose.  Even if the other person is definitely in the wrong, making the other lose face only hurts the ego and will likely backfire. Instead, make an effort to protect the other person’s dignity. Use kind and understanding words, assure them of their value and your belief/ confidence that they will do better next time.

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_praise any improvementPraise every improvement, including the slightest improvement. Animal trainers succeed in conditioning their animals through the use of encouragements/ rewards for every small improvement.  The desire for appreciation and recognition is one of the deepest human need. Hence, when we dish out praises (instead of criticisms) for every improvement, we motivate others to keep improving. When we help people to realize the true potential they possess, they will be inspired to transform for the better.

Loving these tips? Download a FREE summary and infographic of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” here.

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_act as if they were betterGive the other person a fine reputation to live up to. When you act and communicate as if someone is already outstanding in a particular desired trait or virtue, you may be surprised at how much you can inspire a positive change in their attitudes or behaviours.

For example, rather than criticize a staff directly for poor customer service, it would be much more powerful to say, “Ben, I know you are a natural when it comes to servicing customers. Can I count on you to really look after our customers this evening and help them to enjoy their meal here?” The more we respect people for their abilities and potential, they are more ready they are to be led.

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_make it easyEncourage. Make the fault seem easy to correct. Sometimes, a fault may need time and effort to correct (e.g. acquiring a new skill, developing greater self-awareness). When change seems difficult or insurmountable, people resist it.

To motivate new behaviours or change, let people know we have faith in their abilities and their chances of success. Praise their good points, minimise their faults, and be generous with our encouragement, so they will practise the necessary skills and eventually excel.

HowtoWinFriends&InfluencePeople_see benefitsMake the other person happy about doing what you suggest. To achieve this: 
• Be sincere and focus on the benefits to the other person
• Know exactly what you want the other person to do
• Focus on what the other person really wants and consider the benefits he will receive from doing what you suggest; then match these benefits to his wants.
• When you make your request, clearly convey the benefits to that person.

These 9 factors could take a lifetime to master. Yet, it can be ridiculously easy to get started and to start seeing small improvements – all you need to do is to become mindful of your communications with others, and to “catch” yourself whenever you are acting out of sync with these principles.

To deepen your relationships and influence, you may want to get our also go through these other tips in our free How To Win Friends and Influence People summary:
• 3 fundamental techniques in handling people
• 6 ways to make people like you
• 12 ways to win people to your way of thinking

Want to read the entire book? Get a copy of the book from now.

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