September 18, 2019 4 min read
After you graduate college it becomes harder to make friends and connections with people who are not your colleagues. But much of success is about building a network and making friends in your industry, and that involves making people like you. But how do you make friends as an adult? How do you make people like you? It seems like a subjective process, but there are universal techniques you can use to help you make small talk a bit more easily. Leaders like Warren Buffet swear by How To Win Friends And Influence People by Dale Carnegie, and the lessons of Carnegie have stood the test of time. They are classic principles in the best sense, and the fundamentals of this book are still applicable generations later. These principles do not revolve around trends or fads, they are just the building blocks of social intelligence, and how practicing good social skills can improve your life. Here are the 10 best, classic lessons we learn from Carnegie's How To Win Friends And Influence People:
1. Do Not Criticize, Condemn or Complain
Carnegie writes, "Any fool can criticize, condemn or complain- and most fools do." He continues on to say that it takes character and self-control to be forgiving, this discipline will pay major dividends in your relationships with people.
2. Be Generous With Praise
Carnegie uses Schwab as an example throughout the book, as someone who exemplifies all of the tenets Carnegie preaches. Schwab used praise as the foundation of all of his relationships, "In my wide association in life, meeting with many and great people in various parts of the world," Schwab declared, "I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted in their station who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than they would ever do under a spirit of criticism."
3. Remember Their Name
Remembering people's names when you meet them is difficult. You casually meet a lot of people so it's challenging, but if you can train yourself to remember people's names, it makes them feel special and important. Carnegie writes, "Remember that a person's name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language."
4. Be Genuinely Interested In Other People
Remembering a person's name, asking them questions that encourage them to talk about themselves so you discover their interests and passions are what make people believe you like them, so they in turn like you. Carnegie writes, "You make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you." If you break it down, you should listen 75% and only speak 25% of the time.
5. Know The Value Of Charm
One things people do not discuss much in the job search industry is that so much of getting an opportunity is not about talent, where you went to college or who you know, it is people liking you. A good resume may get you in the door, but charm, social skills and talent keep you there, and people will normally pick someone they enjoy being around over a candidate they don't enjoy being around as much but is more talented. Become someone people want to talk to, be genuinely interested in other people, because it will enrich your life and open so many more doors than you ever thought possible.
6. Be Quick To Acknowledge Your Own Mistakes
Nothing will make people less defensive and more agreeable than you being humble and reasonable enough to admit your own mistakes. Having strong and stable personal and professional relationships relies on you taking responsibility for your actions, especially your mistakes. Nothing will help end tension or a disagreement more than a swift acknowledgment and apology on your part.
7. Don't Attempt To "Win" An Argument
The best way to win any argument, Carnegie writes, is to avoid it.Even if you completely dismantle someone's argument with objective facts, you won't be any closer to reaching an agreement than if you made personal arguments. Carnegie cited an old saying: "A man convinced against his will/Is of the same opinion still."
8. Begin On Common Ground
If you are having a disagreement with someone, you start on common ground and ease your way into the difficult subjects. If you begin on polarizing ground, you'll never be able to recover, and may lose ground with subjects on which you agree.
9. Have Others Believe Your Conclusion Is Their Own
People can not be forced to believe anything, and persuasive people understand the power of suggestion over demand. Learn to plant the seed, and instead of telling people they're wrong, find the common ground and persuade them that what they really want is your desired outcome (obviously without telling them that is the case).
10. Make People Feel Important
Smiling, knowing people's names, praising people, making an effort to know their interests and chat about them make people feel important. That is the underlying point of all of the above principles. If you make people feel important, how you walk through the world will be an exponentially more pleasant and incredible experience.