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Charm School for MBAs: Dale Carnegie’s Techniques For Winning Anyone Over

It’s a fact: folks who are skilled at winning people over have an easier time making a difference
by Johanne Schwensen | Dec 29 2014

That difference could be as small as getting their team into an overbooked meeting room or as grand as securing the funding that will keep their business’s doors open for another year.

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Though oft overlooked, charm is more than an incidental personal quality – it’s an important business skill. Nobody understood that better than American writer and lecturer Dale Carnegie. Even back in 1936, Carnegie knew a thing or two about getting others to see the world his way. His book How To Win Friends and Influence People sold more than 15 million copies, making it the first best-selling self-help book ever published.

Carnegie’s classic has a lot of powerful advice on winning others over, but following are two highly actionable tactics you can start using in conversation the second you’re done reading here!

1. Give unconditional attention and frequently use the other person’s name

How do dogs manage to win people’s affections in mere seconds? The answer is simple: unconditional love. A dog is always interested in you and shows its interest enthusiastically. People respond to this behavior because we appreciate it when we’re made to feel like the most important thing in the room.

You can channel a four-legged friend’s people skills without losing your dignity by demonstrating that you’re really, truly interested. In practice, this means you should always greet others cheerfully, be a good listener, and make sure you remember personal details – the most important being the other person’s name.

Theodore Roosevelt was popular among his staff because he made a habit of greeting them all by their names. He also deliberately made time for listening to them and tried to remember what they said. By doing this, he showed others his appreciation and got more back in return. Remembering a new acquaintance’s personal details demands a bit of effort – for example, you may need to take notes after every encounter with a new client – but Roosevelt’s success (after all, he did become president) suggests that a bit of interpersonal effort counts. Whenever you meet someone new, do try to remember their name and use it as you talk.

2. Only ask questions that can be answered with “yes”

If you want to win someone over you should never let them know it’s your intent. You’ve got to be a little stealthier with your strategy, and a way to do this is to make it clear that you and the other person have the same goals. A useful guideline is never to reveal your own views before you are sure that the other person believes your interests are shared.

Once the other person sees your goals as converging, the most effective way to persuade them is to lead them to agree with you as often as possible. Build your argumentation by asking your partner lots of small questions that can only be answered with a “yes.”

The reasoning behind this approach, also known as the Socratic method, is simple: the more yeses you get during a discussion, the more likely it is that you will also get a “yes” when you finally reveal your real position on the subject. But deploy this one with care: by using the Socratic method, you can even get people to agree with views they would have fiercely opposed only moments before.

How To Win Friends and Influence People has plenty more on charming others and bringing them around to support your cause. The summary is also available on Blinkist.

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