In Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, he speaks to six principles on how we connect with people.

 

  1. Talk to people about the things they are interested in. Morning, noon, and after dinner, we are all interested in our own pursuits. If you want to connect with someone else, forget your interests and concentrate on those of the other person. We can make more friends in two months by being genuinely interested in other people than we can in two years of trying to get people interested in us.

What are some topics that you know people will feel comfortable talking about?

  1. Try to see things from their point of view. Carnegie’s second principle is one that he considered one of the secrets of success. It lies in our ability to understand and see things from the other person’s point of view. And as you know, the first thing we must do if we are to walk in someone else’s moccasins is to take off our shoes and put our own point of view aside. Do you remember that old saw, “A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still?”

What techniques can you use to help you see things from the other person’s point of view?

  1. Genuinely like other people. How can you do this? How do you “learn” how to like others? To start, show a genuine interest in people. You must have a good time meeting people if you want them to have a good time meeting you. We often think that the art of communicating is all about how we (you and I) say things. And it is true to a degree. But probably more important is the silent message we send as to whether we are really interested in that person.

As human beings we have a tendency to dismiss people who are different from us. We miss a lot when we do that. Rather than clam up when you meet people who seem very dissimilar to you, search for the common ground. As individuals, we all have shared experiences, shared interests, and shared dreams. Search for the connections. Search for the bridges that will help you understand one another.

  1. Smile. Studies have shown that people who smile tend to:
  • Manage more effectively
  • Teach others more effectively
  • Sell more effectively
  • Raise happier children

 

Not happy? Don’t feel like smiling? Fake it until you can make it. Remember the old song, “Whistle a happy tune whenever you feel afraid or alone.” It works. Remember that nobody needs a smile like those who have none left to give.

 

  1. Make them feel important. We all need to feel important and we all need to have our self-esteem nourished.

As well, use their name. Remembering names is a very important part of good interpersonal communication skills. For most of us, the sweetest sound on earth is that of someone using our name correctly and positively. This skill alone gives you an edge when it comes to interpersonal communications, and gives you an edge in career development

 

  1. Don’t criticize others. We don’t get people to do anything by criticizing them. We don’t get lasting change, we just get resentment. B.F. Skinner, the world renowned psychologist, proved through a series of experiments that an animal rewarded for good behavior will learn more rapidly and retains what it learns far more effectively than when we punish the animal for bad behavior. This applies to humans as well. Remember the saying, “We thirst for approval and we dread condemnation.”

 

The last thing Carnegie tells us is that the only way on earth to influence other people and get them to do what you want is to talk about what they want, and show them how to get it. That’s why we always have to think of the WIIFM (what’s in it for me?) when we are trying to get people to do things our way. Help them see what’s in it for them if they do what you ask them to do.