Have you ever read How to Win Friends and Influence People? It’s an incredible, timeless bestseller which I believe reveals the only secret you must know about to be the best communicator you can be.
Do you know what this secret is?
What if I told you that it’s something that can turn your personal and business relationships for the better? Or, as you will learn in this article, to show you how to become a respected, loved professional in your office?
It’s the same secret that the author mentions being behind the personal fame of a guy like Roosevelt. Or the economic fortune of the Scottish, king of steel, Andrew Carnegie.
Sculp this secret in your head, read it again and again, as it is the foundation of the principles described later on how you should behave with people working around you.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
— Dale Carnegie
How did that hit you? Don’t you believe that you should call your coworkers friends? That word doesn’t necessarily refer to people you share an affection for, in this case. But human beings you can connect with to establish a prolific relationship, one that can give you advantages in your life and enrich you.
There’s no wrong in using relationships to your advantage, as that means ethically providing good results both for you and your interlocutor. And the best way to that type of effective relationship is to be genuinely interested in others.
“The only way to have a friend is to be one. “
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
When you have this honest feeling of interest towards other people, everything around you will change. An interested person is interesting by definition.
Be interested in other people’s jobs and they will reveal you their secrets and how they do it. Be interested in their stories and they will tell you who they are, and you will learn stuff from their backgrounds.
You still don’t believe me? Let’s see this principle in action through a set of rules that can guide you in your work.
Express Sincere Interest People’s Job and What They Do
I work in the tech field as a software engineer. I have people coming from all disciplines collaborating together with me. And as I believe in these people’s skills, so I am honestly interested in what they do. How they learned it, and what principles they apply.
I remember my attempt trying to learn stuff about designing a website. I was having a hard time understanding the principles behind it. To be honest, I suck at visuals. And I recall how I exposed these problems to a coworker of mine working in the field.
I asked her a couple of questions, and I was exploding with interest in the answers. I will never forget her smiling face, the inner pleasure of having somebody truly interested in what you have to say. Somebody admiring you. I was hanging from her teachings. And they went on and on, and that person helped me more and more. She would even thank me at the end of one of our design talks.
“I feel like you really like this, and I’m happy you listen with so much passion. Feel free to come back to me and ask me anything whenever your need it”.
To this day, I have to recognize that, I’ve learned a lot from those lessons, and without that person, I wouldn’t have the skills I have today. And this is something I still do with people from all departments. Salespeople are great at teaching you influence techniques, accounting was so helpful in revealing to me how a company works and how I could create mine one day.
There is immense value in being interested in a person. As that person will always be better than you at something. The return on knowledge, networking and bonding on a human level is just astonishing.
There’s some weird magic in having someone craving from your words and what you have to say. It makes you like that person immediately. And with this trick, I’m now able to have many mentors who are better than me in my life at something, making me constantly grow.
“In my walks, every man I meet is my superior in some way, and in that, I learn from them.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
Be Generous With Appreciations and Remember to Make People Feel Important
“As the woman served hay on her husband plate after a long day of work, he would turn his head with an astonished look.
“So what?” she screamed.
I’ve been cooking for you for the last 10 years and not a single word of appreciation was made. I could have even served you this a long time ago!”
We are so good at giving things for granted. Often times, these things are people who surround us. We tend to see their value diminished on our eyes as time passes. We forget to appreciate them and to help them nurture the most important thing: their sense of worth.
Never in my life, I have worked better in an environment where criticism was preferred over appreciations and constructive thoughts.
When you realize the good part of everybody working with you, when you try to see their true worth, it won’t be hard to be truly appreciative toward them. And you should tell them, because this is such a powerful motivator for people. People want to work with somebody who makes them feel that they matter, that their opinion and actions do.
- If you are a boss and your employee made something great, let he|she now.
- If your team member helped in a task, gratefully thank that person for the support, and be there for that person when he|she will need it.
- When everybody succeeds, don’t forget to remember those who were there with you.
“Try leaving a friendly trail of little sparks of gratitude on your daily trips. You will be surprised how they will set small flames of friendship that will be rose beacons on your next visit.”
Don’t Criticize or Condemn
“I’ve spent the best years of my life giving people the lighter pleasures, helping them have a good time, and all I get is abuse, the existence of a hunted man. “
Do you know who said the quote above? It was Al Capone. One of the most wanted criminals in America’s history. Now, If after all what he did he was still so convinced to be in the right to pronounce such a thing, how can you hope to criticize people and tell them they’re wrong and actually convince them of this fact?
As positive encouragement as shown to be the best way to work with people surrounding you, so criticisms has been affirmed to be the quickest way to people’s resentment and anger toward you.
Humans are creatures of vanity and I deeply encourage you to think 10 times before condemning or criticizing somebody. It’s not only a morally arguable practice, but it’s also not practical.
The same moment you attack somebody’s actions, ideas or creations, you will see them closing themselves like an oyster. Leaving you out from all possibilities of effective communication and to make stuff better.
“Avoid conflict when possible, call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing their positions. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Make faults easy to correct. Make the other person happy about doing what you suggest.”
It’s almost impossible to summarise everything that makes a great, loved communicator in one article. What I hope you will take away with you from my words, is that to understand communication you have to understand the human mind and how it works. Everybody wants to be recognized, everybody wants appreciation. Be the first one to jump out there and be interested in everybody you meet. You will see the magic happen. People will open to you, they will tell you who they are, they will help you and find your presence magnetic.
Being interested means being interesting by definition.
- Be genuinely interested in other’s people. See the magic of how this principle can work in your life. Win new friends, gain new knowledge and make incredible networking.
- Nurture people’s self-worth. Especially the ones you love, as it’s one their most important inner needs. The one that only great leaders and communicators can fulfil.
- Don’t criticize or condemn people. People are creatures of vanity, and they won’t forget easily what you did or told them.