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How to Win Friends & Influence People

By Dale Carnegie

Summarized by Ali Salah · 9 min read

This is a magic guide to help you understand people, make them like you, and win them to your way of thinking. Apply these rules at every opportunity, and it will increase your popularity and help you get along with people everyday.

Part One: How to handle people?

1. Don’t criticize anybody for anything.

When you criticize someone, they become defensive, you hurt their pride and cause resentment. Also you don’t correct the situation. Your dog learns faster by rewarding good behaviors rather than punishing for bad ones. Figure out why they do what they do?

2. Give sincere appreciation.

The deepest urge in human nature is the desire to be important. You won’t let your family or employees go for six days without food. But, you let them go for six weeks, and sometimes sixty years without giving them the appreciation they crave as much as they crave food.

Average people shout and yell when they find a thing they don’t like. And when they find something they like, they say nothing. Do the exact opposite!

3. Focus on what the other person wants.

Fish like eating worms, but you prefer cookies. When you go fishing, you won’t bait fish with cookies. You would think about what they want, not what you want.

If you want to persuade someone to do something, you should think “how can I make this person want to do it?” When you write an application for a job, focus on how you can help them; what they want, not what you want.

Part Two: How to make people like you?

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

Learn this from our best friends, dogs! Whenever they meet you they wag their tails, and show you how much they like you. No wonder we love dogs!

You can 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!

Everyone is only interested in themselves. When you see a group photo you’re in, you try to find yourself first. We are interested in others when they are interested in us! If we want to make friends, let’s put ourselves out to do things for other people - things that need time and thoughtfulness.

2. Smile.

Actions speak louder than words. A smile says “I like you. You make me happy, I am glad to see you.” Avoid fake grins. Make it a habit to have a real, heart warming smile. Even when you talk on the phone, your smile comes through in your voice! Every morning, greet people you meet with a smile. It also helps very much in business: “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”

3. Remember Names.

Everyone is more interested in their name than all the other names combined. Remember their name and call them by it, and you have paid a subtle and very effective compliment. Forget it or misspell it, and you have placed yourself at a disadvantage!

Whenever you meet a new person, ask about their name. If you didn’t hear it distinctly, ask about it again. If it’s unusual ask about how it is spelled? Repeat it in your head and try to associate it in your mind with the person’s appearance.

4. Be a good listener and let people talk.

To be a good conversationalist, be an attentive listener. To be interesting, be interested. Ask questions that other people will enjoy answering. Encourage them to talk about themselves and their accomplishments. Be genuinely interested, and just listen attentively.

5. Talk about the other person’s interests.

If you’re talking with someone who is interested in boats, talk about boats. If you’re interviewing someone, study them and talk about their interests and goals. Talking in terms of the other person’s interests pays off for both parties.

6. Make people feel important, sincerely.

Whenever you meet someone, ask yourself: What’s there about them that I can honestly admire? Always make the other person feel important. If a waiter brings you a wrong order, say: I’m sorry to trouble you, but I prefer X. They’ll probably reply with: No trouble at all!

Almost all people you meet feel superior in some way. A sure way to their hearts is notice their best traits, try to learn from them, and let them realize in a subtle way that you recognize their importance.

Part three: How to win people to your way of thinking?

1. Avoid arguments.

Nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each party more convinced that they’re absolutely right. You may achieve a victory sometimes, but it will be empty because you will never get your opponent’s good will. You have made them feel inferior and hurt their pride.

The correct way to handle arguments if imposed on you is: welcome the disagreement, listen first, don’t be defensive, look for areas of agreement, try to look for areas where you can admit error, promise to think over your opponents ideas, and thank them for their interest. Still, to get the best of an argument is to avoid it!

2. Never say “you are wrong.”

If you tell someone they are wrong, do you make them want to agree with you? Never! Don’t start by saying you are trying to prove something; This is a challenge that arouses opposition and makes the listener want to battle with you. You can start with “Well, now, look, I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to put it right.”

When you say to someone you are wrong, you only succeed in stripping that person of self-dignity and make yourself unwelcome in any discussion. Use a little diplomacy.

3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly.

If you know you’re wrong, and you’ll be criticized for it anyway, why not beat the other person to it and do it yourself? Say about yourself all the derogatory things you know the other person wants to say before they have a chance to say it. You’ll be surprised by the response. Your eagerness to criticize yourself will take all the fight out of them, and they will start defending you! If you are wrong, admit it quickly and clearly.

4. Begin in a friendly way.

If you begin with anger, the other person will get even more angry. You may have a fine time unloading your feelings, but with your hostile attitude, you’ll lose any chance of them agreeing with you.

5. Get the other person to say “yes, yes, yes”.

When talking with people, don’t begin by discussing your differences. Begin by emphasizing many things on which you agree. Emphasize that you both are striving for the same end and that the difference is method not purpose. Get the other person to say ”Yes, yes,” and keep them from saying “No.” When they say no, they become nervous, and their pride demands to stay consistent with it. When they say “yes”, they become more accepting and have an open attitude.

6. Let the other person do a big part of the talking.

Don’t try to win others by talking way too much about yourself. People know more about their businesses and problems than you do. Ask them questions and let them tell you a few things. Pay attention, listen patiently and don’t interrupt.

7. Let the other person feel like it’s their idea.

You believe in ideas you discovered yourself more that ones that are handed to you. So isn’t it wiser to make suggestions and let the other person find the conclusion? No one likes to feel that they are being sold something or told to do a thing. We like acting on our own ideas and doing things we want.

8. See things from the other person’s point of view.

Try to put yourself in other people’s place, ask yourself “How would I feel or react if I was in their shoes.” Success in dealing with people depends on you being sympathetic with the other person’s viewpoint. For a conversation to be cooperative, you need to show that you consider the other person’s ideas and feelings as important as your own.

9. Be sympathetic.

“If I were you, I would feel just like you do.” Most people you meet are hungry for sympathy. Give it to them and they will love you. If a piano teacher wants to convince a teenage girl to cut her long fingernails to help her play the piano. The teacher needs to sympathize with how beautiful the girl’s fingernails are, and how is it a big sacrifice to do it. Try to see the world from the other’s point of view, and sympathize with the way they see it.

10. Appeal to the nobler motives.

In order to change people, appeal to their nobler motives. If a newspaper published a photo of you that you don’t like, don’t send them: “please don’t publish it, I don’t like it”. But instead: “Please don’t publish it, my mother doesn’t like it.” Appeal to the respect we all have for motherhood; to nobler motives.

11. Dramatize your ideas.

Don’t present pure facts. Try to dramatize them, it will make a big difference.

12. Throw a challenge.

The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. That is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression and to prove their worth, to excel and to win. Challenges utilize the desire to excel and to feel important.

Part four: How to change people without offending them?

1. If you need to criticize, begin with praise.

It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points. It’s like a dentist who begins their work by a pain-killer. You still get the drilling, but it wasn’t as painful.

2. Call attention to mistakes indirectly.

“We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term, and by continuing the same efforts next term, your algebra grade can be up with all the others.” Notice the parent said “and” and not “but you should work on algebra”. Calling attention to mistakes indirectly works better with sensitive people who would resent it when given any direct criticism.

3. Talk about your own mistakes first.

Admitting one’s own mistakes can make a person more receptive and convince them to change their behavior.

4. Don’t give orders.

Questions like: “You might consider this?” or “Do you think that would work?” are much better than direct orders. Save people’s pride and give them a feeling of importance.

5. Let the other person save face.

If we are definitely right and the other person is wrong, causing someone to lose face will only do harm and destroy ego.

6. Praise every slight improvement.

When you praise even the slightest improvement, you inspire the other person to keep improving.

7. Give the other person a reputation to live up to.

If someone did good work in the past, but started to turn in work with less quality, a good idea is to remind them that they always did outstanding work. Give them a fine reputation to live up to, and they will make huge efforts rather than prove you wrong.

8. Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.

Praise the things the other person does right, and minimize their errors. If you tell your child, spouse or employee they’re dumb and doing it all wrong, you’ll destroy every incentive to try to improve. If you do the opposite: be liberal with encouragement and let the other person know you have faith in their ability, they will practice till they can excel.

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Written by Basile & Ali