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How to Win Friends & Influence People: Real Life Applications Report

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Dale Carnegie illustrates in his book, How to Win Friends & Influence People, ways to make people like you, ways to win people in your way of thinking, and how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment.  Carnegie, also, delivers more general techniques for simply handling people.  In this applications report, a brief collection of the ways to win friends and influence people are used in real life scenarios.  Simple techniques for dealing with people are not discussed, as more detailed ways to change and influence others with the ability to and, also, have others appreciate and like you are very important for each person to use in their careers, relationships with others in civic/community groups, and in one’s network of friends and family.  Many examples will be used that represent the current state of political interaction, those between candidates, the media, and supporters, as these examples are timely.

It is from the first institution of all human life (the family) that one receives his or her name.  Carnegie urges us to “remember that a man’s name is to him the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”  This is very important in everyday interactions, as when one pronounces someone name incorrectly, it diminishes the value that that person believes they have in the mind of the speaker.  Using a person’s wrong name can also be a form of latent hostility, when a person does not like another and using this as an irritant.  An example of this was in the first presidential election between Barack Obama and John McCain.  Senator McCain refused to either make eye contact with Senator Obama or use his first name what-so-ever.  McCain showed an obvious dislike of his adversary and him not using Obama’s name, whereas Obama used McCain’s first name often, spoke volumes about this simple tactic of dismissing a person and latently showing aggression, by not speaking his name.  Obama, obviously bothered by this called McCain by the wrong first name, it may have been purposeful or a slip from the hostility of the debate.  Therefore, one should always correctly use another’s first name and use it often.

Again the debates illustrated the statesmanlike nature of Obama and the adversarial position of McCain, as Carnegie points out; “show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, ‘You’re wrong.’ and if you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.”  While Obama repeatedly agreed with some of McCain’s views, political analysts agreed that McCain was aggressive in telling the public that Obama was wrong during the last debate.  This aggression, many of the analysts concluded, would undoubtedly hurt the McCain campaign as people like to see agreement and less hostility in candidates.  Time will tell if this disrespect will have major change on the elections in November.

During the current political campaign, many people advocate for their candidate of choice, through either working directly with a campaign or speaking with others. It is of the utmost importance to use Carnegie’s ideas to influence people by using several of his concepts, one is to “try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.”  He, also believes it is important to “be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.”.  These are great examples of how to effectively influence people without alienating them.  When you are encouraging others to be a part of the campaign you support, it is important to show that you understand why they endorse one candidate over another without attacking their justifications.  One should not try to be objective and not become overwhelmed with emotion, as this clouds one’s ability to see another’s point of view.  Similarly, one should be sympathetic to the needs of others, such as problems with the economy, to inject this into a conversation.  Most importantly one should initiate these types of conversations to “begin with praise and honest appreciation”, as Carnegie mentions.  Simply saying that you appreciate someone being involved with educating oneself in politics, despite who they endorse is a wonderful way to get others to open up.

It is extremely hard to overlook obvious inconsistencies in the statements of others.  Criticism should be used with caution in dealing with others, as this can cause a person to lose their own objectivity when speaking with you or refuse to speak with you altogether.  But, when someone does relay information that is obviously incorrect, the point must be made to correct that.  Again, using campaigning as an example, a person might utter comments about your candidate of choice that comes from an unreliable source.  Instead of simply criticizing the person, Carnegie suggests that you “talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.”.  For, example you may point put that some sources of information are incorrect and that you, yourself have relied on sources that have given you false information.  It is easy to relate to this type of error and while correcting the false information, simply say how easy it can be to be misled and how you, personally, make sure that you fact-check information before believing it.

Following the previous paragraph, it becomes clear how awkward it can be to confront a person, who is spreading false information, passint it as truth.  Carnegie believes that it is extremely important to “ask questions instead of giving direct orders.”  Therefore, instead of demanding that a person reveal his source (and this could be not only in the context of politics, but in gossip at work, or others untrue statements that one hears) a person should ask them where their information comes from.  getting angry and demanding in finding out the source of information will but the other person on the defensive.  Asking them calmly and with interest, where the information was gathered is the best way to approach these types of issues.

It is extremely embarrassing for people to be proven wrong, as the last two paragraphs illustrate ways to confront people when they are incorrect in information they provide others. In order for the person confronted to be open to further discussions with you and to be able to feel more educated in knowing the truth, rather than humiliated by their mistake, one must help the person deal with being corrected.  Carnegie suggests that you should “let the other person save face.”  You may tell the person how interesting he or she has made your day by bringing up such an interesting topic and tell others that the other person is a person, who has many connections to get information, showing that the person is resourceful even if they are implemented to wrong resources.

Again, if one is so inclined to become a part of the political process, Carnegie has advice on how to assist a person in how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment.  He recommends that you “give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.”  Making it clear that this is one of the most important elections in history will relay to the other person that they are important and will be a part of history with a fine story to tell to future generations.  Showing the magnitude of the election of this year will supply that person with a reputation that they will, hopefully, wish to live up to.

Finally another important method to engage is to implement Carnegie’s idea to “Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct.”.  Many people may be disillusioned with the political process and the, sometimes unreliable information supplied to them through the media and others. They may be upset with their current situations and the ability to change them.  Encouraging them to use the political process to have their concerns voiced is important and being a role model to them is a huge encouragement.  Although, faults made by higher powers that make everyday life hard (such as gasoline prices, food prices, taxes, etc…) may be difficult to correct, the faults of not becoming part of the problem, but part of the solution are easily corrected.  You must tell people that if everyone believed that they could do nothing, then nothing would be done.  Use the encouragement of your own passion and the idea that one person can make a difference, its a simple solution that must come with a simple change of mindset.

In conclusion, Dale Carnegie in his book How to Win Friends & Influence People has slated out a set of strategies to help do just what the title suggests.  His book, although, written over half a decade ago will remain timely and is especially useful to the timely issue of political influence today.  These real life scenarios can be applied with great results, influencing not only people in one’s own circle, but even to a higher level.  These scenarios can be used as a sort of guidebook for those involved in campaigning or can be used in other areas, using the same basic premises set forth.

Works Cited

Carnegie, D.  How to Win Friends & Influence People.  (1936).  New York, NY: Simon & Schuster.

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