In 1912, the year the Titanic sank, Dale Carnegie began teaching classes at the New York YMCA on public speaking. In his classes he taught people in business how to get up on their feet and speak. As he taught the classes he soon realized that in addition to public speaking skills, his class members “needed still more training in the fine art of getting along with people in everyday business and social contacts.”
He began a search for a text that could accompany his class that would help them learn about the principles of getting along with others. He wanted a book that would be practical, that these people could use to learn and practice these skills. He found exactly zero such books. No book like that had ever been written.
As a result, Mr. Carnegie began compiling his list of principles on how to get along better with people. It started as a small index card that the class members could carry with them. That card grew in size and became a leaflet. Eventually he set out to write the book for which he’d searched. He included research from the greatest minds of his time, and through history on his subject. He interjected stories from everyday life that would be familiar to the readers, and he sprinkled in stories he’d heard in his classes about his class members’ experiences.
Finally, in 1936, How to Win Friends and Influence People was published. Today there are hundreds of self-help books on the market. You can find titles to suit any need you may have for increasing your effectiveness. But, How to Win Friends and Influence People, was the first of its kind. It set the stage for, and created the genre that hundreds of authors have followed since.
I took the Dale Carnegie class in Human Relations in the autumn of 2000. In the 12 weeks of that class I learned more than I had bargained for. I started the class as a skeptic. How could a quaint class on public speaking help me, and accomplished speaker and seasoned professional, to become more effective? I was taking the class to check a box that a supervisor had set before me. Over the span of those 3 months, I learned that the class was about much more than public speaking. The speaking part of the class, while exciting and useful, was but a vehicle for the real purpose of the class. That real purpose was to increase my self-confidence, strengthen my people skills, improve my communication, develop my leadership, and reduce stress and worry.
I found the class to be somewhat transformational in my life. I learned how little I knew about human relations, but more importantly, I learned how to improve. The 30 human relations principles within How to Win Friends and Influence People became the framework for my improvements in relationships with others. Over the last 14 years, I have done my best to incorporate these principles into my everyday life. Like others, I struggle from time to time with some or all of the principles, but I try always to come back to them to help me reset my course.
Over the next 6 weeks, I am going to publish a series of posts on the 30 Human Relations Principles contained within How to Win Friends and Influence People. I intend to publish one principle each week day, beginning on Monday, February 23, and ending on Friday, April 3. Over the course of these 6 weeks, I will write about each of the principles, what they mean to me, and my thoughts on how to incorporate them better in my daily life. As you read along with me, I hope you’ll find practical applications for yourself, and I welcome and encourage your comments on any of my entries.
I am not employed by the Dale Carnegie folks, and I don’t represent them in any way. These posts are merely my own thoughts on a book that has been in print for 79 years, and has been taught to millions of people, in over 70 countries worldwide.
If you find a strong interest in the ideas of the book, I encourage you to buy a copy. You can pick up paperback copies of the book for under $10 at nearly any bookstore, or online at Amazon.com. And, if your interest grows from there, you can look for a Dale Carnegie class in your area.
In the meantime, I hope you will come along with me on this journey.
Following is a list of the 30 Human Relations Principles, along with their projected publish date on my blog. I will be creating a sub-page of my blog which lists the principles and has links to my posts on them.
Become a Friendlier Person
- Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. (February 23)
- Give hones, sincere appreciation. (February 24)
- Arouse in the other person an eager want. (February 25)
- Become genuinely interested in other people. (February 26)
- (February 27)
- Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. (March 2)
- Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. (March 3)
- Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. (March 4)
- Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. (March 5)
Win People to Your Way of Thinking
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. (March 6)
- Show respect for the other person’s opinion. Never say “you’re wrong.” (March 9)
- If you are wrong, admit is quickly and emphatically. (March 10)
- Begin in a friendly way. (March 11)
- Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately. (March 12)
- Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. (March 13)
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. (March 16)
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view. (March 17)
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. (March 18)
- Appeal to the nobler motives. (March 19)
- Dramatize your ideas. (March 20)
- Throw down a challenge. (March 23)
Be a Leader
- Begin with praise and honest appreciation. (March 24)
- Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. (March 25)
- Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. (March 26)
- Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. (March 27)
- Let the other person save face. (March 30)
- Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. Be “hearty in your approbation and lavish in your praise.” (March 31)
- Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to. (April 1)
- Use encouragement. Make the fault seem easy to correct. (April 2)
- Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. (April 3)