If you haven't read Dale Carnegie's How To Win Friends and Influence People, it's a fantastic resource for anyone looking to hone their people skills. The book discusses a lot of principles that can be applied to our daily interactions with others, whether it be in a professional or personal situation.
Today I'm going to discuss a few of his ideas and how they can be applied to the online world.
Carnegie was a master at understanding people and their motivations which naturally made him very successful personally and professionally. His observations allowed him to teach others how to interact with others and find their own success. Below are a few of the principles from his teachings that not only can be applied to the offline world, but can be used online as well.
Become Genuinely Interested in Other People
Remember the adage, “it's not about you, it's about them”? People like to talk about themselves and want to feel like they have a voice. They want to feel appreciated and important. If you're sincere in your offline dealings, people will naturally warm up to you.
Using this principle online really doesn't differ too much from its offline application. Since social media is meant to be social, you should be engaging with people who have similar interests as you. Remember, it's not all about you. Sharing information and being helpful provides value to your online community. Showing an interest in others and their interests will help you build a rapport.
“We are interested in others when they are interested in us.” – Publilius Syrus
Be a Good Listener. Encourage Others to Talk About Themselves
This makes perfect sense in the offline world and can easily be applied online. Ask thoughtful questions that encourage people to respond. Show a general interest in what the other person has to say. This principle goes hand in hand with the first principle mentioned above.
If you're genuinely interested in what the other person is saying, you'll no doubt be a good listener. Actively listening and asking thoughtful questions that naturally expand the conversation, helps encourage people to talk about themselves. They in turn will be more interested in you and what you have to say.
Show Respect for the Other Person's Opinions
Offline, you may have a disagreement with someone. Putting yourself in their position and looking at the issue from their point of view helps soften the situation and allows you to have a dialogue. Online, you're reaching a global population, a population of people with lots of different ideals and motivations with many not necessarily aligning with your point of view.
Carnegie encourages people to always show respect for the other person's opinion. He continues this principle by saying to never say “you're wrong” to another person. Having a blog, a business, or social media profile leaves you open for criticism and people will vent their frustrations, whether you want to hear them or not. It's important to appreciate the person for taking the time to make a comment, but it's also important to respect their opinion even if you don't necessarily agree with what they've stated. Be cordial and understanding in your online dealings while being a good listener will help you “win” any disagreements that arise.
How To Win Friends and Influence People is a fantastic book that I highly recommend reading. The three principles I discussed above are only a sampling of what the book provides and will no doubt make you a better communicator. At the very least, you'll have a better understanding of human nature and might find yourself having a few more friends after applying his principles.
So what say you? Have you read Carnegie's book? Have any favorite principles or quotes to share? Let's discuss in the comments.