Dale Carnegie is the granddaddy of all things success. He is famously known as the author of “How to Win Friends and Influence People” which is a book about attaining success in all aspects of life. His main theme was that in order for a person to be successful, he needed to win the favour of others first. Carnegie (1937) stated that financial success is due 15% to professional knowledge and 85% to the ability to express ideas, to be a leader and to arouse enthusiasm among people. How do we establish these long lasting, successful relationships?. Thanks to Carnegie’s book, we now have a sure-fire way to not only attain, but build and establish a successful career.
Stepping Stones for Attaining the Dream Career
We are very much aware that the first step to obtaining your dream career is getting hired first. That means filling out resumes and sitting through tiresome interviews convincing employers about yourself. What we fail to realise is how much employers require you as well.
1) Arouse in the other person an eager want
Does the statement above sound cryptic to you? It hardly is. Dale Carnegie’s point was simple, create in your employer a need to have an employee like you. Employees are the backbone of any successful company. Just by attesting to your attributes alone is not enough. Instead, do research and find out the many areas the company is lacking. Then state how you as an employee are equipped with the skillsets useful, in solving the problems the company might be facing. An employer wants a person who is genuinely interested in working for the company, not another worker interested in a paycheque. Don’t gloat about your level of experience or your vast education. Rather, interest the manager on how you can better the company.
2) Be real
Share in your personal background and the passion you have towards the company. Engaging employers about your motivation to achieve success helps in relaying your interest in working for them. More often than not, employers are interested in you and what you can bring to the company. Display an attitude of enthusiasm and genuine interest. Remember, employers are humans too. Our goal is not to manipulate the employer, rather to present the necessity of hiring you as their employee.
Winning the favour of Colleagues
Joining a company would mean working with hundreds to thousands of other employees. As you may well know, the new hire always gets the short end of the stick. Carnegie had methods of overcoming these problems. His principles were:
3) Speak in a friendly manner
He likened this attitude towards that of a dog. Carnegie’s example was that dogs had no use in our lives, but we love them more than anything because of their genuine interest in us. In the same way, when you establish relationships with new people at work, it is important you approach them as yourself, with no ulterior motive. Speak in a low and gentle tone whilst using sentences with positive expressions such as “I am so glad to meet you” or “It’s wonderful to have you here”. Be interested in the person, his life, his interests and his work. Aim to create friendships and focus less on what you might gain from the other person.
4) Dazzle with a smile
In his book, Carnegie states that a heartwarming smile brings a good price in the marketplace. Businessmen who greet others with a smile has proven to strike triple the investments from clients compared to those with glum faces. Why? Research at Pennsylvania State University states that smiling, releases a rush of “happy” endorphins that creates an overall positive atmosphere (Grandey et. al, 2005). Not only do you enjoy your work, but you also affect those around you to have fun themselves. Colleagues are more willing to help or come to you for advice because of the positive energy you emit. Even employers find it easier to speak with employees who “lighten the mood”. In Carnegie’s own words, you must have a good time meeting people, if you expect them to have a good time meeting you.
5) Do not condemn or speak in a condescending manner
When you speak in a manner that belittles the other person, chances are you are losing their respect. Not only that, you might even be angering the person. Even if you are the boss, gloating and belittling will only reduce your authority in the workplace. In fact, many will choose to hate or ignore you. This doesn’t just affect one time deals but overall employee interest in their jobs. Some might even act to sabotage you or purposefully doing shoddy jobs to arouse your disapproval. Being mean negates any and everything you do or say, even if you are right about it. Only fools criticize and complain – but wise men practice self-control.
6) Respect others opinions
In many instances, we are met with opinions that might seem to us blatantly wrong. Even if their facts are completely unfounded, saying “You’re wrong!” not only kills the mood but it causes resentment from the other party. Rather, hear the other person out and together, examine the facts related to the situation. Understand their point of view on the situation and in a polite way, state facts that would help them view their mistake. Most times, people’s opinions come from a relevant source but are poorly worded. In other cases, they could be simply misguided. Listening and accepting other’s opinions not only give different angles to a case but also strengthens the facts of a case.
Communicating Effectively as Person in Power
Assuming leadership positions not only guarantees higher salaries but also more engagement with people and inevitably more problems. Nevertheless, to be successful we should be in good favour with everyone, employees, clients and colleagues. Good communication can not only win people hearts, but it also creates respect and understanding towards the communicator.
7) Remember NAMES!
Names represent the identity of each and every human being. No matter how complicated or common a name is, it is as distinctive as a person’s thumbprint. It makes a person feel special and important, especially when they are called by their first names. Carnegie wrote that people who were called by their first names instinctively accepted and thought of the other as their friend. They also felt obliged to return the favour by caring and helping the other party. Andrew Carnegie, a famous American industrialist, boasted on how remembering names allowed him to score profitable business deals and make powerful connections.
8) Get the other person saying “yes, yes’ immediately
We all get into arguments sooner or later. Whether it be with colleagues clients or bosses, as humans it is natural for us to disagree and make mistakes. In these situations, do not criticize or scold, rather get the other party to point out the mistakes themselves. Carnegie proposed the Socratic method of emphasizing the things that were agreed upon, not disagreed upon. This was by continuously getting a “yes” out of the other party.
Questions like “Would you want the project to be successful?” and “Are these mistakes affecting the project?” would get employees to most likely have a “yes” answer. They are more aware of their mistakes hence would work towards solving it. This technique allows the other party to understand that every project undertaken together is for the mutual benefit of both parties and not just one.
9) Obtain cooperation
Cooperation seems like a difficult thing to do but in actuality is too easy. Carnegie proposed the tactic of giving suggestions and inquiring to come up with a conclusion. Nobody likes to be sold ideas or told what the can or cannot do. However, if you ask buyers on their opinions of how products should work and suggestions to modify it, they are most likely going to buy the finished product. Buyers who invested their time and ideas believe the product is catered to and specialised just for them, hence they are prompted to buy it. Even employees were more likely to work overtime and put in more effort, when they had perceptive bosses.
10) Show a genuine interest
The most successful entrepreneurs are well-known for being exceptional conversationalists. Although, most conversationalists don’t actually talk, but they listen with full attentiveness and genuine interest. Even their body language displays their interest to the speaker!
Carnegie sets examples of how most business deals are made outside of the office, with conversations about anything other than business. When a person realises that you actually care and are interested about them, they are more willing to do business with you. It builds a sort of trust and respect between you and the client.
In conclusion, workplace environments thrive on respect and communication. Whether it is getting a job, making friends or scoring business deals, effective communication will help gain the approval of all those around you. And it is with this approval that you will go on to obtain success in not only your career, but also in familial and societal relationships.
- Carnegie, Dale. (1936). How to win friends and influence people. Retrieved from https://books.google.com.my/books/about/How_To_Win_Friends_and_Influence_People.html?id=1rW-QpIAs8UC&redir_esc=y
- Grandey, A. A., Fisk, G. M., Mattila, A. S., Jansen, K. J., & Sideman, L. A. (2005). Is “service with a smile” enough? Authenticity of positive displays during service encounters. Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes. 96 (1) 22, Retrieved from http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0749597804000743