This summary of the ideas in Dale Carnegie's How to Win Friends and Influence People will help anyone more effectively build relationships and motivate others. The following has been reorganized and edited down to simply establish the book's core ideas for our modern reader. It should take less than five minutes to read. A more thorough overview, which includes examples, can be found here.
If you enjoy this summary, please purchase the book. You might also like my summary of Malcolm Gladwell's The Tipping Point.
The three fundamental tenets repeated throughout the book are highlighted in orange.
Building Personal Relationships
Never criticize, condemn or complain.
Self-criticism is extremely rare. Your criticism won't be welcome.
Criticism makes others defensive and resentful.
Positive Reinforcement works better.
Become genuinely interested in other people.
People are most interested in themselves.
Remember people's birthdays and other important details.
Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
Find the interests of others and talk about those things.
If you know nothing of their interests, ask intelligent questions.
Be a good listener.
Give your exclusive attention to others.
Urge others to talk about themselves. Ask pointed questions.
Make the other person feel important.
People yearn to feel important and appreciated.
Praise others' strengths and they'll strive to reinforce your opinion.
Use Names whenever possible.
Greet others with smiles and enthusiasm.
Smiling comes through even over the phone.
Selling your Ideas: Establish a Space for Cooperation
Avoid arguments: you can only lose.
Arguers will defend and embrace their previous positions.
Even "winning" will hurt the loser's pride and build resentment.
A Guide to avoiding arguments:
1. Welcome the disagreement. Be thankful for a new opinion.
2. Stay calm.
3. Listen first. Hear your opponents out.
4. Identify areas of agreement.
5. Admitting errors will make it easier for others to admit theirs.
6. If no resolution is found, postpone action and promise to explore the opposing perspective.
Begin in a friendly way.
Open conversation with sincere praise, appreciation and sympathy.
A friendly tone will allow others to broach discussions more openly.
Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
Eagerly listen to concerns to diffuse tension and build relationships.
Others need to finish spilling their ideas before listening to you.
Most people hunger for sympathy.
Tell them: "I'd feel the same way under those circumstances."
Respect others' opinions. Never say, "You're wrong."
People don't like to admit they're wrong and may take it personally.
If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
Demonstrate your willingness to rationally examine the facts.
If another is about to criticize you, don't let them start!
A harsh self-rebuke may prompt the others to soften their critiques.
Admitting errors clears guilt and everyone to move forward quickly.
Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
Another's perspective and motivation is the key to understanding their decisions, agenda and personality.
Frame requests in terms of what others find motivating.
Ask yourself: "Why would someone want to do what I'm asking?"
Selling your Ideas: Closing the Deal
Get the other person saying "yes, yes" as soon as possible.
Emphasize things all parties already agree on.
You will build momentum toward acceptance.
Dramatize your ideas.
It helps to make a visual, visceral demonstration.
Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
People are more committed to their own ideas.
Make suggestions and let others come to the desired conclusion.
Appeal to the nobler motives.
Appeal to ideals: a mother's love, personal character, integrity, etc.
Throw down a challenge.
Stimulate competition among co-workers.
Challenge someone's capabilities/self-perceptions.
Leadership: Giving Criticism & Driving Improvement
Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
It is easier to take criticism after some praise.
Look for things done well before calling attention to failings.
Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
The burden of criticism is easier to bear when shared.
It's motivating when another has overcome the same challenges.
Call attention to people's errors indirectly.
Direct, harsh criticism can destroy incentive to improve.
Suggest alternatives: "How user-friendly will this feature will be?"
Suggest that the idea isn't flawed; it's the environment or situation.
Let the other person save face.
Others will get defensive for fear of being embarrassed.
Additionally, always try to give criticism in private.
Make the fault seem easy to correct. Use encouragement.
Make faults seem easy to correct and new skills easy to learn.
Praise the slightest improvement and every improvement.
Praise reinforces the development of a desired behavior.
Make praise as specific as possible.
Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
Example: "You're quite capable, but your recent projects aren't up to your old standards."
Respecting others' capabilities will empower them to succeed.
Leadership: Motivating Others
Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
Example: "Would it make sense to organize these alphabetically?"
Try to make the other person happy about doing things you suggest.
Make others feel too important for tasks you don't want them to do.
Give out titles and authority: make others happy contributors
Step by Step Guide to movtivating others to do tasks:
1. Be Sincere. Don't promise what you can't do or deliver.
2. Know preciesly what it is you want the other person to do.
3. Be Empathetic. Try to understand what others want.
4. Focus on any benefits the other person might receive.
5. Explain how those benefits match the other person's wants.
6. Frame requests to communicate that the other person will personally benefit.