Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking

8:23 PM Amer Bekic 0 Comments

Third Part (summary) of the book How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
This is gonna be a bit long but worth a read I believe. Keep in mind that our goal here is to change the opinion of the person and get the outcome that we want from the interaction. The main point of this post is that you win arguments emotionally, not rationally. Control their emotions and you are gonna be the winner.

1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.


“You can’t win an argument”


Most of us are drawn to argue with others when we think that we’re right about something and the other person is wrong. We think that if we explain to that person our knowledge to the topic and give rational arguments, we are going to make him change his opinion. Well, that does rarely happen, most people even if they are proved wrong, they will feel resentment and a sense of inferiority, this will result not liking us at all. Not to mention that he will not likely change his opinion at all, cause arguing makes the other person feel even more firmly convinced that he is right.

“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes; but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent's good will.”

Carnegie gives the following tips to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:
  • Welcome the disagreement. If there is some point you haven't thought about, be thankful if it is brought to your attention. It might have saved you from making a mistake.
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression. Our first natural reaction in a disagreeable situation is to be defensive. Be careful. Keep calm and watch out for your first reaction.

  • Control your temper. Remember, you can measure the size of a person by what makes him or her angry.

  • Listen first. Give your opponents a chance to talk. Do not resist, defend or debate. Let them finish!
  • Look for areas of agreement. When you have heard your opponents out, dwell first on the points and areas on which you agree. There are usually some things on which you can both agree.

  • Be honest. Look for areas where you can admit error and say so. Apologize for your mistakes. It will help disarm your opponents and reduce defensiveness.

  • Promise to think over your opponents' ideas and study them carefully. And mean it. Your opponents may be right. It is a lot easier at this stage to agree to think about their points than to move rapidly ahead and find yourself in a position where your opponents can say: "We tried to tell you, but you wouldn't listen."

  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest. Anyone who takes the time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are. Think of them as people who really want to help you, and you may turn your opponents into friends.

  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem. Suggest that a new meeting be held later that day or the next day, when all the facts may be brought to bear. Ask yourself if the opponents may be right or partly right.

2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “You’re wrong.”


“A sure way of making enemies -and how to avoid it”


Saying to a person “You’re wrong and I am going to prove it to you” is simply the worst thing you can do at the start of an argument. This happens because you put the person in the defensive.

When we say they’re wrong, we tell them we are smarter and we should teach them a thing or two. It arouses opposition and makes the listener to battle with you before you even start. People don’t care as much about ideas-arguments as they care about their self-esteem. Make your listener feel inferior and attacked and you will never alter their opinion, for you have hurt their feelings.

Instead what you should be doing is start with a polite manner. For example, "Well, now, look, I thought otherwise, but I may be wrong. I frequently am. And if I am wrong, I want to be put right. Let's examine the facts."

“You will never get into trouble by admitting that you may be wrong. That will stop all argument and inspire your opponent to be just as fair and open and broad-minded as you are. It will make him want to admit that he, too, may be wrong.”

3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.


Carnegie tells a story when a policeman caught him for the second time having his dog without a muzzle in the park. The first time the policeman had warned him strictly that it was against the law. The second-time Carnegie had no excuses. He was wrong. What Carnegie did was to immediately admit his mistake, criticize himself and tell the policeman that he was guilty and had no alibis. The policeman didn’t get the chance to say a word before Carnegie started to talk. When Carnegie stopped, the policeman said softly to him that he was overreacting, he also told him that he can take his dog to the other side of the park where he “wouldn’t see him”.

Why did the policeman react softly? It is because the policeman being human, wanted a feeling of importance, so when Carnegie began to condemn himself, the only way he could nourish his self-esteem was to take the magnanimous attitude of showing mercy.

Next time you make a mistake, instead of defending yourself admit your wrongdoing. This will disarm the other person and make him act empathetically.

“Any fool can try to defend his or her mistakes - and most fools do - but it raises one above the herd and gives one a feeling of nobility and exultation to admit one's mistakes.”

4. Begin in a friendly way.


“A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall”


It is far better to be friendly and understanding than be forceful and angry when you’re having a conversation. If we try to approach a person by being hostile to them, the only thing we are going to get is to make them even more unreceptive against us. Instead, we should be friendly and make the other person understand that we actually have more things in common than differences.

"If you come at me with your fists doubled," said Woodrow Wilson, "I think I can promise you that mine will double as fast as yours; but if you come to me and say, 'Let us sit down and take counsel together, and, if we differ from each other, understand why it is that we differ, just what the points at issue are,' we will presently find that we are not so far apart after all, that the points on which we differ are few and the points on which we agree are many, and that if we only have the patience and the candor and the desire to get together, we will get together."

5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.


“The secret of Socrates”


When starting a conversation with someone, try to point out the things that you both agree as much as possible, get them to say “yes”. According to Professor Overstreet, when a person says “no” it’s very difficult to make him change his answer. That happens because people want to stay consistent with what they have said previously, especially when it’s something which they denied in the first place. So, the best strategy is to begin with the things which you both agree, this way you will give an affirmative direction to the conversation.

Socrates did the same thing. He would ask questions with which his opponent would have to agree. He kept on winning one admission after another until he had an armful of yeses. He kept on asking questions until finally, almost without realizing it, his opponents found themselves embracing a conclusion they would have bitterly denied a few minutes previously.

6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.


“The safety valve in handling complaints”


Let people talk themselves out. Let them explain their problem and situation, they probably know better than you about it. Don’t try to interrupt them even if you don’t agree with what they’re saying. Ask them questions and try to understand them.

If you want to make friends, let them talk about themselves, they care more about their accomplishments than yours.

“If you want enemies, excel your friends; but if you want friends, let your friends excel you.”

7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.


“How to get cooperation”


We usually have more faith in our ideas than on other people’s ideas. Wouldn’t it be better if instead of forcing our ideas to other people, make them feel like our idea is theirs? People don’t like being told what to do, they want to feel autonomous, they prefer to act independently.

It is much wiser to give suggestions in a way that the other person will come to the conclusion that we want, hence make them think of the idea we had in mind in the first place is theirs. This can work wonders on people of higher authority than yours. Don’t tell the boss your idea completely as he will for sure try to change it, give him the half solution and help him work his way out to the conclusion that you want. This way his ego will be boosted and he will passionately support the idea as he will think it was his own.

8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.


“A formula that will work wonders for you”


A person might be wrong, but would he insist if he didn’t think he was right? Instead of criticizing and condemning them, we should try to understand them. There’s always a reason behind a person’s opinion, maybe if we put ourselves in their situation we might be able to understand them. Ask yourself “how would I react if I were in his shoes?”

“There is a reason why the other man thinks and acts as he does. Ferret out that reason - and you have the key to his actions, perhaps to his personality. Try honestly to put yourself in his place.”

9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.


“What everybody wants”


One of the easiest ways to stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively is to be understanding and sympathetic.

The phrase: “If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.” can work wonders to any person you are interacting with. Sympathizing with the other person’s view and putting ourselves in their shoes will make the other person more positive towards our views. People strive for recognition of their troubles and ideas.

10. Appeal to the nobler motives.


“An appeal that everybody likes”


A person usually has two reasons for doing something: one that sounds good and a real one. The real reason will usually be considered by the person himself, but it’s our duty to make them think about the nobler one.
All people being idealists at heart want to find something more, something nobler which will enable them to make action. A deed which will boost their pride, boost their self-esteem, honor their commitment.

Dale Carnegie gives an example when a landlord appealed to a tenant’s nobler motives to make him commit to his contract which said that he had to stay for at least a couple of months. The tenant wanted to move out but the landlord managed to change his decision by telling him: “I have listened to your story, and I still don't believe you intend to move. Years in the renting business have taught me something about human nature, and I sized you up in the first place as being a man of your word. In fact, I'm so sure of it that I'm willing to take a gamble.”.

11. Dramatize your ideas.


“The movies do it. TV does it. Why don’t you do it?”


Watching commercials can help us understand this. Usually advertisers will compare their product with their competitor’s product and show the difference in the results. Other advertisements include happy people using the product, “expert scientists” saying that it’s the best thing out there.

Instead of using words, advertisers like to dramatize, they like to show the advantages of what is being sold instead of just “telling” them.

This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn't enough. The truth should be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You should use showmanship. The movies do it. Television does it. And you will have to do it if you want attention.

12. Throw down a challenge.


“When nothing else works, try this”


People love challenge and competition. That’s what games do, they give the person a reward, an achievement every time they complete something. Things get far more interesting, if you can add a “game” element to it. In the recent years, gamification has been a very genuine way to motivate people. It doesn’t only work on children, but on also on employees. It gives people a chance for self-expression, a chance to prove their worth and win.

As Charles Schwab said, “The way to get things done is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel."