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Winning friends and influencing people


How can we engage the people around us?  This article takes about 2 minutes to read.
Dale Carnegie wrote  ” How to win friends and influence people” in the 1930s.  It’s a book that has stood the test of time.  It speaks to a simple truth.  We connect and influence people by engaging with them in a friendly manner and finding out what makes them tick.  Behavioural economists and psychologists, such as the Nobel prize winner Daniel Kahneman, have researched this area extensively.  His findings are that rather than being rational, logical decision makers our decisions are often dictated by auto pilot thinking and also whether we connect positively at an emotional level with the person or the product.  Check out his book “Thinking Fast, thinking slow” for an eye opening read about how we really make decisions. 
It seems that we are often making a snap decision at a subconscious level and then the higher order functions of the brain come up with a rational argument to support our decisions.  This leaves us with the impression that we came to a decisions based on logic.  We remain blindly unaware of how our biases interfered with our decision-making.  As Kahneman says,  “we are blind to the obvious but also we are “blind to our blindness.”
How can we put this knowledge into practice?
But what does this mean practically at work? How can we engage colleagues, suppliers and customers?  An influential 19th inspirational theologian, G.K Chesterton noted,  “the real great man is the man who makes every man feel great." It’s a great line and one that echoes Dale Carnegies great book.
This is a summary of the bits of the book I found most useful:

  • Become genuinely interested in other people.
  • Remember that a person's name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  • Be a good listener.
  • Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  • Talk in terms of the other person's interests.
  • Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
  • Smile.
  • Begin a conversation in a friendly way.
  • Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
  • Start with questions to which the other person will answer yes.
  • Let the other person do a great deal of the talking.
  • Let the other person feel the idea is his or hers.
  • Try honestly to see things from the other person's point of view.
  • Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
  • Appeal to their nobler motives.
  • Understand the difference between dialogue and debate – understand that we all have a view and share in the truth – create a new truth in the space between you through dialogue, though understanding each others experience and views
  • Don't habitually criticise, condemn, or complain. When you need to do this focus on the action of the individual.
  • Criticise the action whilst maintaining positive regard, respect and kindness for the person
  • Show respect for the other person's opinions.
  • If you're wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
  • Introduce your ideas in an expansive way – use interesting stories and analogies to engage the person
  • Engage people - Throw down a challenge.
  • Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
  • Ask questions instead of always giving direct orders.
  • Let the other person save face.
  • Praise every improvement.
  • Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to

How we actually make choices

This is one of Daniel Kahneman’s great TED Talks about how we get confused between our “perceiving” self and “remembering self”.  The two are two very different things. For anyone working in finance wishing to understand how people actually make decisions Kahneman is a mine of information and a must read.

Our next mindfulness course is in Sydney in March