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How to make friends and influence people

How to win friends and influence people is a book written in 1936 by Dale Carnegie. This was a best selling book and the phrase entered the English language and has been paraphrased and used many times. Interacting with other people effectively is difficult and we can all try to do it better. Dale Carnegie thought there should be a course teaching people how to interact more effectively. Many retailers have such courses and it pays off.

Be nice

We all want people to be nice to us and so the first thing to remember is to be nice to others. Be polite and helpful. If you are in a position of power, a manager or leader of some kind. Try to think of yourself as a role model and lead by example. Remember peer pressure too, you can be a role model to people younger than yourself, but you also exert pressure on to people of the same age and status as yourself. Try to set an example for others to follow. If you set a bad example, if you are rude and uncouth, then you can expect that to become the culture that will be followed by suggestible people around you.


Don’t tell people what to do; don’t give them orders. Make requests and suggestions. Innuendo and things that are implied rather than spoken are effective ways to get a message across and influence others. Trying to convince someone can be a way to build resistance to your ideas. Telling someone the product you’re selling is the best thing since sliced bread and that they should buy it might make them resist the idea. Asking them what they think of the product is asking them to really think about it. They might them like the product and want to buy it. The subtle suggestion is more effective than the brute force hard sell.


Image is important, people have fixed ideas about what other people should look like. The policeman should wear a blue uniform, a nurse should wear a nurses’ uniform. We all wear some kind of uniform. We expect to see politicians in smart suits and we expect to see car mechanics in overalls. The uniform might be more subtle because the artist might wear something Avant Garde. The rock star will want to be seen as ‘cool’. The fashion model will want to be seen wearing the latest fashions, whatever they may be. Images can be positive or negative. The skin head hair cut with a hoody top might be seen as a negatively stereotyped ‘uniform’. Not the sort of dress to wear for a job interview perhaps…


Repetition works in advertising, which is essentially a method of influencing people.  Repetition combined with consistency is even more powerful when it comes to influencing people. A consistent image combined with a consistent behaviour pattern will be seen as reliable and non-threatening. However, it shouldn’t be done to the point of being boring.


Humour can be a good way of breaking the ice and establishing a basis for a relationship. It can also keep the relationship fun and light hearted. Most humour asks the recipient to be smart and to be clever. They have to be quite clever to get the joke so it enhances their self esteem and makes them feel good.

The old adage, do unto others, as you would have them do unto you; would seem to apply in most situations. There are also the finer points of successful interaction with others like listening and trying to understand their feelings and motivations that will make you better at making friends and influencing people.

What do you think? Have you say in the comments box. You can also follow me on Twitter.

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