Thursday, October 1, 2009

How to Win Friends & Influence People : Part 10

j0399181 This part of my continuing series on Dale Carnegie’s famous book “How to win friends and influence people”. We are now entering the third part of the book(four all together) called How to win people to your way of thinking. The first chapter in this section is called:

You can’t win an argument

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. – Benjamin Franklin (Quote used in book)

No doubt that some people actually enjoy arguing. They may achieve some success but, have they really one over the hearts and minds of their adversary. Even if someone were to win a hotly debated subject it’s not likely the loser has changed his mind and is perhaps just weary of the fight.  In the quest to win the heart and mind of another you must listen to the other side and make them feel important. Second you should also give your opponent a way to save face or a way to back down gracefully. If you embarrass or beat down someone in victory you hardly gain any influence on them(the point of the book).

Some guidelines are suggested(from an article quoted in the book):

  • Welcome the disagreement.
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression.
  • Control your temper.
  • Listen first.
  • Look for areas of agreement.
  • Be honest.
  • Promise to think over your opponent’s ideas and study them carefully.
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest.
  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem.

These may be tough to remember in the heat of the moment. I think the idea is to not get into a battle in the first place and back off. Many times agreeing with them first can take the opponents ammunition away and can cool things down where issues can be discussed sanely.

Dale’s Principle: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.

Next chapter: A sure way of making enemies – and how to avoid it.

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