Dale Carnegie's classic book, How to Win Friends & Influence People*, was first published in 1936 and has sold more than 15 million copies worldwide. Carnegie's book is a primer for how to be truly likable, genuinely kind, and lovingly followed.
Somewhat sadly, kindness and sincerity don't make for good drama, and most of the entertainment out there shows people at their most base, most selfish, and most cunning. It's easy to forget how a real leader should behave in light of the bad examples that have been set in recent years.
With that in mind, I'd like to expound on some of the tips from Carnegie's section on How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking. I highly recommend the whole book, as Carnegie's examples and stories are both entertaining and inspiring.
The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
This is not to say that you should be non-confrontational. When you know that a subject is likely to get tempers hot, be the first to cool down. Never approach a subject with hostility or anger. Trying to "win an argument" is a true exercise in futility.
Get the other person saying "yes, yes" immediately.
Begin on common ground, and appeal to points you know the other person will agree with. "Would you agree that..." is a great way to make certain you are on common ground. Keep that positive momentum as you segue into discussing what you want.
Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
What's more important - the credit for the idea, or the idea's success? If you can plant your ideas into the minds of others, and let them take credit for them on their own, you will be well on your way to achieving all that you desire.
Be sympathetic with the other person's ideas and desires.
Managers know that the best way to defuse an angry customer is to show empathy. Say things like, "I can imagine how upsetting this must be for you. I'd feel the same way." From there they are ready to believe you're on their side, and much more apt to listen to what you have to say.
Remember, though, that the key is sincerity. If your attempts at being conciliatory are insincere, you'll find resistance to your ideas even stronger than before.
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*How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie, © 1936, Simon & Schuster, Inc.