These 80-Year Old Communication Tips Will Make You a Social Wizard

September 26, 2016

You know it, or at least you’ve probably heard of it. First published in 1936, Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People is one of the most successful books in American history. Arguably the originator of the whole self-help genre (for better or for worse), it is regularly listed as one of the most influential books of our time. 80 years later, it remains Amazon’s 11th highest selling non-fiction book of all time and has been read and referenced by everyone and their mother, from business magnates like Warren Buffet to characters in your favorite TV shows.

Here’s what you can learn from Dale Carnegie today:

Stop criticizing others.

People respond and learn much faster when met with praise for what they’re doing right instead of punishment for what they’re doing wrong. How many times have you been criticized and found yourself on the defensive, trying to justify your actions? Criticism can demotivate people when you are trying to inspire change. Focus on empowering others when you want to change a behavior. This approach can be difficult and may require more creativity on your end, but the end result will be well worth it.

Criticizing Others

Appreciate people in earnest.

Positive reinforcement is a must in your relationships, business or otherwise, but many people confuse a compliment with appreciation. While flattery is nice, meaningful praise is even better. This means finding something in a person’s behavior, work, or personality to compliment as opposed to making casual remarks about their tie for example – even if it’s a really awesome tie. This way you reinforce good habits and give people what they want most – to feel important and truly appreciated.

Take a genuine interest in people.

Dale Carnegie wrote,

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

What does this mean in practice? If you’re excited to see someone, greet him or her with genuine enthusiasm. Let the other person guide the conversation, get them talking about him or herself and really explore their interests or passions. Make sure to ask follow-up questions, like, “How did you get into taxidermy? Why squirrels in particular?” To make someone like you, the best thing you can do is show that you take a real interest in them even if your passions in life are a bit different than theirs.

To make someone like you, the best thing you can do is show that you take a real interest in them. Click To Tweet


It sounds simple, but remembering to bring a sincere smile with you every time you enter the room can change the way people feel when they’re around you. Simply put, people are attracted to those who appear warm and positive, so a smile will make others more receptive to you and your ideas.

Remember and use first names.

People love to hear their name. It’s a piece of their identity. Using their name makes them feel valued and important, whether you’ve just met them or have known them for years. Even if you’re in the group who says remembering names can be difficult, you aren’t out of luck here. A little effort can go a long way. The easiest way to remember names is not a pneumonic device or repeating it over and over in your head, it’s taking a genuine interest in who they are at the moment you two meet. Stay in the present and remain engaged. You’ll be remembering other people’s names in no time.

Avoid arguments.

According to How to Win Friends and Influence People, the only way to win an argument, is to avoid them whenever possible. Arguments often end in people feeling more certain of their own stances while causing strain in their interpersonal relationships. Even when there is a clear “winner,” the other person is more likely to feel resentment than to be genuinely swayed. Instead of going to battle unnecessarily, try welcoming opposing views and agree to disagree whenever possible.

Arguments often end in people feeling more certain of their own stances.. Click To Tweet

Avoid Arguments

Admit when you are wrong – and do it quickly.

When you own up to your mistakes, you show others that you are truly of high character. Admitting wrongdoing is never easy, so this action breeds respect from others. This action also shows others that you value their importance, and as an added bonus, this act of bravery may even boost your own personal sense of pride.

When you own up to your mistakes, you show others that you are truly of high character. Click To Tweet

Place yourself in the other person’s shoes.

We all want empathy not sympathy in life. Being empathetic means that you are able to understand what another individual is experiencing, while being sympathetic is often just feeling sorry for them. Empathy=understanding. We all want to feel understood, and being able to place yourself in someone else’s shoes is a key quality that the best leaders, influencers, and friends possess. 

Communication isn’t black and white: it is filled with grey areas. These tips will help you become more personable, stay in the moment, and lead to better relationships of all types. Go ahead and give them a try. and see what a difference they make in your day-to-day life! You might just win friends and positively influence people!