How often do you think about human relations? Not the textbook definition, but rather the words at face value and their most basic meaning.
Are you conscious of how you are perceived by the people in your orbit?
If you work a professional job that may be how a colleague or an executive accept or even reject your contributions. For entrepreneurs and business owners, a review of how adept you are at human relations manifests as plum clients, more customers, and coveted contracts.
Human relations encompasses interpersonal skills and how your persona affects the people around you, all day, every day.
Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” is on the list of the top 100 non-fiction books of all time, and for good reason. It was one of the first, popular books written about not just how one should present themselves, but how to interact with others in the most successful way.
That the information written in this book which was first published in 1936 is outdated is irrelevant. Yes, the language and idioms are “old-timey”, if you will, and I urge you to ignore that and just read the book, as putting Carnegie’s text into practice will change your life and relationships for the better.
In addition to sage advice, what will capture your attention is how relevant the principles are today in comparison to what will soon be a century.
If you just recently heard the name, Dale Carnegie for the first time, the condensed biography is that he was working as an instructor of public speaking at the YMCA in NY, Virginia, Boston, Philadelphia. His classes became very popular, and a publisher invited him to combine his teachings into a book.
If you want to know more about me, know that I love this topic of Human Relations and all of its ancillary branches, some of which include:
I came into the human relations or “social skills” business by way of the high-end hospitality industry. The faux pas I observed and perspectives that I came to understand included:
The faux pas I observed were 100% avoidable. But they weren’t avoided because the perpetrator didn’t have the foresight to ask or learn how to handle a situation in advance.
Principle 2 in How To Win Friends and Influence People is ”Six Ways to Make People Like You”.
We want people to like us.
We need people to like us.
It doesn’t matter whether we’re entrepreneurs or leading big teams in a multinational corporation, or a mom or dad looking for a sitter or a play date situation.
We will not get very far if people don’t view us favorably.
IN ORDER FOR THIS TO OCCUR WE MUST BE AWARE OF THE PRINCIPLES OF LIKABILITY:
Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people
Think of something to say on the fly that will catch them off guard, make them smile, snap them out of wherever their head was even if just for a moment.
Kindness and acknowledgment have become a pattern interrupt that I have to say must be welcomed because I’ve never had anyone snap at me, and sometimes what was intended.
Principle 2: Smile
There’s a man named Ed who I see on my daily, sunrise run and he always gives me the gift of a big smile and an enthusiastic “Good Morning!” to me and one for my dog, Zoe. Ed’s greeting always gets my day off on a high note.
PRINCIPLE 3 SUGGESTS THAT YOU: Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language
How do you handle those occasions when you’re caught off-guard and forget a person’s name — maybe you bump into them on a Saturday afternoon in a grocery store and because it’s out of context because you’re accustomed to seeing them in business attire, their name escapes you.
Just ask them!
When I can tell a person has forgotten my name, I help them out and remind them.
When introducing yourself, give them an easy way to remember your name and not forget it.
I may say “Susan – S-u-s-a-n”
You may say ‘Karla with a K
Or “Paul – like Paul Revere, or “the midnight ride of”
Now those examples may sound silly, but you’ve immediately anchored your name visually in their mind.
They’re not even referring to you in particular, but another person with the same name, but still your ears were instantly like antennae.
Even in large, relatively impersonal corporations, knowing employees' names can make a difference worth billions of dollars and create lasting loyalty.
Be a good listener
Talk in terms of the other person’s interests
These days we call that Google Stalking. Now, you know there’s a big difference between mentioning a person’s alma mater or a past company they worked at where you know a few people and the verifiable and relevant commonalities you share and bringing up private information or anything about their children just because it was searchable online.
That’s only good if you want to quickly go from courteous to creepy.
Carnegie’s 6th and Final Principle to get people to like you is:
“Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely”
Being a people skills coach I sometimes feel like a doctor in social situations. What happens is someone asks what I do, I tell them, and they immediately have a scenario they would like diagnosed or for which they need a cure or an answer to how they should handle an interpersonal crisis.
Early on in this business, it would drive me crazy, then I came to realize that most people, from college students and recent grads to executives attending conferences where I was invited to speak, didn’t know the best course of action to take.
They saw in me a person who could give them solid guidance or just a sympathetic ear, and it became my pleasure to do both.
But still, we must be conscious not to bulldoze conversations, so paraphrasing or interjecting conversations with polite phrases like "I'm sorry to trouble you," and "Would you mind?" go a long way.
Making people feel seen, heard, understood, and important is the key to good and positive interactions.
If we can make people feel important in a sincere and appreciative way, then we will without question be viewed as likable and win all the friends we could ever dream of.
What are you going to do starting now – today – in the next interaction you have to let your co-worker, or your spouse, or partner, or maybe your child, your neighbor, or a customer know how much you value them?