How to Win Friends and Influence People
by Dale Carnegie
291 pages, Simon and Schuster, 2009 (Revised Edition)
As PR professionals we are expected to be experts in effective communications and human relations.
However, we often make silly mistakes which can hinder our success and prevent us from reaching our potential.
In response to this problem, Dale Carnegie wrote the first book to ever comprehensively cover the topic of human relations.
That was in 1936, and for over 75 years his book has continued to educate and inspire people to better their lives. Over 15 million copies have been sold in all editions and it has been translated into 36 languages.
Additionally, an audio book is available for those that prefer to listen on the go.
The author’s main objective for writing this book is to help the reader solve the biggest problem they face, which is getting along with and influencing people in their life.
The book consists of four parts: three fundamental techniques in dealing with people, the six ways to make people like you, the twelve ways to win people to your way of thinking, and the nine ways to change people without arousing resentment.
Relevant examples through student testimonials, historical events, successful leaders, and personal accounts make this book enjoyable to read and easy to understand. Each chapter delivers a lesson in how to be a better communicator and is summed up in a simple principle to follow. Some of the key principles from each chapter are:
Part one: “Don’t criticize, condemn or complain”
Part two: “Become genuinely interested in people”
Part three: “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it”
Part four: “Begin with praise and honest appreciation”
The importance of people skills in the business environment cannot be understated. Carnegie’s investigation into how vital people skills are in relation to how successful a person is in business reveals the following:
“Investigations revealed that even in such technical lines as engineering, about 15% of one’s financial success is due to one’s technical knowledge and about 85% is due to skill in human engineering and ability to lead people”.
If that’s the case with engineering, how important is effective communication to a PR practitioner?
In the age of digital and social media, Carnegie’s techniques have proven to withstand the test of time and seamlessly translate into digital communication. His techniques are excellent tools in driving traffic to websites, receiving likes and positive comments, and properly handling negative people.
In 1936, people craved the need to feel important, to be rewarded, and to be complimented. Since then, nothing has changed and people still continue to desire those things. It’s imperative for PR practitioners to enhance their digital and social media skills by implementing Carnegie’s techniques into their work and everyday life.
In my opinion, every PR student should read this classic book and it should be incorporated into all communication classes offered at university level. Dale Carnegie’s book will continue to be successful because his techniques and lessons are proven to work like magic. The author spent his entire professional life devoted to solving the biggest problem that everyone faces, so why not take advantage of his work and learn How to Win Friends and Influence People in your life?