Ol’ Dale Carnegie Is Still Right

In 1936, Dale Carnegie wrote one of the most popular self-help books of all time: How to Win Friends and Influence People. Despite the fact that the book was written more than 75 years ago, it is still widely read and has spawned leadership training courses all over the world. Carnegie wrote the book based on his experiences growing up and in his professional career. Part two of the book is about “Six Ways to Make People Like You.” Even though the advice may just sound good, numerous studies over the years have shown that there is real science backing up Carnegie’s techniques on how to get people to like you.

1) Become genuinely interested in other people. Studies based on positive psychology show that when conversations with people are “active and constructive” (as opposed to “passive and destructive”), people will be more responsive and receptive. Actively showing interest by being sincere and really wanting to understand who they are, where they come from and asking the right questions about them is very powerful.

2) Smile. Numerous dating studies show that smiling is one of the most attractive and influential features. People view things more positively when you smile, and it sets a chain reaction that can lead to more positive events.

One study shows that the best way to improve your smile is to do it slowly. Slower smiles lead to more positive evaluations. There is truth to the old song, “When you’re smiling, the whole world smiles with you.”

3) Remember that a person’s name is, to that person, the sweetest and most important sound in any language. Your name is an important part of your self-image. In many cultures, a name is your identity with deep meanings, and can affect how well you do in life. Research shows that people are more likely to comply with your requests if you use and remember their name. It creates instant familiarity, respect and a subtle connection. Interestingly, people with the same last name are more likely to marry each other.

4) Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Studies have shown that talking about yourself can give more pleasure than food or money! Forty percent of everyday speech is spent on telling others about what we think or feel. Harvard neuroscientists have shown that talking about ourselves triggers brain sensations of extra rewards and pleasure. You can see why personal Facebook and Twitter posts have skyrocketed!

5) Talk in terms of the other person’s interest. We like to talk about what interests us, and the more engaged we are in a conversation, the better the outcome. Dating studies show if women were more interested in a conversation on a date, the more likely they were attracted to the guy.

6) Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely. Technology, certain aspects of culture and our environment may change over time, but it is clear that human nature has stayed the same. People want to be respected, feel important and be taken seriously.