This is the tenth post in a multi-part series where I share the highlights of the sections/subsections of the book How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie.
How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking
Principle 1: The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it
- When arguing, why not let the other person save face? He didn’t even ask for your opinion.
- It puts someone in an embarrassing situation if trying to correct him in front of others.
- 9 out of 10 times, an argument ends with both people more firmly convinced that he is absolutely right.
- Suppose you triumph over someone in an argument, you’ll feel fine, but he’ll feel inferior and his pride will be hurt. He’ll resent your triumph.
- A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.
- When one yells, the other should listen because when two people yell there is no communication, just noise and bad vibrations.
How to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument
Welcome the disagreement.
- When two partners agree, one of them is not necessary.
- Be thankful that someone brings up a point you haven’t thought about.
- This is an opportunity to be corrected before you make a serious mistake.
Distrust your first instinctive impression.
- Your first reaction is usually to be defensive — keep calm.
Control your temper.
- You can measure the size of a person by what makes him angry.
- Do not resist, defend, or debate until the other person has a chance to talk.
- Build bridges of understanding.
Look for areas of agreement.
- Look for areas where you can admit error, and say so.
- Apologize for your mistakes; your apology disarms opponents and reduces defensiveness.
Promise to think over your opponent’s ideas and study them carefully (and mean it).
- Your opponent may be right.
- Sometimes it’s best to think first, then act.
Thank your opponent sincerely for their interest.
- Anyone who takes time to disagree with you is interested in the same things you are.
- Think of the other person as someone who really wants to help you.
Postpone action to give both people time to think through the problem
- Could my opponent be right? Partly right?
- Is there merit in his argument?
- Is my reaction one that will relieve the problem or relieve frustration?
- Will my reaction drive my opponent away or bring him closer to me?
- Will my reaction elevate the good estimation people have of me?
- Will I win or lose?
- What price will I pay if I win?
- If I’m quiet about it, will the disagreement blow over?
- Is this difficult situation an opportunity for me?
“If you argue and rankle and contradict, you may achieve a victory sometimes, but it will be an empty victory because you will never get your opponent’s good will.” — Ben Franklin
Show respect for the other person’s opinions; never say, “You’re wrong.”