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How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking (Part 1 of 12)

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.

Previous: Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely

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.

Listen first.

  • Do not resist, defend, or debate until the other person has a chance to talk.
  • Build bridges of understanding.

Look for areas of agreement.

Be honest.

  • 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

Up Next

Show respect for the other person’s opinions; never say, “You’re wrong.”


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