Emerson said, “good manners are made up of petty sacrifices”. This quote was found in my recent read of Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People. Copyright 1936, this book has been in circulation for a long time. The examples are dated, but it brought the simple ways to be influential to life. Here are some of my favorite techniques Carnegie outlines in his book.
- If you want honey don’t kick over the beehive.
- It may be a kid in your ministry, a volunteer, or your supervisor and you have some expectation of them they are not delivering. Be cautious in your approach to elicit your desired action. The big warning is to never criticize someone. In fact Carnegie says, “realize that criticism are like homing pigeons they always return home.”
- Give honest and sincere appreciation
- There is a difference in appreciation and flattery, which is, “flattery is telling the other person precisely what he thinks of himself.” Appreciation on the other hand is sincere and honest. You are not saying what you know the other person wants to hear, unless it is true. This does not take a lot of effort, and it is fun to celebrate what makes people great.
- Become genuinely interested in people
- “You can make more friends in two months by becoming genuinely interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” This one struck a chord in me. Especially when I first meet people.
- Carnegie tells a story of a wealthy woman, who spent lost of money on her clothes trying to impress people at a dinner party, but “she didn’t realize what everyone knows: namely, that the expression one wears on one’s face is far more important than the clothes one wears on one’s back.” A smile warms everything. It is disarming, natural, and inclusive. Without words you can make a person’s walls come down.
This is a short list of many great tips Carnegie produces in his classic. I suggest you pick it up for a quick read. Ultimately, what I took from this book was to honor and remember the simple things. We have all sorts of models and theories on how to maximize a business or improve your ministry, but at a fundamental level you will fail if you fall short here.