Whether or not his name is familiar to you, you are probably familiar with Dale Carnegie’s work. Mr. Carnegie is the author of the extremely influential book How to Win Friends and Influence People, as well as a lecturer and one of the most influential self-improvement coaches of all time. You may avoid reading his books or delving further into his work because you assume that since they were written around 75 years ago that the information would never be relevant in today’s world. However, just because we are more likely to be influencing people through Twitter than by paying a social call does not mean that the lessons of Dale Carnegie are not still relevant today.
“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”
Mr. Carnegie may have written this line decades before social media was a thought, but it is truer than ever before. When you are looking to create friendships, or more accurately customers or followers, you can build these connections much more easily if you focus on the other parties more than yourself. Spend time cultivating your blog, webpage or social media account to be easy to read and make it interactive! People love to talk about themselves, so if you can give people a opportunity to do so, there will be an immediate rise in interactions on your pages.
“There are four ways, and only four ways, in which we have contact with the world. We are evaluated and classified by these four contacts: what we do, how we look, what we say, and how we say it.”
These four methods of contact are still accurate today—and you still ARE evaluated by these choices you make. Even when you are posting on your company’s Facebook account, you have a choice in how you present yourself and how you express your message. If you are not a talented wordsmith, you may want to hire freelance writers to help you figure out the perfect wording. Remember that every interaction you have online could remain “on the record” for years to come, so take care with the words you choose.
“There is only one way to get anybody to do anything. And that is by making the other person want to do it.”
This advice is timeless. If you can convince someone that they want to do something, they will do it. This bit of advice is as useful when you are trying to get a customer to subscribe to your email newsletter as it was 75 years ago when it was written. Show, do not tell, why your customers or potential customers should take the action you want them to take—the results will follow.
While there are dozens of books written each year that show you “new” ways to improve yourself and grow your business, you cannot argue with the classics. Dale Carnegie’s teachings may be dated, but the information within should be required reading for anyone who wants to tap into their full social potential.
Tracy S is a freelance writer available on WriterAccess, a marketplace where clients and expert writers connect for assignments.