2. The Secret to Dealing with People: Give Honest and Sincere Appreciation
There is only one way to get people do anything: Make them want to do it. Of course, you can force them to do things they don’t want to do if you threaten them with violence or financial loss, but these crude methods have serious negative consequences.
The idea is simple. People do what you want if you give them something they want in exchange for it. What do people want? Other than basic needs and a comfortable life, we all want and need to feel great, important, or appreciated. If you can satisfy this basic hunger in people, you can get people to do anything for you.
People want appreciation so badly that some people literally go crazy trying to get it, like when they suffer delusions of grandeur and believe themselves to be famous historical figures such as Napoleon Bonaparte or Jesus Christ. If people are so hungry for importance that some people twist reality to get it, imagine how much cooperation we could get from everyone if we provide them with honest appreciation every time they deserve it!
Charles Schwab was one of the first Americans to earn an annual salary of one million dollars as president of United States Steel Company. He was picked by Andrew Carnegie for the job. In 1921, when he was only 38 years old, he left U.S. Steel to take over the then-troubled Bethlehem Steel Company and rebuilt it into one of the most profitable companies in America. Why did Carnegie pay Schwab $3,000 per day? Was Schwab a genius? No. Did he know more about manufacturing steel than anyone else? Nonsense! He had many men working for him who knew more about that than he did.
Schwab said he was paid his amazing salary mostly for his ability to deal with people. Here is his secret in his own words: “I consider my ability to arouse enthusiasm among my people the greatest asset I possess, and the way to develop the best that is in a person is by appreciation and encouragement. There is nothing else that so kills the ambitions of a person as criticisms from superiors. I never criticize anyone. I believe in giving a person incentive to work. So I am anxious to praise but loath to find fault. If I like anything, I am hearty in my approbation and lavish in my praise.”
Schwab further said, “In my wide association in life, meeting with many and great people in various parts of the world, I have yet to find the person, however great or exalted his station, who did not do better work and put forth greater effort under a spirit of approval than he would ever do under a spirit of criticism.” He explained that one of reasons for Andrew Carnegie’s phenomenal success was his habit of praising associates publicly and privately. Even on his tombstone, he had the following epitaph inscribed: “Here lies one who knew how to get around him men who were cleverer than himself.”
John D. Rockefeller also knew how to express sincere appreciation. When one of his partners lost $1 million for the firm with a bad buy in South America, Rockefeller knew he had done his best, and there was no point in criticizing him. So he congratulated him instead, for saving 60% of the money they invested. He told him, “That’s splendid. We don’t always do as well as that upstairs.”
Wives leave husbands, and husbands leave wives, due to lack of appreciation. Those who would never think of letting their families go for days without food, nevertheless neglect to supply them the equally important appreciation they need for their happiness. A little appreciation goes a long way.
But, be careful to use appreciation instead of flattery, its treacherous imposter. Carnegie explained, “One is sincere, and the other is insincere. One comes from the heart out; the other from the teeth out. One is unselfish; the other selfish. One is universally admired; the other universally condemned.”
Get into the habit of sharing your appreciation for everything you admire or enjoy with those who have made such experiences possible for you.
Carnegie wrote: “The next time you enjoy filet mignon at the club, send word to the chef that it was excellently prepared, and when a tired salesperson shows you unusual courtesy, please mention it. [¶] Every minister, lecturer, and public speaker knows the discouragement of pouring himself out to an audience and not receiving a single ripple of appreciative comment. What applies to professionals applies doubly to workers in offices, shops, and factories, and our families and friends. In our interpersonal relations, we should never forget that all our associates are human beings and hunger for appreciation. It is the legal tender that all souls enjoy.”
3. “He Who Can Do This Has the Whole World with Him. He Who Cannot Walks a Lonely Way”: Make the People Want Something You Can Give
Everyone wants to talk about what they like. So if you want to influence other people, talk about what they want and show them how to get it. Carnegie wrote: “If, for example, you don’t want your children to smoke, don’t preach at them, and don’t talk about what you want; but show them that cigarettes may keep them from making the basketball team or winning the hundred-yard dash.” Even when we perform acts of charity, we do them because we want to experience the feeling of charity.
Henry A. Overstreet wrote in his book Influencing Human Behavior: “Action springs out of what we fundamentally desire … and the best piece of advice which can be given to would-be persuaders, whether in business, in the home, in the school, in politics, is: First, arouse in the other person an eager want. He who can do this has the whole world with him. He who cannot walks a lonely way.”
Andrew Carnegie, who began working for two cents an hour but who eventually gave away $365 million, learned that the only way to influence people is to talk in terms of what they want. Though he only had four years of education, he knew how to handle people. His sister-in-law had two sons away at Yale University who never wrote home even though their mother begged them to do so in her many letters to them. Carnegie was willing to bet $100 that he could get them to write him without even asking them to do it. Someone took his bet, so he wrote each of his nephews a long, letter with the usual niceties and a brief mention that he was sending them each a five dollar bill. But, he neglected to enclose the cash. He soon received letters from each of them thanking “Dear Uncle Andrew” for his kind letter—and you can imagine the rest.
One participant in Dale Carnegie’s course Stan Novak had a young son Tim who threw a tantrum the night before the first day of kindergarten. Stan decided to try something different than punishing Tim or ordering him to go. Instead, he asked himself, “If I were Tim, why would I be excited about going to kindergarten?” He and his wife made a list of all the fun things Tim would do there such as finger painting, singing songs, and making new friends. Then, the family put his idea into action through the following plan. Stan, his wife Lil, and his older son Bob all began finger painting at the kitchen table and had great fun. Soon Tim begged to participate. Stan said, “Oh no, you have to go to kindergarten to learn how to finger paint.” Then Stan began to enthusiastically tell Tim about all the fun he would have in kindergarten. The next morning, Stan found Tim sitting asleep in the living room chair. Stan asked Tim what he was doing there, and his son replied, “I’m waiting to go to kindergarten. I don’t want to be late.”
Dale Carnegie wrote: “Tomorrow you may want to persuade somebody to do something. Before you speak, pause and ask yourself: ‘How can I make this person want to do it?’” Once, he rented the grand ballroom of a New York hotel for 20 nights each season to present a series of lectures. At the beginning of one of those seasons, he was suddenly informed that he would have to pay almost 300% of the old price. All of the tickets had already been printed and distributed, and all of the announcements had been made. Of course, he didn’t want to pay the new price; but, what was the point of talking to the hotel manager about what he wanted when all they cared about was what they wanted?
Two days later, he visited the hotel manager. He told him, “I was a bit shocked when I got your letter, but I don’t blame you at all. If I had been in your position, I should probably have written a similar letter myself. Your duty as the manager of the hotel is to make all the profit possible. If you don’t do that, you will be fired and you ought to be fired. Now, let’s take a piece of paper and write down the advantages and the disadvantages that will accrue to you if you insist on this increase in rent.” Then, he took a sheet of paper, drew a line down the center, and wrote “Advantages” at the top of one column and “Disadvantages” at the top of the other. Under the “Disadvantages” column, he wrote “Ballroom free.” He told him: “You will have the advantage of having the ballroom free to rent for dances and conventions. That is a big advantage for affairs like that will pay you much more than you can get for a series of lectures. If I tie your ballroom up for 20 nights during the course of the season, it is sure to mean a loss of some very profitable business to you. Now let’s consider the disadvantages. First, instead of increasing your income from me, you are going to decrease it. In fact, you are going to wipe it out because I cannot pay the rent you are asking. I shall be forced to hold these lectures at some other place. There’s another disadvantage to you, also. These lectures attract crowds of educated and cultured people to your hotel. That is good advertising for you, isn’t it? In fact, if you spent $5,000 advertising in the newspapers, you couldn’t bring as many people to look at your hotel as I can bring by these lectures. That is worth a lot to a hotel, isn’t it?”
As he talked, he wrote these two disadvantages under the proper heading and handed the sheet of paper to the manager, saying: “I wish you would carefully consider both the advantages and disadvantages that are going to accrue to you and then give me your final decision.” He received a letter the next day informing him that his rent would be increased only 50% instead of 300%. He received this reduction without saying a word about what he wanted. He spoke only of what the hotel manager wanted and how he could get it. If he had, instead, stormed into his office in angry protest, an argument would have ensued. Even if he had succeeded in convincing him he was wrong, the hotel manager’s pride would have made it difficult for him to change his position.
Henry Ford said, “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.”
Most business letters focus on what the writer wants and not what the reader wants. An example of a letter that effectively focuses on what the reader wants is the following by Barbara Anderson, who worked in a bank in New York but needed to move to Phoenix, Arizona, to improve the health of her son. Using the principles she learned in Dale Carnegie’s course, she wrote to 12 banks in Phoenix:
“My ten years of bank experience should be of interest to a rapidly growing bank like yours.
“In various capacities in bank operations with the Bankers Trust Company in New York, leading to my present assignment as Branch Manager, I have acquired skills in all phases of banking including depositor relations, credits, loans, and administration.
“I will be relocating to Phoenix in May and I am sure I can contribute to your growth and profit. I will be in Phoenix the week of April 3 and would appreciate the opportunity to show you how I can help your bank meet its goals.”
Eleven out of the twelve banks she wrote invited her for an interview, and she eventually had a choice of banks’ offers to accept—all because she focused her letter on what the banks wanted instead of what she wanted.
Dale Carnegie wrote: “Thousands of salespeople are pounding the pavements today, tired, discouraged, and underpaid. Why? Because they are always thinking only of what they want. They don’t realize that neither you nor I want to buy anything. If we did, we would go out and buy it. But both of us are eternally interested in solving our problems. And if salespeople can show us how their services or merchandise will help us solve our problems, they won’t need to sell us. We’ll buy. And customers like to feel that they are buying—not being sold.”
RECAP OF THREE FUNDAMENTALS OF HANDLING PEOPLE
1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Make the people want something you can give.