To Have a Friend, One Must Be Friendly!

September 20, 2011

One of Dale Carnegie’s Five Drivers for Success is building people skills. Building relationships is an essential part of becoming a successful individual personally and professionally.  So what steps should we be taking to build these essential relationships?  The Dale Carnegie Building Relationships Model consists of 3 inter-related goals.

  1. Show genuine interest in the other person
  2. Focus on the other person
  3. Be a strong conversationalist
We start by showing genuine interest and asking people about things that interest them.  Some examples of conversation topics include:
  • What is the your name?
  • Tell me about where you live.
  • Do you have a family?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • Do you travel much and where is your favorite place to visit?
  • What hobbies do you enjoy in your free time?
  • Tell me about some great ideas you’ve had personally or professionally.
Next, we make sure we focus on the other person as an individual.  To accomplish this, we must stop, look at the other person, listen to them, and maintain our focus on them despite any distractions.  Thirdly, we must learn to be a good conversationalist by letting the other person do most of the talking.  When they answer a question, we should look for more information by asking questions such as:
  • Who?
  • What?
  • When?
  • Where?
  • Why?
  • How?
As we become more proficient at building relationships, we realize that this model is not a one-time event for each person whom we meet.  The model provides an ongoing opportunity to know people better and understand what is important to them.
And, perhaps most importantly, we must always focus on becoming a friendlier person.  To have a friend, one must be friendly.  In Dale Carnegie’s book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, he outlines 9 ways to become a friendlier person.  If we practice these principles on a regular basis, we will learn what it means to become a better friend which will lead to your ability to win people over to your way of thinking.  The 9 principles are as follows:
  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
  2. Give honest, sincere appreciation.
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.
  4. Become genuinely interested in other people.
  5. Smile.
  6. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
  7. Be a good listener.  Encourage others to talk about themselves.
  8. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.
  9. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.
Perhaps the most important thing to remember is to be honest and sincere.  The other person will feel it immediately if you’re being fake or insincere.  Be yourself.  Be honest.  And most importantly, be interested in the other person.  If you follow these simple principles, you’ll find that in no time at all, you will have not only made new friends but also will start winning people over to your way of thinking.  Focus on building relationships that are based on trust and integrity and you can’t get it wrong.  Just be yourself, be friendly and be forever mindful that these people skills are absolutely essential for professional and personal success.


This post is brought to you by the good folks at Dale Carnegie Training of Alabama, providers of professional development and management development courses and information in Huntsville, Alabama. We would love to connect with you on Facebook and Twitter @DaleCarnegieALA


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