First published more than 70 years ago, Dale Carnegie’s guide on people skills entitled “How to Win Friends and Influence People” contains wisdom that is mostly true to this very day, because human nature, for better or worse, does not change much over time.
And even in this brave new world of the Internet and social media, we can still look to age-old truths in deciphering a code to grow an audience (win friends) and successfully engage readers via our blogs (influence people).
Here are eight of these truths …
1. No click-bait headlines
Carnegie’s guide puts a lot of emphasis on recognizing the importance of others.
And it’s easiest to forget this in this online environment and treat our readers as simple statistics. Numbers, nothing more.
A sure way to get people to click on your post is to use a sensational headline that fails to deliver on its promise.
If you value your audience, you will not only deliver, but over-deliver.
Avoid the annoying practice of publishing misleading headlines, which we’ve all been fooled by — or it will appear that your guide is called “How to Lose Friends and Alienate People.”
2. Give proper credit
In his book, Mr. Carnegie tells us the following:
“Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.”
It’s nice to give a shout-out to the blogger who inspired you to write a certain post, or tell a story. It’s not only a proper thing to do, but it’s also a way to earn their respect.
3. Make your readers smile
Another gem from the pen of Mr. Carnegie is:
“Your smile brightens the lives of all who see it.”
We live in some cynical times, true. But maybe this is why now, more than ever, you need to find a way to see the light at the end of the tunnel, and make your readers see it too.
Share content that is uplifting, motivational, offer hope to those who have lost it long ago, or simple make your readers smile.
4. Have a heart
Mr. Carnegie wrote:
“Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.”
By writing with respect and sympathy about issues that impact your audience, you can gain their admiration. Whether it has to do with economics, health, or social issues, make sure that it’s clear that at the base of it all, you care.
5. Make others feel important
It’s not enough to post brilliant content.
It’s also important to ask for your readers involvement.
At the conclusion of your posts, ask readers if they have anything to offer on the subject, and be sure to respond to comments and threads. Take the time to appreciate it when an individual adds to the conversation.
6. Be yourself
Being authentic is a process that requires a lot self-examination, dedication, and hard work. But the rewards are immeasurable.
You’ll never influence the world if you’re trying to be just like it.
Try challenging yourself to always blog about topics from a different angle. Add your original point of view and experience to the topic you’re presenting.
7. Be humble
People are going to tune into what you are saying because of your intelligence, perspective, and ability to communicate.
While confidence is key, you’ll hold other people’s attention longer by being humble and, from time to time, showing your audience that you’re human too.
Carnegie’s advice is to talk about your own mistakes before criticizing others. Nobody’s perfect, and you shouldn’t even try to pretend that you are.
People don’t like a know-it-all either, so own up to your mistakes and be honest in showing that you don’t have all the answers.
8. Tell a story
People don’t want to be talked at. Rather, they prefer being entertained.
Entertain your readers by telling them a story. Make them feel. Make them understand. Tell them stories of people who are more interesting than you, stories your readers will identify with.
In the words of Carnegie:
“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.”
Become a better blogger
Even though we often feel overwhelmed by how fast the world seems to change, the truth is that human nature is still mostly the same.
You win friends and influence people by respecting them, making them feel important and cared for, and playing to their natural tendencies and desires.
What are your favorite tips for winning friends and influencing people in this brave new world?