Improving Human Interaction

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While on vacation I decided to finally read the timeless classic by Dale Carnegie, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People.’ The book was first published in 1936 and has sold more than fifteen million copies worldwide. It’s the granddaddy of all people skill books. Many of the lessons contained within are still relevant for anyone that deals with people.  Given Venture Capital is a highly social business with thousands of human touch points each year, this book was probably one of the most important I have ever read. 

We have a saying at RRE that our brand is the sum total of the positive and negative interactions that someone has with our team. Every touchpoint matters regardless of the medium (face to face, email, social media, etc.) and those involved (founders, limited partners, other VCs, etc.). At the most fundamental level, we operate in relationship-driven industry so we’re only as good as the interactions that people have with us (and of course the success of our investments). 

When I returned from vacation, I summarized the lessons of the book and shared them with the team at RRE. The purpose was to remind everyone that we can always improve how we interface with the world both professionally and personally. The response from the team was overwhelmingly positive. In fact, I was encouraged by a few of my colleagues to share my notes more broadly given the impact it had internally. 

Below are the notes that I shared with the team earlier this week. As you’ll see, I summarized each chapter into an easy-to-digest lesson so they are actionable and understandable. My hope is that you’ll be inspired to read the book and / or focus on a few of the items to improve how you relate to, communicate with and lead others. Since I’ve started to practice some of Dale’s lessons, I’ve been incredibly more mindful of all my interactions. I only want the same for you. Here’s to more fulfilling, productive and happier relationships! 

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Fundamental techniques in handling people

  1. Don’t criticize, condemn or complain. 
  2. Give honest and sincere appreciation. 
  3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.  

Six ways to make people like you

  1. Become genuinely interested in other people. 
  2. Smile. 
  3. Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language. 
  4. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. 
  5. Talk in terms of the other person’s interests. 
  6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely. 

In a nutshell win people to your way of thinking

  1. The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it. 
  2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say, “you’re wrong.”
  3. If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically. 
  4. Begin in a friendly way. 
  5. Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately. 
  6. Let the other person do a great deal of the talking. 
  7. Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers. 
  8. Try honestly to see things from the other persons point of view. 
  9. Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires. 
  10. Appeal to the nobler motives. 
  11. Dramatize your ideas. 
  12. Throw down a challenge. 

Be a leader: how to change people without giving offense or arousing resentment

  1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation. 
  2. Call attention to people’s mistakes indirectly. 
  3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person. 
  4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders. 
  5. Let the other person save face. 
  6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement. 
  7. Give the person a fine reputation to live up to. 
  8. Use encouragement. Make fault easy to correct. 
  9. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest. 

The Author

A VC in NYC

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