Despite being originally published more than eighty years ago, Dale Carnegie’s book ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People’ continues to be a best seller. A large part of his self-help advice was focused on interpersonal communication skills wit a key take-away being that it is indeed possible to change other people’s behavior simply by adjusting one’s behavior toward them.
Since the human brain is still the human brain eight decades on, we can use his research to help us understand how people receive, process, store, and retrieve information and employ his insights to increase the impact of our outreach with consumers.
The book has six sections, four of which are relevant to the farm to consumer conversation:
- Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Six Ways to Make People Like You
- Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking (including tips on arguments)
- Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment
Some of our favourite advice from the chapter ‘How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking” is:
- The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.
- Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never say “You’re wrong.”
- If you are wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
- Begin in a friendly way.
- Let the other person do a great deal of talking.
- Let the other person feel that the idea is his or hers.
- Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
- Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.
- Appeal to the nobler motives.
It’s a quick and easy read and I’d add to that a must-read for anyone who cares about having conversations that build constructive dialogue around farming and food.
Part of the Table of Contents from Dale Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People”