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I have always enjoyed walking and riding in a park near my home. Like the Druids of ancient Gaul, I all but worship an oak tree, so I was distressed season after season to see the young trees and shrubs killed off by needless fires. These fires weren’t caused by careless smokers. They were almost all caused by youngsters who went out to the park to go native and cook a frankfurter or an egg under the trees. Sometimes, these fires raged so fiercely that the fire department had to be called out to fight the conflagration.

There was a sign on the edge of the park saying that anyone who started a fire was liable to fine and imprisonment, but the sign stood in an unfrequented part of the park, and few of the culprits ever saw it. A mounted policeman was supposed to look after the park; but he didn’t take his duties too seriously, and the fires continued to spread season after season. On one occasion, I rushed up to a policeman and told him about a fire spreading rapidly through the park and wanted him to notify the fire department, and he nonchalantly replied that it was none of his business because it wasn’t in his precinct! I was desperate, so after that when I went riding, I acted as a self-appointed committee of one to protect the public domain. In the beginning, I am afraid I didn’t even attempt to see the other people’s point of view. When I saw a fire blazing under the trees, I was so unhappy about it, so eager to do the right thing, that I did the wrong thing. I would ride up to the boys, warn them that they could be jailed for starting a fire, order with a tone of authority that it be put out; and, if they refused, I would threaten to have them arrested. I was merely unloading my feelings without thinking of their point of view.

The result? They obeyed—obeyed sullenly and with resentment. After I rode on over the hill, they probably rebuilt the fire and longed to burn up the whole park.

With the passing of the years, I acquired a trifle more knowledge of human relations, a little more tact, a somewhat greater tendency to see things from the other person’s standpoint. Then, instead of giving orders, I would ride up to a blazing fire and begin something like this: “Having a good time, boys? What are you going to cook for supper? … I loved to build fires myself when I was a boy—and I still love to. But you know they are very dangerous here in the park. I know you boys don’t mean to do any harm, but other boys aren’t so careful. They come along and see that you have built a fire; so they build one and don’t put it out when they go home and it spreads among the dry leaves and kills the trees. We won’t have any trees here at all if we aren’t more careful. You could be put in jail for building this fire. But I don’t want to be bossy and interfere with your pleasure. I like to see you enjoy yourselves; but won’t you please rake all the leaves away from the fire right now—and you’ll be careful to cover it with dirt, a lot of dirt, before you leave, won’t you? And the next time you want to have some fun, won’t you please build your fire over the hill there in the sandpit? It can’t do any harm there. … Thanks so much, boys. Have a good time.” What a difference that kind of talk made! It made the boys want to cooperate. No sullenness, no resentment. They hadn’t been forced to obey orders. They had saved their faces. They felt better and I felt better because I had handled the situation with consideration for their point of view.

Seeing things through another person’s eyes may ease tensions when personal problems become overwhelming. Elizabeth Novak of New South Wales, Australia, was six weeks late with her car payment. “On a Friday,” she reported, “I received a nasty phone call from the man who was handling my account informing me if I did not come up with $122 by Monday morning I could anticipate further action from the company. I had no way of raising the money over the weekend, so when I received his phone call first thing on Monday morning I expected the worst. Instead of becoming upset I looked at the situation from his point of view. I apologized most sincerely for causing him so much inconvenience and remarked that I must be his most troublesome customer as this was not the first time I was behind in my payments. His tone of voice changed immediately, and he reassured me that I was far from being one of his really troublesome customers. He went on to tell me several examples of how rude his customers sometimes were, how they lied to him and often tried to avoid talking to him at all. I said nothing. I listened and let him pour out his troubles to me. Then, without any suggestion from me, he said it did not matter if I couldn’t pay all the money immediately. It would be all right if I paid him $20 by the end of the month and made up the balance whenever it was convenient for me to do so.” Tomorrow, before asking anyone to put out a fire or buy your product or contribute to your favorite charity, why not pause and close your eyes and try to think the whole thing through from another person’s point of view? Ask yourself: “Why should he or she want to do it?” True, this will take time, but it will avoid making enemies and will get better results—and with less friction and less shoe leather.

“I would rather walk the sidewalk in front of a person’s office for two hours before an interview,” said Dean Donham of the Harvard Business School, “than step into that office without a perfectly clear idea of what I was going to say and what that person—from my knowledge of his or her interests and motives—was likely to answer.” That is so important that I am going to repeat it in italics for the sake of emphasis.

I would rather walk the sidewalk in front of a person’s office for two hours before an interview than step into that office without a perfectly clear idea of what I was going to say and what that person—from my knowledge of his or her interests and motives—was likely to answer.

If, as a result of reading this book, you get only one thing—an increased tendency to think always in terms of the other person’s point of view, and see things from that person’s angle as well as your own—if you get only that one thing from this book, it may easily prove to be one of the stepping-stones of your career.


Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.

9 What Everybody Wants

Wouldn’t you like to have a magic phrase that would stop arguments, eliminate ill feeling, create good will, and make the other person listen attentively?

Yes? All right. Here it is: “I don’t blame you one iota for feeling as you do. If I were you I would undoubtedly feel just as you do.”

An answer like that will soften the most cantankerous old cuss alive. And you can say that and be 100 percent sincere, because if you were the other person you, of course, would feel just as he does. Take Al Capone, for example. Suppose you had inherited the same body and temperament and mind that Al Capone had. Suppose you had had his environment and experiences. You would then be precisely what he was—and where he was. For it is those things—and only those things—that made him what he was. The only reason, for example, that you are not a rattlesnake is that your mother and father weren’t rattlesnakes.

You deserve very little credit for being what you are—and remember, the people who come to you irritated, bigoted, unreasoning, deserve very little discredit for being what they are. Feel sorry for the poor devils. Pity them. Sympathize with them. Say to yourself: “There, but for the grace of God, go I.” Three-fourths of the people you will ever meet are hungering and thirsting for sympathy. Give it to them, and they will love you.

I once gave a broadcast about the author of Little Women, Louisa May Alcott. Naturally, I knew she had lived and written her immortal books in Concord, Massachusetts. But, without thinking what I was saying, I spoke of visiting her old home in Concord, New Hampshire. If I had said New Hampshire only once, it might have been forgiven. But, alas and alack! I said it twice. I was deluged with letters and telegrams, stinging messages that swirled around my defenseless head like a swarm of hornets. Many were indignant. A few insulting. One Colonial Dame, who had been reared in Concord, Massachusetts, and who was then living in Philadelphia, vented her scorching wrath upon me. She couldn’t have been much more bitter if I had accused Miss Alcott of being a cannibal from New Guinea. As I read the letter, I said to myself, “Thank God, I am not married to that woman.” I felt like writing and telling her that although I had made a mistake in geography, she had made a far greater mistake in common courtesy. That was to be just my opening sentence. Then I was going to roll up my sleeves and tell her what I really thought. But I didn’t. I controlled myself. I realized that any hotheaded fool could do that—and that most fools would do just that.

I wanted to be above fools. So I resolved to try to turn her hostility into friendliness. It would be a challenge, a sort of game I could play. I said to myself, “After all, if I were she, I would probably feel just as she does.” So, I determined to sympathize with her viewpoint. The next time I was in Philadelphia, I called her on the telephone. The conversation went something like this: ME: Mrs. So-and-So, you wrote me a letter a few weeks ago, and I want to thank you for it.

SHE: (in incisive, cultured, well-bred tones): To whom have I the honor of speaking?

ME: I am a stranger to you. My name is Dale Carnegie. You listened to a broadcast I gave about Louisa May Alcott a few Sundays ago, and I made the unforgivable blunder of saying that she had lived in Concord, New Hampshire. It was a stupid blunder, and I want to apologize for it. It was so nice of you to take the time to write me.

SHE: I am sorry, Mr. Carnegie, that I wrote as I did. I lost my temper. I must apologize.

ME: No! No! You are not the one to apologize; I am. Any school child would have known better than to have said what I said. I apologized over the air the following Sunday, and I want to apologize to you personally now.

SHE: I was born in Concord, Massachusetts. My family has been prominent in Massachusetts affairs for two centuries, and I am very proud of my native state. I was really quite distressed to hear you say that Miss Alcott had lived in New Hampshire. But I am really ashamed of that letter.

ME: I assure you that you were not one-tenth as distressed as I am. My error didn’t hurt Massachusetts, but it did hurt me. It is so seldom that people of your standing and culture take the time to write people who speak on the radio, and I do hope you will write me again if you detect an error in my talks.

SHE: You know, I really like very much the way you have accepted my criticism. You must be a very nice person. I should like to know you better.

So, because I had apologized and sympathized with her point of view, she began apologizing and sympathizing with my point of view. I had the satisfaction of controlling my temper, the satisfaction of returning kindness for an insult. I got infinitely more real fun out of making her like me than I could ever have gotten out of telling her to go and take a jump in the Schuylkill River.

Every man who occupies the White House is faced almost daily with thorny problems in human relations. President Taft was no exception, and he learned from experience the enormous chemical value of sympathy in neutralizing the acid of hard feelings. In his book Ethics in Service, Taft gives rather an amusing illustration of how he softened the ire of a disappointed and ambitious mother.

“A lady in Washington,” wrote Taft, “whose husband had some political influence, came and labored with me for six weeks or more to appoint her son to a position. She secured the aid of Senators and Congressmen in formidable number and came with them to see that they spoke with emphasis. The place was one requiring technical qualification, and following the recommendation of the head of the Bureau, I appointed somebody else. I then received a letter from the mother, saying that I was most ungrateful, since I declined to make her a happy woman as I could have done by a turn of my hand. She complained further that she had labored with her state delegation and got all the votes for an administration bill in which I was especially interested and this was the way I had rewarded her.

“When you get a letter like that, the first thing you do is to think how you can be severe with a person who has committed an impropriety, or even been a little impertinent. Then you may compose an answer. Then if you are wise, you will put the letter in a drawer and lock the drawer. Take it out in the course of two days—such communications will always bear two days’ delay in answering—and when you take it out after that interval, you will not send it. That is just the course I took. After that, I sat down and wrote her just as polite a letter as I could, telling her I realized a mother’s disappointment under such circumstances, but that really the appointment was not left to my mere personal preference, that I had to select a man with technical qualifications, and had, therefore, to follow the recommendations of the head of the Bureau. I expressed the hope that her son would go on to accomplish what she had hoped for him in the position which he then had. That mollified her and she wrote me a note saying she was sorry she had written as she had.

“But the appointment I sent in was not confirmed at once, and after an interval I received a letter which purported to come from her husband, though it was in the same handwriting as all the others. I was therein advised that, due to the nervous prostration that had followed her disappointment in this case, she had to take to her bed and had developed a most serious case of cancer of the stomach. Would I not restore her to health by withdrawing the first name and replacing it by her son’s? I had to write another letter, this one to the husband, to say that I hoped the diagnosis would prove to be inaccurate, that I sympathized with him in the sorrow he must have in the serious illness of his wife, but that it was impossible to withdraw the name sent in. The man whom I appointed was confirmed, and within two days after I received that letter, we gave a musicale at the White House. The first two people to greet Mrs. Taft and me were this husband and wife, though the wife had so recently been in articulo mortis.” images

Jay Mangum represented an elevator-escalator maintenance company in Tulsa, Oklahoma, which had the maintenance contract for the escalators in one of Tulsa’s leading hotels. The hotel manager did not want to shut down the escalator for more than two hours at a time because he did not want to inconvenience the hotel’s guests. The repair that had to be made would take at least eight hours, and his company did not always have a specially qualified mechanic available at the convenience of the hotel.

When Mr. Mangum was able to schedule a top-flight mechanic for this job, he telephoned the hotel manager and instead of arguing with him to give him the necessary time, he said:

“Rick, I know your hotel is quite busy and you would like to keep the escalator shutdown time to a minimum. I understand your concern about this, and we want to do everything possible to accommodate you. However, our diagnosis of the situation shows that if we do not do a complete job now, your escalator may suffer more serious damage and that would cause a much longer shutdown. I know you would not want to inconvenience your guests for several days.” The manager had to agree that an eight-hour shutdown was more desirable than several days’. By sympathizing with the manager’s desire to keep his patrons happy, Mr. Mangum was able to win the hotel manager to his way of thinking easily and without rancor.

Joyce Norris, a piano teacher in St. Louis, Missouri, told of how she had handled a problem piano teachers often have with teenage girls. Babette had exceptionally long fingernails. This is a serious handicap to anyone who wants to develop proper piano-playing habits.

Mrs. Norris reported: “I knew her long fingernails would be a barrier for her in her desire to play well. During our discussions prior to her starting her lessons with me, I did not mention anything to her about her nails. I didn’t want to discourage her from taking lessons, and I also knew she would not want to lose that which she took so much pride in and such great care to make attractive.

“After her first lesson, when I felt the time was right, I said: ‘Babette, you have attractive hands and beautiful fingernails. If you want to play the piano as well as you are capable of and as well as you would like to, you would be surprised how much quicker and easier it would be for you, if you would trim your nails shorter. Just think about it, okay?’ She made a face which was definitely negative. I also talked to her mother about this situation, again mentioning how lovely her nails were. Another negative reaction. It was obvious that Babette’s beautifully manicured nails were important to her.

“The following week Babette returned for her second lesson. Much to my surprise, the fingernails had been trimmed. I complimented her and praised her for making such a sacrifice. I also thanked her mother for influencing Babette to cut her nails. Her reply was ‘Oh, I had nothing to do with it. Babette decided to do it on her own, and this is the first time she has ever trimmed her nails for anyone.’” Did Mrs. Norris threaten Babette? Did she say she would refuse to teach a student with long fingernails? No, she did not. She let Babette know that her fingernails were a thing of beauty and it would be a sacrifice to cut them. She implied, “I sympathize with you—I know it won’t be easy, but it will pay off in your better musical development.” Sol Hurok was probably America’s number one impresario. For almost half a century he handled artists—such world-famous artists as Chaliapin, Isadora Duncan, and Pavlova. Mr. Hurok told me that one of the first lessons he had learned in dealing with his temperamental stars was the necessity for sympathy, sympathy and more sympathy with their idiosyncrasies.

For three years, he was impresario for Feodor Chaliapin—one of the greatest bassos who ever thrilled the ritzy boxholders at the Metropolitan. Yet Chaliapin was a constant problem. He carried on like a spoiled child. To put it in Mr. Hurok’s own inimitable phrase: “He was a hell of a fellow in every way.” For example, Chaliapin would call up Mr. Hurok about noon of the day he was going to sing and say, “Sol, I feel terrible. My throat is like raw hamburger. It is impossible for me to sing tonight.” Did Mr. Hurok argue with him? Oh, no. He knew that an entrepreneur couldn’t handle artists that way. So he would rush over to Chaliapin’s hotel, dripping with sympathy. “What a pity,” he would mourn. “What a pity! My poor fellow. Of course, you cannot sing. I will cancel the engagement at once. It will only cost you a couple of thousand dollars, but that is nothing in comparison to your reputation.” Then Chaliapin would sigh and say, “Perhaps you had better come over later in the day. Come at five and see how I feel then.”

At five o’clock, Mr. Hurok would again rush to his hotel, dripping with sympathy. Again he would insist on canceling the engagement and again Chaliapin would sigh and say, “Well, maybe you had better come to see me later. I may be better then.” At seven-thirty the great basso would consent to sing, only with the understanding that Mr. Hurok would walk out on the stage of the Metropolitan and announce that Chaliapin had a very bad cold and was not in good voice. Mr. Hurok would lie and say he would do it, for he knew that was the only way to get the basso out on the stage.

Dr. Arthur I. Gates said in his splendid book Educational Psychology: “Sympathy the human species universally craves. The child eagerly displays his injury; or even inflicts a cut or bruise in order to reap abundant sympathy. For the same purpose adults … show their bruises, relate their accidents, illness, especially details of surgical operations. ‘Self-pity’ for misfortunes real or imaginary is, in some measure, practically a universal practice.” So, if you want to win people to your way of thinking, put in practice…


Be sympathetic with the other person’s ideas and desires.


An Appeal That Everybody Likes

I was reared on the edge of the Jesse James country out in Missouri, and I visited the James farm at Kearney, Missouri, where the son of Jesse James was then living.

His wife told me stories of how Jesse robbed trains and held up banks and then gave money to the neighboring farmers to pay off their mortgages.

Jesse James probably regarded himself as an idealist at heart, just as Dutch Schultz, “Two Gun” Crowley, Al Capone and many other organized crime “godfathers” did generations later. The fact is that all people you meet have a high regard for themselves and like to be fine and unselfish in their own estimation.

J. Pierpont Morgan observed, in one of his analytical interludes, that a person usually has two reasons for doing a thing: one that sounds good and a real one.

The person himself will think of the real reason. You don’t need to emphasize that. But all of us, being idealists at heart, like to think of motives that sound good. So, in order to change people, appeal to the nobler motives.

Is that too idealistic to work in business? Let’s see. Let’s take the case of Hamilton J. Farrell of the Farrell-Mitchell Company of Glenolden, Pennsylvania. Mr. Farrell had a disgruntled tenant who threatened to move. The tenant’s lease still had four months to run; nevertheless, he served notice that he was vacating immediately, regardless of lease.

“These people had lived in my house all winter—the most expensive part of the year,” Mr. Farrell said as he told the story to the class, “and I knew it would be difficult to rent the apartment again before fall. I could see all that rent income going over the hill and believe me, I saw red.

“Now, ordinarily, I would have waded into that tenant and advised him to read his lease again. I would have pointed out that if he moved, the full balance of his rent would fall due at once—and that I could, and would, move to collect.

“However, instead of flying off the handle and making a scene, I decided to try other tactics. So I started like this: ‘Mr. Doe,’ I said, “I have listened to your story, and I still don’t believe you intend to move. Years in the renting business have taught me something about human nature, and I sized you up in the first place as being a man of your word. In fact, I’m so sure of it that I’m willing to take a gamble.

“‘Now, here’s my proposition. Lay your decision on the table for a few days and think it over. If you come back to me between now and the first of the month, when your rent is due, and tell me you still intend to move, I give you my word I will accept your decision as final. I will privilege you to move and admit to myself I’ve been wrong in my judgment. But I still believe you’re a man of your word and will live up to your contract. For after all, we are either men or monkeys—and the choice usually lies with ourselves!’ “Well, when the new month came around, this gentleman came to see me and paid his rent in person. He and his wife had talked it over, he said—and decided to stay. They had concluded that the only honorable thing to do was to live up to their lease.” When the late Lord Northcliffe found a newspaper using a picture of him which he didn’t want published, he wrote the editor a letter. But did he say, “Please do not publish that picture of me any more; I don’t like it”? No, he appealed to a nobler motive. He appealed to the respect and love that all of us have for motherhood. He wrote, “Please do not publish that picture of me any more. My mother doesn’t like it.” When John D. Rockefeller, Jr., wished to stop newspaper photographers from snapping pictures of his children, he too appealed to the nobler motives. He didn’t say: “I don’t want their pictures published.” No, he appealed to the desire, deep in all of us, to refrain from harming children. He said: “You know how it is, boys. You’ve got children yourselves, some of you. And you know it’s not good for youngsters to get too much publicity.” When Cyrus H. K. Curtis, the poor boy from Maine, was starting on his meteoric career, which was destined to make him millions as owner of The Saturday Evening Post and the Ladies’ Home Journal, he couldn’t afford to pay his contributors the prices that other magazines paid. He couldn’t afford to hire first-class authors to write for money alone. So he appealed to their nobler motives. For example, he persuaded even Louisa May Alcott, the immortal author of Little Women, to write for him when she was at the flood tide of her fame; and he did it by offering to send a check for a hundred dollars, not to her, but to her favorite charity.

Right here the skeptic may say: “Oh, that stuff is all right for Northcliffe and Rockefeller or a sentimental novelist. But, I’d like to see you make it work with the tough babies I have to collect bills from!”

You may be right. Nothing will work in all cases—and nothing will work with all people. If you are satisfied with the results you are now getting, why change? If you are not satisfied, why not experiment?

At any rate, I think you will enjoy reading this true story told by James L. Thomas, a former student of mine:

Six customers of a certain automobile company refused to pay their bills for servicing. None of the customers protested the entire bill, but each claimed that some one charge was wrong. In each case, the customer had signed for the work done, so the company knew it was right—and said so. That was the first mistake.

Here are the steps the men in the credit department took to collect these overdue bills. Do you suppose they succeeded?

  1. They called on each customer and told him bluntly that they had come to collect a bill that was long past due.

  2. They made it very plain that the company was absolutely and unconditionally right; therefore he, the customer, was absolutely and unconditionally wrong.

  3. They intimated that they, the company, knew more about automobiles than he could ever hope to know. So what was the argument about?

  4. Result: They argued.

Did any of these methods reconcile the customer and settle the account? You can answer that one yourself.

At this stage of affairs, the credit manager was about to open fire with a battery of legal talent, when fortunately the matter came to the attention of the general manager. The manager investigated these defaulting clients and discovered that they all had the reputation of paying their bills promptly. Something was wrong here—something was drastically wrong about the method of collection. So he called in James L. Thomas and told him to collect these “uncollectible” accounts.

Here, in his words, are the steps Mr. Thomas took:

  1. My visit to each customer was likewise to collect a bill long past due—a bill that we knew was absolutely right. But I didn’t say a word about that. I explained I had called to find out what it was the company had done, or failed to do.

  2. I made it clear that, until I had heard the customer’s story, I had no opinion to offer. I told him the company made no claims to being infallible.

  3. I told him I was interested only in his car, and that he knew more about his car than anyone else in the world; that he was the authority on the subject.

  4. I let him talk, and I listened to him with all the interest and sympathy that he wanted—and had expected.

  5. Finally, when the customer was in a reasonable mood, I put the whole thing up to his sense of fair play. I appealed to the nobler motives. “First,” I said, “I want you to know I also feel this matter has been badly mishandled. You’ve been inconvenienced and annoyed and irritated by one of our representatives. That should never have happened. I’m sorry and, as a representative of the company, I apologize. As I sat here and listened to your side of the story, I could not help being impressed by your fairness and patience. And now, because you are fair-minded and patient, I am going to ask you to do something for me. It’s something that you can do better than anyone else, something you know more about than anyone else. Here is your bill; I know it is safe for me to ask you to adjust it, just as you would do if you were the president of my company. I am going to leave it all up to you. Whatever you say goes.” Did he adjust the bill? He certainly did, and got quite a kick out of it. The bills ranged from $150 to $400—but did the customer give himself the best of it? Yes, one of them did! One of them refused to pay a penny of the disputed charge; but the other five all gave the company the best of it! And here’s the cream of the whole thing: we delivered new cars to all six of these customers within the next two years!

“Experience has taught me,” says Mr. Thomas, “that when no information can be secured about the customer, the only sound basis on which to proceed is to assume that he or she is sincere, honest, truthful and willing and anxious to pay the charges, once convinced they are correct. To put it differently and perhaps more clearly, people are honest and want to discharge their obligations. The exceptions to that rule are comparatively few, and I am convinced that the individuals who are inclined to chisel will in most cases react favorably if you make them feel that you consider them honest, upright and fair.” PRINCIPLE 10

Appeal to the nobler motives.


The Movies Do It. TV Does It. Why Don’t You Do It?

Many years ago, the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin was being maligned by a dangerous whispering campaign. A malicious rumor was being circulated. Advertisers were being told that the newspaper was no longer attractive to readers because it carried too much advertising and too little news. Immediate action was necessary. The gossip had to be squelched.

But how?

This is the way it was done.

The Bulletin clipped from its regular edition all reading matter of all kinds on one average day, classified it, and published it as a book. The book was called One Day. It contained 307 pages—as many as a hardcover book; yet the Bulletin had printed all this news and feature material on one day and sold it, not for several dollars, but for a few cents.

The printing of that book dramatized the fact that the Bulletin carried an enormous amount of interesting reading matter. It conveyed the facts more vividly, more interestingly, more impressively, than pages of figures and mere talk could have done.

This is the day of dramatization. Merely stating a truth isn’t enough. The truth has to be made vivid, interesting, dramatic. You have to use showmanship. The movies do it. Television does it. And you will have to do it if you want attention.

Experts in window display know the power of dramatization. For example, the manufacturers of a new rat poison gave dealers a window display that included two live rats. The week the rats were shown, sales zoomed to five times their normal rate.

Television commercials abound with examples of the use of dramatic techniques in selling products. Sit down one evening in front of your television set and analyze what the advertisers do in each of their presentations. You will note how an antacid medicine changes the color of the acid in a test tube while its competitor doesn’t, how one brand of soap or detergent gets a greasy shirt clean while the other brand leaves it gray. You’ll see a car maneuver around a series of turns and curves—far better than just being told about it. Happy faces will show contentment with a variety of products. All of these dramatize for the viewer the advantages offered by whatever is being sold—and they do get people to buy them.

You can dramatize your ideas in business or in any other aspect of your life. It’s easy. Jim Yeamans, who sells for the NCR company (National Cash Register) in Richmond, Virginia, told how he made a sale by dramatic demonstration.

“Last week I called on a neighborhood grocer and saw that the cash registers he was using at his check-out counters were very old-fashioned. I approached the owner and told him: ‘You are literally throwing away pennies every time a customer goes through your line.’ With that I threw a handful of pennies on the floor. He quickly became more attentive. The mere words should have been of interest to him, but the sound of pennies hitting the floor really stopped him. I was able to get an order from him to replace all of his old machines.” It works in home life as well. When the old-time lover proposed to his sweetheart, did he just use words of love? No! He went down on his knees. That really showed he meant what he said. We don’t propose on our knees any more, but many suitors still set up a romantic atmosphere before they pop the question.

Dramatizing what you want works with children as well. Joe B. Fant, Jr., of Birmingham, Alabama, was having difficulty getting his five-year-old boy and three-year-old daughter to pick up their toys, so he invented a “train.” Joey was the engineer (Captain Casey Jones) on his tricycle. Janet’s wagon was attached, and in the evening she loaded all the “coal” on the caboose (her wagon) and then jumped in while her brother drove her around the room. In this way the room was cleaned up—without lectures, arguments or threats.

Mary Catherine Wolf of Mishawaka, Indiana, was having some problems at work and decided that she had to discuss them with the boss. On Monday morning she requested an appointment with him but was told he was very busy and she should arrange with his secretary for an appointment later in the week. The secretary indicated that his schedule was very tight, but she would try to fit her in.

Ms. Wolf described what happened:

“I did not get a reply from her all week long. Whenever I questioned her, she would give me a reason why the boss could not see me. Friday morning came and I had heard nothing definite. I really wanted to see him and discuss my problems before the weekend, so I asked myself how I could get him to see me.

“What I finally did was this. I wrote him a formal letter. I indicated in the letter that I fully understood how extremely busy he was all week, but it was important that I speak with him. I enclosed a form letter and a self-addressed envelope and asked him to please fill it out or ask his secretary to do it and return it to me. The form letter read as follows: Ms. Wolf—I will be able to see you on ___ at ___ A.M./P.M. I will give you _____ minutes of my time.

“I put this letter in his in-basket at 11 A.M. At 2 P.M. I checked my mailbox. There was my self-addressed envelope. He had answered my form letter himself and indicated he could see me that afternoon and could give me ten minutes of his time. I met with him, and we talked for over an hour and resolved my problems.

“If I had not dramatized to him the fact that I really wanted to see him, I would probably be still waiting for an appointment.”

James B. Boynton had to present a lengthy market report. His firm had just finished an exhaustive study for a leading brand of cold cream. Data were needed immediately about the competition in this market; the prospective customer was one of the biggest—and most formidable—men in the advertising business.

And his first approach failed almost before he began.

“The first time I went in,” Mr. Boynton explains, “I found myself sidetracked into a futile discussion of the methods used in the investigation. He argued and I argued. He told me I was wrong, and I tried to prove that I was right.

“I finally won my point, to my own satisfaction—but my time was up, the interview was over, and I still hadn’t produced results.

“The second time, I didn’t bother with tabulations of figures and data. I went to see this man, I dramatized my facts.

“As I entered his office, he was busy on the phone. While he finished his conversation, I opened a suitcase and dumped thirty-two jars of cold cream on top of his desk—all products he knew—all competitors of his cream.

“On each jar, I had a tag itemizing the results of the trade investigation. And each tag told its story briefly, dramatically.

“What happened?

“There was no longer an argument. Here was something new, something different. He picked up first one and then another of the jars of cold cream and read the information on the tag. A friendly conversation developed. He asked additional questions. He was intensely interested. He had originally given me only ten minutes to present my facts, but ten minutes passed, twenty minutes, forty minutes, and at the end of an hour we were still talking.

“I was presenting the same facts this time that I had presented previously. But this time I was using dramatization, showmanship—and what a difference it made.”


Dramatize your ideas.


When Nothing Else Works, Try This

Charles Schwab had a mill manager whose people weren’t producing their quota of work.

“How is it,” Schwab asked him, “that a manager as capable as you can’t make this mill turn out what it should?”

“I don’t know,” the manager replied. “I’ve coaxed the men, I’ve pushed them, I’ve sworn and cussed, I’ve threatened them with damnation and being fired. But nothing works. They just won’t produce.”

This conversation took place at the end of the day, just before the night shift came on. Schwab asked the manager for a piece of chalk, then, turning to the nearest man, asked: “How many heats did your shift make today?” “Six.”

Without another word, Schwab chalked a big figure six on the floor, and walked away.

When the night shift came in, they saw the “6” and asked what it meant.

“The big boss was in here today,” the day people said. “He asked us how many heats we made, and we told him six. He chalked it down on the floor.”

The next morning Schwab walked through the mill again. The night shift had rubbed out “6” and replaced it with a big “7.”

When the day shift reported for work the next morning, they saw a big “7” chalked on the floor. So the night shift thought they were better than the day shift, did they? Well, they would show the night shift a thing or two. The crew pitched in with enthusiasm, and when they quit that night, they left behind them an enormous, swaggering “10.” Things were stepping up.

Shortly this mill, which had been lagging way behind in production, was turning out more work than any other mill in the plant.

The principle?

Let Charles Schwab say it in his own words: “The way to get things done,” says Schwab, “is to stimulate competition. I do not mean in a sordid, money-getting way, but in the desire to excel.”

The desire to excel! The challenge! Throwing down the gauntlet! An infallible way of appealing to people of spirit.

Without a challenge, Theodore Roosevelt would never have been President of the United States. The Rough Rider, just back from Cuba, was picked for governor of New York State. The opposition discovered he was no longer a legal resident of the state, and Roosevelt, frightened, wished to withdraw. Then Thomas Collier Platt, then U.S. Senator from New York, threw down the challenge. Turning suddenly on Theodore Roosevelt, he cried in a ringing voice: “Is the hero of San Juan Hill a coward?” Roosevelt stayed in the fight—and the rest is history. A challenge not only changed his life; it had a real effect upon the future of his nation.

“All men have fears, but the brave put down their fears and go forward, sometimes to death, but always to victory” was the motto of the King’s Guard in ancient Greece. What greater challenge can be offered than the opportunity to overcome those fears?

When Al Smith was governor of New York, he was up against it. Sing Sing, at the time the most notorious penitentiary west of Devil’s Island, was without a warden. Scandals had been sweeping through the prison walls, scandals and ugly rumors. Smith needed a strong man to rule Sing Sing—an iron man. But who? He sent for Lewis E. Lawes of New Hampton.

“How about going up to take charge of Sing Sing?” he said jovially when Lawes stood before him. “They need a man up there with experience.”

Lawes was flabbergasted. He knew the dangers of Sing Sing. It was a political appointment, subject to the vagaries of political whims. Wardens had come and gone—one had lasted only three weeks. He had a career to consider. Was it worth the risk?

Then Smith, who saw his hesitation, leaned back in his chair and smiled. “Young fellow,” he said, “I don’t blame you for being scared. It’s a tough spot. It’ll take a big person to go up there and stay.”

So Smith was throwing down a challenge, was he? Lawes liked the idea of attempting a job that called for someone “big.”

So he went. And he stayed. He stayed, to become the most famous warden of his time. His book 20,000 Years in Sing Sing sold into the hundreds of thousands of copies. His broadcasts on the air and his stories of prison life have inspired dozens of movies. His “humanizing” of criminals wrought miracles in the way of prison reform.

“I have never found,” said Harvey S. Firestone, founder of the great Firestone Tire and Rubber Company, “that pay and pay alone would either bring together or hold good people. I think it was the game itself.”

Frederic Herzberg, one of the great behavorial scientists, concurred. He studied in depth the work attitudes of thousands of people ranging from factory workers to senior executives. What do you think he found to be the most motivating factor—the one facet of the jobs that was most stimulating? Money? Good working conditions? Fringe benefits? No—not any of those. The one major factor that motivated people was the work itself. If the work was exciting and interesting, the worker looked forward to doing it and was motivated to do a good job.

That is what every successful person loves: the game. The chance for self-expression. The chance to prove his or her worth, to excel, to win. That is what makes footraces and hog-calling and pie-eating contests. The desire to excel. The desire for a feeling of importance.


Throw down a challenge.



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.


Get the other person saying “yes, yes” immediately.


Let the other person do a great deal of the 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.


Dramatize your ideas.


Throw down a challenge.

Part Four

Be a Leader: How to Change People Without Giving Offense or Arousing Resentment

1 If You Must Find Fault, This Is the Way to Begin

A friend of mine was a guest at the White House for a weekend during the administration of Calvin Coolidge. Drifting into the President’s private office, he heard Coolidge say to one of his secretaries, “That’s a pretty dress you are wearing this morning, and you are a very attractive young woman.” That was probably the most effusive praise Silent Cal had ever bestowed upon a secretary in his life. It was so unusual, so unexpected, that the secretary blushed in confusion. Then Coolidge said, “Now, don’t get stuck up. I just said that to make you feel good. From now on, I wish you would be a little bit more careful with your punctuation.” His method was probably a bit obvious, but the psychology was superb. It is always easier to listen to unpleasant things after we have heard some praise of our good points.

A barber lathers a man before he shaves him; and that is precisely what McKinley did back in 1896, when he was running for President. One of the prominent Republicans of that day had written a campaign speech that he felt was just a trifle better than Cicero and Patrick Henry and Daniel Webster all rolled into one. With great glee, this chap read his immortal speech aloud to McKinley. The speech had its fine points, but it just wouldn’t do. It would have raised a tornado of criticism. McKinley didn’t want to hurt the man’s feelings. He must not kill the man’s splendid enthusiasm, and yet he had to say “no.” Note how adroitly he did it.

“My friend, that is a splendid speech, a magnificent speech,” McKinley said. “No one could have prepared a better one. There are many occasions on which it would be precisely the right thing to say, but is it quite suitable to this particular occasion? Sound and sober as it is from your standpoint, I must consider its effect from the party’s standpoint. Now you go home and write a speech along the lines I indicate, and send me a copy of it.” He did just that. McKinley blue-penciled and helped him rewrite his second speech, and he became one of the effective speakers of the campaign.

Here is the second most famous letter that Abraham Lincoln ever wrote. (His most famous one was written to Mrs. Bixby, expressing his sorrow for the death of the five sons she had lost in battle.) Lincoln probably dashed this letter off in five minutes; yet it sold at public auction in 1926 for twelve thousand dollars, and that, by the way, was more money than Lincoln was able to save during half a century of hard work. The letter was written to General Joseph Hooker on April 26, 1863, during the darkest period of the Civil War. For eighteen months, Lincoln’s generals had been leading the Union Army from one tragic defeat to another. Nothing but futile, stupid human butchery. The nation was appalled. Thousands of soldiers had deserted from the army, and even the Republican members of the Senate had revolted and wanted to force Lincoln out of the White House. “We are now on the brink of destruction,” Lincoln said. “It appears to me that even the Almighty is against us. I can hardly see a ray of hope.” Such was the period of black sorrow and chaos out of which this letter came.

I am printing the letter here because it shows how Lincoln tried to change an obstreperous general when the very fate of the nation could have depended upon the general’s action.

This is perhaps the sharpest letter Abe Lincoln wrote after he became President; yet you will note that he praised General Hooker before he spoke of his grave faults.

Yes, they were grave faults, but Lincoln didn’t call them that. Lincoln was more conservative, more diplomatic. Lincoln wrote: “There are some things in regard to which I am not quite satisfied with you.” Talk about tact! And diplomacy!

Here is the letter addressed to General Hooker:

I have placed you at the head of the Army of the Potomac. Of course, I have done this upon what appears to me to be sufficient reasons, and yet I think it best for you to know that there are some things in regard to which I am not quite satisfied with you.

I believe you to be a brave and skillful soldier, which, of course, I like. I also believe you do not mix politics with your profession, in which you are right. You have confidence in yourself, which is a valuable if not an indispensable quality.

You are ambitious, which, within reasonable bounds, does good rather than harm. But I think that during General Burnside’s command of the army you have taken counsel of your ambition and thwarted him as much as you could, in which you did a great wrong to the country and to a most meritorious and honorable brother officer.

I have heard, in such a way as to believe it, of your recently saying that both the army and the Government needed a dictator. Of course, it was not for this, but in spite of it, that I have given you command.

Only those generals who gain successes can set up as dictators. What I now ask of you is military success and I will risk the dictatorship.

The Government will support you to the utmost of its ability, which is neither more nor less than it has done and will do for all commanders. I much fear that the spirit which you have aided to infuse into the army, of criticizing their commander and withholding confidence from him, will now turn upon you. I shall assist you, as far as I can, to put it down.

Neither you nor Napoleon, if he were alive again, could get any good out of an army while such spirit prevails in it, and now beware of rashness. Beware of rashness, but with energy and sleepless vigilance go forward and give us victories.

You are not a Coolidge, a McKinley or a Lincoln. You want to know whether this philosophy will operate for you in everyday business contacts. Will it? Let’s see. Let’s take the case of W.P. Gaw of the Wark Company, Philadelphia.

The Wark Company had contracted to build and complete a large office building in Philadelphia by a certain specified date. Everything was going along well; the building was almost finished, when suddenly the subcontractor making the ornamental bronze work to go on the exterior of this building declared that he couldn’t make delivery on schedule. What! An entire building held up! Heavy penalties! Distressing losses! All because of one man!

Long-distance telephone calls. Arguments! Heated conversations! All in vain. Then Mr. Gaw was sent to New York to beard the bronze lion in his den.

“Do you know you are the only person in Brooklyn with your name?” Mr. Gaw asked the president of the subcontracting firm shortly after they were introduced. The president was surprised. “No, I didn’t know that.”

“Well,” said Mr. Gaw, “when I got off the train this morning, I looked in the telephone book to get your address, and you’re the only person in the Brooklyn phone book with your name.”

“I never knew that,” the subcontractor said. He checked the phone book with interest. “Well, it’s an unusual name,” he said proudly. “My family came from Holland and settled in New York almost two hundred years ago.” He continued to talk about his family and his ancestors for several minutes. When he finished that, Mr. Gaw complimented him on how large a plant he had and compared it favorably with a number of similar plants he had visited. “It is one of the cleanest and neatest bronze factories I ever saw,” said Gaw.

“I’ve spent a lifetime building up this business,” the subcontractor said, “and I am rather proud of it. Would you like to take a look around the factory?”

During this tour of inspection, Mr. Gaw complimented the other man on his system of fabrication and told him how and why it seemed superior to those of some of his competitors. Gaw commented on some unusual machines and the subcontractor announced that he himself had invented those machines. He spent considerable time showing Gaw how they operated and the superior work they turned out. He insisted on taking his visitor to lunch. So far, mind you, not a word had been said about the real purpose of Gaw’s visit.

After lunch, the subcontractor said, “Now, to get down to business. Naturally, I know why you’re here. I didn’t expect that our meeting would be so enjoyable. You can go back to Philadelphia with my promise that your material will be fabricated and shipped, even if other orders have to be delayed.” Mr. Gaw got everything that he wanted without even asking for it. The material arrived on time, and the building was completed on the day the completion contract specified.

Would this have happened had Mr. Gaw used the hammer-and-dynamite method generally employed on such occasions?

Dorothy Wrublewski, a branch manager of the Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, Federal Credit Union, reported to one of our classes how she was able to help one of her employees become more productive.

“We recently hired a young lady as a teller trainee. Her contact with our customers was very good. She was accurate and efficient in handling individual transactions. The problem developed at the end of the day when it was time to balance out.

“The head teller came to me and strongly suggested that I fire this woman. ‘She is holding up everyone else because she is so slow in balancing out. I’ve shown her over and over, but she can’t get it. She’s got to go.’ “The next day I observed her working quickly and accurately when handling the normal everyday transactions, and she was very pleasant with our customers.

“It didn’t take long to discover why she had trouble balancing out. After the office closed, I went over to talk with her. She was obviously nervous and upset. I praised her for being so friendly and outgoing with the customers and complimented her for the accuracy and speed used in that work. I then suggested we review the procedure we used in balancing the cash drawer. Once she realized I had confidence in her, she easily followed my suggestions and soon mastered this function. We have had no problems with her since then.” Beginning with praise is like the dentist who begins his work with Novocain. The patient still gets a drilling, but the Novocain is pain-killing. A leader will use…


Begin with praise and honest appreciation.

2 How to Criticize—and Not Be Hated for It

Charles Schwab was passing though one of his steel mills one day at noon when he came across some of his employees smoking. Immediately above their heads was a sign that said “No Smoking.” Did Schwab point to the sign and say, “Can’t you read?” Oh, no not Schwab. He walked over to the men, handed each one a cigar, and said, “I’ll appreciate it, boys, if you will smoke these on the outside.” They knew that he knew that they had broken a rule—and they admired him because he said nothing about it and gave them a little present and made them feel important. Couldn’t keep from loving a man like that, could you?

John Wanamaker used the same technique. Wanamaker used to make a tour of his great store in Philadelphia every day. Once he saw a customer waiting at a counter. No one was paying the slightest attention to her. The salespeople? Oh, they were in a huddle at the far end of the counter laughing and talking among themselves. Wanamaker didn’t say a word. Quietly slipping behind the counter, he waited on the woman himself and then handed the purchase to the salespeople to be wrapped as he went on his way.

Public officials are often criticized for not being accessible to their constituents. They are busy people, and the fault sometimes lies in overprotective assistants who don’t want to overburden their bosses with too many visitors. Carl Langford, who has been mayor of Orlando, Florida, the home of Disney World, for many years, frequently admonished his staff to allow people to see him. He claimed he had an “open-door” policy; yet the citizens of his community were blocked by secretaries and administrators when they called.

Finally the mayor found the solution. He removed the door from his office! His aides got the message, and the mayor has had a truly open administration since the day his door was symbolically thrown away.

Simply changing one three-letter word can often spell the difference between failure and success in changing people without giving offense or arousing resentment.

Many people begin their criticism with sincere praise followed by the word “but” and ending with a critical statement. For example, in trying to change a child’s careless attitude toward studies, we might say, “We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term. But if you had worked harder on your algebra, the results would have been better.” In this case, Johnnie might feel encouraged until he heard the word “but.” He might then question the sincerity of the original praise. To him, the praise seemed only to be a contrived lead-in to a critical inference of failure. Credibility would be strained, and we probably would not achieve our objectives of changing Johnnie’s attitude toward his studies.

This could be easily overcome by changing the word “but” to “and.” “We’re really proud of you, Johnnie, for raising your grades this term, and by continuing the same conscientious efforts next term, your algebra grade can be up with all the others.” Now, Johnnie would accept the praise because there was no follow-up of an inference of failure. We have called his attention to the behavior we wished to change indirectly, and the chances are he will try to live up to our expectations.

Calling attention to one’s mistakes indirectly works wonders with sensitive people who may resent bitterly any direct criticism. Marge Jacob of Woonsocket, Rhode Island, told one of our classes how she convinced some sloppy construction workers to clean up after themselves when they were building additions to her house.

For the first few days of the work, when Mrs. Jacob returned from her job, she noticed that the yard was strewn with the cut ends of lumber. She didn’t want to antagonize the builders, because they did excellent work. So after the workers had gone home, she and her children picked up and neatly piled all the lumber debris in a corner. The following morning she called the foreman to one side and said, “I’m really pleased with the way the front lawn was left last night; it is nice and clean and does not offend the neighbors.” From that day forward the workers picked up and piled the debris to one side, and the foreman came in each day seeking approval of the condition the lawn was left in after a day’s work.

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