I Disagree with Dale Carnegie

100430-dale-carnegie-vmed-10a.grid-2x2If you haven’t read How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, then you’re missing three quarters of what you need to know to succeed – in whatever venture or job you’re in.

How do you feel about that?

He gives you some pointers – life rules, really – that will instantly change how people feel about you. And, remember personal brands – first you need to get attention, but after that you must make an emotional connection.

So, how people feel about you really, really matters. Feelings are a huge influence on how people decide what they can and will do for you. Feelings – not thoughts – ignite acts of kindness. That means the job offer, raise, promotion, recommendation, purchase, investment – these are just some of the life changing behaviors that you need to catalyze in other people, and they all start with a good feeling about what you’ve written or said. Not necessarily complimentary – good feelings often come from receiving remarkable requests (and ideas).

Consider the odds of someone doing something on your behalf – even people who know you. Every day, most decision-makers get better than one hundred emails, run some portion of about 150 projects or tasks, have a telephone ringing or texting 10 hours (plus) and take the requisite bio-breaks (food, water, shower, and sleep). They even try to have fun, get in some time with friends and family, maybe learn something and, oh yes, fight the traffic (real or virtual).

So, do you see exactly what you are trying to rise above in their hearts, as well as their minds? That’s why being liked is equally important to being respected. This may also answer your question, “Why doesn’t anyone call me back?” Or, “I’ve sent 100 resumes and haven’t heard anything.” Or, insert your “why aren’t people doing what I need them to do complain/concern: _____________________________________.”

Does likeability equate to respect?

On Sunday in Los Angeles, I did the second in a series of seminars for filmmakers, this time with former HBO executive Michael Garcia who produced: insert every HBO series you’ve loved here. It was stunning to see this young man speak about his career and give us insight into the way he conducted himself – which never changed as his personal brand gained equity.

At HBO, he created a living room rather than an office for himself – so other people would feel comfortable coming in to talk with him. Writers, producers, actors, executives – the big personal brand names and those who were up and coming or have a chance to be up and coming. Michael made them all welcome.  Likewise at the seminar, he made himself accessible to every member of the audience who wanted a word with him personally. And to make an impression on (and get attention) a person would have to do more than agree with him on all his points.

Which leads to my disagreement with Dale Carnegie. The man who corralled Michael and all of us to speak at the seminar is CEO of Voyage Media Nat Mundel, who always advises the audience to read Carnegie’s work as a way to prepare for the pitch meetings they’ll be having.

For example, no matter what the head of a company says (or anyone else you interact with), never use these words, “You are wrong.” Nat and Carnegie are both right in this case, this is advice to live by. Even if you are the boss, those words are a relationship killer (although your subordinates will do the requisite head bobble in the moment).

But, the bone I pick with Carnegie is his principle number 1: “The only way to get the best of an argument is to avoid it.” Personal brands, you can’t live much of the life you want if your number one rule is avoidance. You need to be an approach person – you need to deliver attention-provoking, even heart-stopping proclamations that will engender resistance (aka argument).

Embrace the resistance

You simply need to show you warmly embrace the resistance you get from other people. Affirm them and hear them, even as you make an opposing case. Be one of those little met smart AND congenial people who are all about killer ideas – plus the killer kindness that takes the sting out of mixing it up.

So, check how you’re doing on the “how do I make them feel” question. Are you both likeable and compelling to listen to?

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