Effective Human Relations: 360 Degrees

January 30, 2014 Updated: April 24, 2016

I was in Australia conducting a Dale Carnegie project when I wondered how I could dramatize Dale Carnegie’s famous human relations principles. 

I wrote on a flipchart, “How to effectively deal with people.” I told the group, “I’m going to turn the page, and when I do, please read these principles without comment.” 

Then I revealed these principles:

• Keep people off guard by focusing on their weaknesses. Criticize others in public. 
• Never compliment others. They will want more money if you do.
• Try to get others interested in you. Always guide conversations back to you and your interests.
• Never smile. You look like a fool when you do.
• Talk about yourself. Keep the conversation focused on you and your accomplishments.
• Win every argument. Never let another person’s ideas get implemented.
• Never admit mistakes—deny, deny, deny.

At first I got quizzical looks, then a little laughter. I asked, “Do you know anyone who lives by these rules?” 

Sad to say, we have all seen these principles in action—sometimes by ourselves! 

This dramatization clarified that we have plenty of options in dealing with others. We also concluded that effective human relations is often counter-intuitive and takes discipline.

Another conversation revolved around the topic of, “Are these principles manipulative?” We concluded that the principles, in and of themselves, were not manipulative, but some people were very manipulative. 

We decided that choosing how we deal with others is a primary choice, and rather than trying to “get” something from others, it made more sense to simply choose to live our lives with these principles in the background and let the chips fall where they may.

If you want to attract others and create relationships that work, the following tips make sense. One is not to criticize, condemn, or complain. Dale Carnegie said, “Any fool can criticize, and most fools do.” Another principle is to show honest and sincere appreciation. The operative word here is “sincere.” 

I make special effort to look around and ask myself, “I see something here I like, what is it?” Then I make a point of directly telling someone what I saw. 

On one such occasion, a business owner excused himself from the conversation after I told him that his receptionist was friendly and made me feel welcome. He explained that he wanted to pass along my comments before he forgot. “She is very good,” he said. “And we often take her for granted.” 

Dale Carnegie once shared an incident in which he complimented another person and someone asked him, “What were you trying to get from him?” 

Dale replied, “I did want something out of this person. I wanted something priceless, and I got it. I got the feeling that I had done something for him without his being able to do anything whatsoever in return for me.” 

We know this still resonates today from articles documenting someone’s experience on the receiving end of this core principle. 

Giving to get might get you what you want in the short term, but giving, whether you ever get anything or not, creates a lasting memory.

In Man, the Manipulator, Everett L. Shostrum describes manipulators as “a person who uses tricks, techniques, and maneuvers.” They put on acts and play roles to create an impression. 

It’s particularly challenging to accept others for what they are rather than simply tolerating them. Choose whom you want to be, rather than trying to get the response you want from others.

Go back and re-read the first list of principles and reverse them. You’ll reveal some wonderful insights on How To Win Friends and Influence People.