We’ve been making our way through Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People as a way for you to become a more influential and persuasive person. The week we come to his last tip in the section of the book titled “Six Ways to Make People Like You.” The advice we’ll explore is, “Make the other person feel important.”
Are you important? I hope you said “Yes” to yourself! I’m important and you’re important. There’s never been another person quite like me or quite like you. We’re all unique individuals. Even identical twins, the most genetically close people in the world, are unique. Our importance may not be something people read about like the President of the United States, a famous actor or actress, an author or a well-known athlete but nonetheless we are important. Just ask your spouse, kids, parents, friends or coworkers.
Remember the classic Christmas movie It’s a Wonderful Life starring Jimmy Stewart? Stewart plays George Bailey, a man who has a crisis of faith when $8,000 is misplaced and he fears his business will close. He’s so distraught he contemplates suicide because he thinks it would have been better had he not been born. Thanks to the angel Clarence he realizes that was foolish thinking because small town George had a huge impact on the lives of people in his community.
I share this not to build you up or inflate my ego but because it leads to this – you and I are important and so is every other person you come in contact with…whether or not they realize it. That’s right; many people live their lives like George Bailey did for a few hours, feeling unimportant. But, if you and I believe they are important and treat them as such, great things can happen!
Let me share one quick story. I know a single lady in her 60s who is an important person. She’s divorced, has two grown kids and a couple of grandkids. She has a regular job and struggles to make ends meet like most people these days. She likes working in her yard and around her home and she’s always willing to help others. She’s a nice person, a nice neighbor to those who live near her. She’s not done anything that will make her famous but she’s important nonetheless. Who is this person? My mom, Ann Strausburg. If it were not for her I would not be here and you wouldn’t be reading this. My wife Jane might be married to someone else and my wonderful daughter Abigail would not have come into existence. From my limited perspective my mom is very important and I’m sure from God’s view, because He knows her full impact, He’d say she’s incredibly important!
I hope everyone treats my mom with the kind of respect she deserves. I bet you hope the same for your mom, dad, grandparents, kids or anyone else who is significant to you. If we hope that then we should do that. Every day as we meet people if we make them feel import they’ll sense that. Of course they’ll like us for it too.
Don’t you enjoy it when people treat you like you’re important? It can be humbling at times but I know I enjoy it and I bet you do too. If we enjoy it then why not spread the joy and allow others to feel the same way? Here are a few simple things anyone can do to convey a sense of importance to another person:
- Show respect – Respect comes easily through good manners with phrases like, “Yes please,” “No thank you,” “Excuse me” and “Please forgive me.” These are simple and none assumes anything from the other person.
- Use their name – As I shared in the article A Rose by Any Other Name, the sweetest sound to any person is the sound of their own name. People feel important when identified by name because it humanizes them.
- Golden Rule – Treat people the way you’d like to be treated or the way you’d like someone to treat a loved one. This kind of behavior tends to come back to you. Earl Hickey calls it karma.
- Fine Reputation – We will explore Carnegie’s advice to give the other person a fine reputation to live up to later in this series. For now know this; conveying belief in another person can help them achieve more than they thought possible and make them feel more important than ever before. Give that gift.
We make requests of people every single day because we need other people. Recognizing that fact, this blog is intended to help you learn to hear “Yes!” The more friends you make, the easier it is to influence people and hear “Yes!” But it’s not just about getting what you want. It’s about building relationships and enjoying our lives more because of those relationships. Make another person feel important today and that’s one step in the right direction them and for you.
Helping You Learn to Hear “Yes!”