I am on my third reading of Dale Carnegie’s excellent How To Win Friends & Influence People, which I can’t recommend enough because it gives such powerful insights into how we humans operate.
First written in the 1930s, in a very accessible style, Dale Carnegie explains what we can do to get the best out of the people that we come into contact with and how we can enhance all of our relationships (with children, partners, friends, colleagues and clients). But, don’t think that this is a book about manipulation or trying to ingratiate yourself with people just to be popular; it helps to explain how you can genuinely improve your interpersonal skills to the benefit of all.
To give you an example of how powerful his techniques are I would like to relate one experience that I had when I went to buy a sandwich one lunchtime. I had chosen my sandwich and proceeded to the counter to pay and order a coffee. I had noted the price of the sandwich and coffee so when I was asked for more than I had expected I asked why there was a difference. The person serving me explained that it cost more to eat in and I had read the take-away price (the only price on display). Prior to reading the book my response would have been to get annoyed and to complain that it was misleading to show the only the take-away price. I would have no doubt felt satisfaction that I had given them a piece of my mind, but such an approach would have simply left two people being frustrated.
Instead, I simply said that the extra price was not a problem but went on to explain, in a friendly manner, that other customers might find it annoying or misleading if they also only see the take-away prices; I asked if they could perhaps show two prices instead. I paid for my lunch and went to sit down. A few minutes later the same person came over to me with a smile, an apology and a free smoothie!
What a difference this approach made. By simply remaining calm whilst I made my point meant that the other person was actively listening and was receptive to what I was saying.
The next time you’re in situation where you could easily get angry try to stop and see if another approach would enable you to achieve the desired response but in a way where there’s no confrontation, no stress and where both parties are winners?