I first read this treasure about 25 years ago and to this very day I still refer to it often.
When Carnegie wrote his book, there was no internet or social media. I think it’s safe to say that he didn’t have an inkling about how we would all be using technology to communicate in the 21st Century.
Despite this, and because of social media, I believe Carnegie’s tips on how to relate and connect with others are 100 times more relevant today than when he first wrote his book 77 years ago.
In Part Two of his book, Carnegie shares six principles to connect with others and even help make it easy for people to like you. When it comes to practicing law and engaging on the digital platforms and social media, I try to use these methods daily. I hope you find Carnegie’s guidelines as valuable as I do.
Principle 1: Become genuinely interested in other people
Most people on social media go about things the wrong way. Some spend their time pushing their products and services while others post about their upcoming seminars or recent speaking engagements. Others share awards and accomplishments most people couldn’t care less about. If your primary content is all about you, then your ultimate audience will only be you.
Those people on social who really and truly show that they care and are interested in other people are the ones having success. Showing genuine interest, compassion and empathy for others in your tweets, posts, comments, podcasts and videos will result in people liking and wanting to connect with you. Sharing answers and solutions, without expecting anything in return, will be rewarded in the long term.
Sure, once in a while it’s OK to toot your own horn. But if you go about this principle correctly, you won’t have to do so because other people will do this for you.
Principle 2: Smile
When it comes to communicating online, always share your digital smile with the world. Carnegie writes that the ancient Chinese had a proverb, “A man without a smiling face must not open a shop.”
In today’s digital world, it’s important to always put your best foot forward and practice sharing your big, beautiful digital smile. The sad face you feel deep down on the inside will show in your work on the outside. Thus, before posting have a positive frame of mind and smile while you write, talk or record a video. People will feel the difference when digesting your content.
Profile pictures and videos should also share your smile. You’ll have everything to gain and nothing to lose by doing this.
Principle 3: Remember and use people’s names
When someone hears his name, it is the sweetest and most important sound in his world. Carnegie argues that there’s nothing more important than including the other person’s name in a conversation.
If he were alive today, I’m sure Carnegie would tell you that it’s important to use people’s names or nicknames on social media and the digital platforms. The more personal a communication is, the more impact it will have.
In today’s busy and hectic world it’s not always easy to remember someone’s name, but that’s why it’s more important than ever. The good news is that with modern technology and especially smartphones, you can text or record a reminder and never again forget someone’s name. You can also easily find the name of someone you just met by using Google or visiting the social platforms.
Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, “Good manners are made up of petty sacrifices”. It can take a bit of work and effort to remember or research a name, but the small effort is certainly worth it.
Principle 4: Be a good listener and encourage others to talk about themselves
When it comes to effective communication on social, there is so much to learn and so much to gain by simply using your eyes and ears more than your mouth or keyboard. Only after listening should you engage the other person. When you do, be genuinely interested in what he or she has to say.
How do you do this? One way is to ask opened-ended questions that invite a dialogue. In comments, in addition to sharing your thoughts and opinions, ask follow-up questions or advice from the author.
Be real and genuine when you do this. This isn’t a trick or technique; it’s a mindset.
Principle 5: Talk in terms of the other person’s interest
President Roosevelt used to stay up late at night reading up on the subject he knew the person he was going to meet the next day was interested in. He knew that the quickest path to a person’s heart was to talk about the things that the other person was passionate about.
Before engaging others on social, spend time learning a bit more about the other person. What are his interests? What does she enjoy doing in her spare time? Be real and interact with the other person from a position of genuine interest and curiosity.
Connecting on social has more to do with your hobbies, interests, and pastimes then it does with sharing information about a common occupation or profession. For example, a lawyer may be able to easily relate to and connect with an auto mechanic when they talk about their mutual interest in youth football, motocross or technology. Often times you’ll find you have more in common with others if you simply pay attention and listen more than you talk.
Principle 6: Sincerely make the other person feel important
John Dewey once said, “The desire to be important is the deepest urge in human nature”. This principle, although often neglected, is nothing new. Confucius even shared this philosophy twenty-four centuries ago.
Prior to engaging another person on social, try asking yourself, “What is there about this other person that I can honestly admire?” This might be her personality, accomplishments, charitable interest or even the content of her blog. Whatever it is, make sure to find it.
Everyone is special and important in their own unique way. Because of this, genuinely engage other people in a style that compliments or highlights something they feel is important. Insincere flattery is inexcusable but sincere appreciation in others is mandatory. There is no hidden agenda, just one human being recognizing the value in another. After all, as Emerson once said, “Every man I meet is my superior in some way. In that, I learn from him.”
Take Carnegie’s 77 year-old principles and apply them today on social media.
Use these six tools to show others how much you appreciate who they are and what they do. Be kind in your approach and genuine in your interest and in short time, you’ll quickly win new friends and influence others.