WSIR 004 | How to Win Friends and Influence People

If your goal is to be a likeable person, these 6 points are for you.

Warren Buffett, currently the third wealthiest man in the world, has a diploma up on his wall. But it isn’t from an Ivy League university, or an honorary doctorate from a prestigious admirer, no, he has a Dale Carnegie course completion certificate that cost him $100 back when he was 20 years old. Check out his story on this topic here:

The book that Dale Carnegie put together, and the one the Buffett read and gives reference to is How to Win Friends and Influence People this classic, first published in 1936, has sold over 15 million copies and contributed to the rise of many famous individuals.

Most of us will immediately recognize the single sentence summarizing the first chapter, “Never criticize, condemn, or complain.” Yet, I for one struggled to recall all six of the ways to make people like you from section two of the book. Central to success in dealing with people is their ability to tolerate or their enjoyment in interacting with you, and these six points have a great deal to do with making one a more likeable person.

Despite reading the book several times over the past few years if you were to ask me what the 6 ways to make people like you are, up until now I would have had a hard time remembering them. I put together a list of 6 keywords all beginning with “S” and hopefully it helps you remember them like it has helped me.

Here they are.


  1. Straightforward
  2. Smile
  3. Sound
  4. Shut Up
  5. Special Interest
  6. Sincere Importance

1. Straightfoward interest.

Be genuinely interested in the other person.

Carnegie uses the everyday example of a dog because a pooch doesn’t have any ulterior motives or wants to get anything out of you. They are genuinely happy to see you. This straightforward approach is the most innocent tactic you can use in dealing with others.

2. Smile

Hopefully it is abundantly clear what is meant by this statement. 🙂

3. Sound

Remember, the sweetest and most important sound in any language is that of the other person’s name. This keyword serves a double purpose, the first being that people like to hear their name and when you use it when you are with them they appreciate you for it. The second is that when trying to remember names it is extremely important that you get the cadence and the sound of their name correctly in your mind. If you simply let the pronunciation of their name wash by you when they introduce themselves, you are unlikely to get it correct later on.

4. Shut Up

Certain people are more prone to overtalking than others, but in general, when in conversation you can practice generosity by letting the other person talk more.

Cultivate the art of listening well!

Listening is much more than only not talking, but that is outside of the scope of this point, you can read a great section on “empathic listening” in Stephen Covey’s bestseller, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.

5. Special Interest

Most of the time I don’t favor special interests, but in this case what I mean is that your interests should reflect those that the other person holds when you talk with them.

As they talk about things that they are comfortable with, the walls begin to recede and the capacity to relate is strengthened.

If you are passionately interested in building houses out of cards, but the other person is into dirt-biking, ask them more about dirt-biking! You might learn something interesting.

6. Sincere Importance

When you deal with others, remember that one of the base desires of individuals is to feel important. This need is insatiable and will be filled either in healthy ways or unhealthy ways.

If you motives are pure, you can give others a feeling of importance and they will love you for it.

You can make someone’s day or even week by sincerely giving them a feeling of importance. In some cases that becomes a touch-point of their self-identity, and you, by doing something that could have been an off-hand remark changed a bit of that person’s self image.

I remember several times throughout my childhood on the family farm my father put me in situations where I knew that he was trusting me with something important. I remember driving a truck from one farm to another at 12 years old (very illegal, do not recommend) and I felt like a man. My parents let me drive by myself to Wisconsin from Michigan at 17 and I loved it. Things like that built my own sense of capability and I hold those experiences of responsibility to this day.

Warren Buffett said that the Dale Carnegie course changed his life, judging by his results, it seems like it did. 

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