“Every man I meet is my superior in some way.
In that, I learn of him.”
Almost everyone considers himself or herself important, very important.
Human Relations Principle 9: Make the other person feel important—and do it sincerely.
(“How to make people like you instantly.”)
(This is the ninth in a series of articles where I will encapsulate each of Dale Carnegie’s timeless, life-changing principles for dealing with people. (Adapted from How to Win Friends and Influence People.))*
“Talk to people about themselves and they will listen for hours.”
Always make the other person feel important. Ask yourself, “What is there about him or her that I can honestly admire?”
The unvarnished truth is that almost all the people you meet feel themselves superior to you in some way, and a sure way to their hearts is to let them realize in some subtle way that you recognize their importance, and recognize it sincerely.
The pathetic part of it is that frequently those who have the least justification for a feeling of achievement bolster up their egos by a show of tumult and conceit which is truly nauseating . . .
The Deepest Urge In Human Nature
The desire to be important is the deepest urge in human nature; and William James said: “The deepest principle in human nature is the craving to be appreciated.”
If we are so contemptibly selfish that we can’t radiate a little happiness and pass on a bit of honest appreciation without trying to get something out of the other person in return—if our souls are no bigger than sour crab apples, we shall meet with the failure we so richly deserve.
You don’t want to listen to cheap, insincere flattery, but you do crave sincere appreciation. You want your friends and associates to be, as Charles Schwalb put it, “hearty in their approbation and lavish in their praise.” All of us want that.
The Most Important Rule in the World
Philosophers have been speculating on the rules of human relationships for thousands of years, and out of all that speculation, there has evolved only one important precept. It is not new. It is as old as history.
- Zoroaster taught it to his followers in Persia twenty-five hundred years ago.
- Confucius preached it in China twenty-four centuries ago.
- Lao-tse, the founder of Taoism, taught it to his disciples in the Valley of the Han.
- Buddha preached it on the bank of the Holy Ganges five hundred years before Christ.
- The sacred books of Hinduism taught it a thousand years before that.
- Jesus taught it among the stony hills of Judea twenty centuries ago. Jesus summed it up in one thought—probably the most important rule in the world: “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.”
So let’s obey the Golden Rule, and give unto others what we would have others give unto us.
Let’s build people up by giving them the gift of feeling important and appreciated.
Much success and fulfillment with mastering human relations,
* The best guide on effective human relations that I have ever encountered is How to Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie, published in 1936. Prior to writing the book, Carnegie spent 20 years researching the habits of successful people. The book has sold over 30 million copies and is still listed on Amazon’s top 100 best selling books.
Other articles within this series you may enjoy:
3 Fundamental Techniques in Handling People
- Human Relations Principle #1: Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.
- Human Relations Principle #2: Give honest and sincere appreciation.
- Human Relations Principle #3: Arouse in the other person an eager want.
6 Ways to Make People Like You
- Human Relations Principle #4: Become genuinely interested in other people.
- Human Relations Principle #5: Smile.
- Human Relations Principle #6: Remember that a person’s name is to him or her the sweetest and most important sound in any language.
- Human Relations Principle #7: Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.
- Human Relations Principle #8: Talk in terms of the other person’s interests.