Dale Carnegie – “How to Win Friends and Influence People – You Can’t Win an Argument”

As a continuation of my discussion last month on Dale Carnegie’s famed “How to Win Friends and Influence People” book, I wanted to focus this month on the chapter titled “You Can’t Win an Argument.” In this chapter Dale notes that “nine times out of ten, an argument ends with each of the contestants more firmly convinced than ever that he is absolutely right.” Therefore, you can’t really “win” an argument because if you are correct you lose and if you are not correct, you lose.

This reminds me of great advice I learned from listening to recordings from Zig Ziglar. Zig talks about how once someone tells you “no”, you won’t get them to change their minds. Do people change their minds – YES, but only because they “make a new decision based upon new information.” So, to get people to see/understand your point of view better, you will need to provide additional information so they can make a new decision based upon new information.

Here are some suggestions from Dale’s book that come from an article in “Bits and Pieces” about how to keep a disagreement from becoming an argument:

  • Welcome the disagreement
  • Distrust your first instinctive impression
  • Control your temper
  • Listen first
  • Look for areas of agreement
  • Be honest
  • Promise to think over the opponents’ ideas and study them carefully
  • Thank your opponents sincerely for their interest
  • Postpone action to give both sides time to think through the problem

Happy Reading!


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