How to Win Friends and Influence People

Casting stones and belittling the other side is not the way to win.

I am guilty of this just as much as anyone else. As a designer and developer, Flash has always been great part of my life. The way to keep Flash around is not with the numbers we have on the ”I’m with Adobe” facebook fan page, and it’s not by calling people idiots or stupid. The hatred will only further distance us from our goal of gaining others to embrace Flash for the amazing product that it is and can be.

Has Flash ever crashed my machine? Yes. Does it happen as often as Steve Jobs says? No. Has a non Flash page crashed my machine? Yes. Has quicktime ever crashed my machine? Yes. So what do we do?

It reminds me of a book I read several years ago. “How to Win Friends and Influence People“.

There are 3 main principles with handling people:
1. Don’t criticize, condemn, or complain.
2. Give honest and sincere appreciation.
3. Arouse in the other person an eager want.

Twelve Ways to Win People to Your Way of Thinking:
1. Avoid arguments.
2. Show respect for the other person’s opinions. Never tell someone they are wrong.
3. If you’re wrong, admit it quickly and emphatically.
4. Begin in a friendly way.
5. Start with questions the other person will answer yes to.
6. Let the other person do the talking.
7. Let the other person feel the idea is his/hers.
8. Try honestly to see things from the other person’s point of view.
9. Sympathize with the other person.
10. Appeal to noble motives.
11. Dramatize your ideas.
12. Throw down a challenge & don’t talk negative when the person is absent, talk about only positive..

If we want people to take us seriously we have to admit where we are wrong and be sympathetic with a solution. The facts have been skewed and there are a lot of angry people out there, being angry back will not win them over.

For instance, I know for a fact that  sometimes when a deadline is looming and budgets are tight the last thing I have time for is to code for is a “fail scenario”, especially since it does not happen often; I should. This may have caused some machine crashes on slower internet connections. I am going to make it my goal to find time regaurdless of budget and deadline to code for “fail scenarios”; even if this comes at a personal expense to myself.

I truly believe if we listen to the criticism and respond with acknowledgement and a true desire to please, the tides will turn and we’ll win some over. Otherwise, even if we “win” we’ll still have a whole lot of people out there that hate Flash, if only out of spite.

Anyone else with me on this?

2 Responses to “How to Win Friends and Influence People”

  • I’m with you on the general principles… got a copy of Carnegie right here on my desk. I’m not sure how they apply when attacked, though.

    (Adobe’s history has been Apple-friendly and HTML-friendly, but this hasn’t deterred abrasiveness.)

    Big unanswered question: How to tolerate the intolerant? What would Dale Carnegie have done with violent Jihadis?


  • The only thing I can think of is the age old “An answer when mild turns away rage”. Right now we are getting slammed with much negativity. While we don’t cower and run, we can respectfully answer, acknowledge the other persons position, show we are trying to be a part of the solution, and move forward.

    If the other side continues to be disrespectful then we respectfully walk away. Someone has to be the grown up.

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