Book Notes: How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People
Published on 2020-02-04
29 min read
As the first month of the new year ends, I've made the decision to begin making my book notes public so others can potentially benefit from them if they so choose to.
I picked up a new book recently, How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People, which is an interesting read when comparing and contrasting with the principles from the famous How to Win Friends and Influence People. It's a guide on how to better interact with others, which leads to success and happiness, since people are so important in our lives!
I decided to start writing my book notes on the blog, so others can access them and to help motivate myself to take notes :D.
Most content in this blog post is from the book: How to Have Confidence and Power in Dealing with People, by Les Giblin. The below post is just notes I took from the book to help summarize it when I want to reference it later. The notes are not structured, not perfect in grammar, and of course contain a lot of content from the book. I've tried to put in quotation marks direct quotes, but just want to make it clear almost none of the following content is my own. If you enjoy the notes, purchase the book - I believe it's worth the time!
Les Giblin structures the books into six main parts:
- Making Human Nature Work For You
- How to Control the Actions and Attitudes of Others
- Techniques for Making and Keeping Friends
- How to Manage People Successfully
- A Simple, Effective Plan of Actions That Will Bring You Success and Happiness
I'll be diving into each part, along with individual chapters to summarize and highlight important points to take away.
Before chapter one starts though, the book shows just what reading this book can do for you.
The introduction demonstrates the honest truth that "we want things from other people. We want other people's good will and friendship. We want their acceptance and recognition...."Every normal human being wants success and happiness"
Part of our happiness and success actually depends on others, because how we interact with them makes a huge difference in our own success. By understanding human nature better and being honest that we need things from others, and they need things from us, we can grow our skillset in finding win-win situations through our interactions with them. Here's a quote that summarize this:
"Let's get one thing straight: successful human relations means giving the other fellow something he wants in return for something you want. Any other method of dealing with people simply doesn't work."
In summary, by understanding that you have skills and assets give in exchange for skills or assets of others, you can find ways to give people what they want or need in exchange for what you want or need. This fair exchange is the best way to dealing with people in a positive way!
The rest of the book will be helping to determine how we can do this better, on the basis of knowing more about human nature and using it confidently.
We all have developed ways for getting along with others, from being aggressive, assertive, passive, or somewhere in between. We go through the world with our mental model without issue, but that doesn't mean it will bring us personal satisfaction and properly manage the ego of those we're dealing with. Both parties should exit with egos intact - that is the key ladies and gentlemen!
When you take a step back and analyze who the most successful people you know are, what traits do you think of? Are they the smartest or most skillful? "...the chances are that you will say that the people you know who are most successful, and enjoy life the most, are those who "have a way" with other people.
When we are shy, timid, extroverted, confident, or bossy - people are just trying to be accepted. They quickly learn though that you can't force friendship or acceptance, and when we try, our emotional health suffers.
"Bonaro Overstreet,..., says that disruptive emotional problems always have their root in our relations with other people."
Learning to better engage others helps our emotional health as well as our success!
Social Skills in Engineers Literally Pays
Purdue kept records of its Engineer graduates over ~5 years to determine which skills led to higher pay:
"When the earnings of those graduates who had demonstrated a marked ability to deal with others in social situations were compared, it was found that they averaged about 15 percent more than those of the "smart" group, and about 33 percent more than those with low personality rating."
The study shows personality matter, but I couldn't find the exact study. What social skills did they look for? How did they determine someone's level of social skills? I say this because there are varying levels of social skills and in a world where Extroverts have typically been seen as having social skills, we should not confuse that with specific social skills on the job. Yes extroverts may be more social, but are they more skilled in specific situations? I'm not sure, but I feel that the specific skills should be better clarified for this particular study.
"...You can injure a man physically, you can steal his goods, you can damage him in all sorts of ways, and get by with it. But the one unforgivable sin, as far as human relations are concerned, is to trample on another person's ego. The minute you detract from another's dignity as a human being, you are in for trouble."
Ego can be defined in various ways, but the author defines it as the "something deep in the heart of every man and woman that is important and demands respect."
Since we are all so unique, we want to maintain who we are and defense that importance against others.
***key tip: you automatically practice good human relations if you would remember that every individual is important..."
- We are all egotists.
- We are all more interested in ourselves than in anything else in the world.
- Every person you meet wants to feel important, and to "amount to something."
- There is a craving in every human being for the approval of others, so they we can approve of ourselves.
It's only once our ego hunger is satisfied that we can give our attention properly to others.
In the past, the way people were "cured" of thinking too highly of themself was to "show him up" or "beat him down" and "knock some of his self-importance out of him." These tactics typically failed, because it's now known those suffering from being too self-centered isn't because they have too much self-esteem, but because they have too little.
"If you're on good terms with yourself you're on good terms with others...Once he gets over his painful dissatisfaction with himself, he is less critical and more tolerant of others"
Since Nature has put an instinct in all of us that says "YOU and your basic needs come first", the book uses the metaphor of a hungry stomach to show why those with hungry egos are more irritable. When someone has three meals a day, they don't think much about being hungry or about their stomach, but as soon as you begin missing meals, you become HANGRY. All you can think about is food and how your stomach needs it. You wouldn't say you are stomach-centeredness and you need to stop thinking about it, instead you would say eat :D. The same for ego-hunger!
People with high (not extreme but comfortable high) are:
- easy to get along with
- cheerful, tolerant, willing to listen to others
- Willing to take a few risks
- Can afford to make mistakes and admit them
- Can be criticized and slighted, taking it in stride
They can be these things since their own needs are already taken care of.
He even mentions that to become petty, you must lower your own standards to the level of pettiness instead of just taking the high road. As Charlie Munger says: "Take the high road, it's uncrowded."
It's easier to understand the bully or people who "put you in your place" when you think of it with two things in mind:
- They need to desperately increase their own self-importance, by beating you down, he is attempting to do so
- They are afraid because with low self-esteem, one good "take-down" can deplete it altogether
It's difficult to talk face-to-face on an equal basis because it's risky. By keeping these points in mind, you can avoid cutting others down or being sarcastic, because by "winning" arguments you only decrease their self-esteem more and makes it harder to get along with them in the long run.
"There is only one effective way to deal with trouble-makers: Help the other fellow like himself better"
The author isn't talking about insincere, fake flattery, but actual genuine compliments and praise.
First Law of Human Relations Summarize:
"People act - or failt to act - largely to enhance their own egos."
Using Reason that will enhance the ego - it can work on anyone:
The book goes into a story of General Oglethorpe wanting permission from the King of England to found a colony in the New World. His logical arguments on the King were not working, so instead he tried to appeal to his ego with the following:
Oglethorpe started out trying to sell the idea of what a fine thing it would be for England to have a colony in the New World - what a glorius thing it would be to plant the English flag in new territory.
"But we already have colonies in the New World," said the King.
"True, Sire," said Olgethorpe, "but none of them is named for you"
The King sat up and took notice. He not only gave permission to settle the new colony named George, he financed the whole thing and even helped to populate it by setting scot-free debtors who owed money to the Crown."
"One of the most universal hungers is the hunger to feel important, to have your personal worth as a human being confirmed by others, to be appreciated, to be noticed."
"All of us not only need to feel that we are important: We need to feel that other people recognize and acknowledge our importance."
With this in mind, we have the ability to continuously "feed" others hunger by giving away our wealth of sincere praise, compliments, appreciations, etc. Give it away abundantly and to everyone! The little things matter :).
Key: "Convince yourself once and for all that other people are important!"
By following this there isn't a need for gimmicks or how-tos on getting to know to someone, just recognize they are important in their own way, ask more about who they are, what they are passionate about, and their story.
How much do you notice and think about the things that are important to you? Everyone has different important things in their life, and this is why each of our perceptions of the same events are different.
Noticing others, learning about them, and letting them know they are important show others we recognize and appreciate them.
When you do this, people work harder for you (if you're a manager) or stay longer at the company since they believe their role is important there. Further, if you're in a group, make sure to spotlight every person as it makes sense. Never ignore others, always acknowledge their presence at the very minimum.
"Everybody needs to feel important and feel the other people recognize his importance."
This can be used to your own advantage or disadvantage - the temptation to impress upon others our own importance is always present, because we want to be recognized and make a good impression also.
Someone tells a story, we want to one up them. Someone has a cool experience, we want to show a better one. Someone has a new side project, we want to show one of ours that's amazing. This is caused by our need to impress the other personal also, but overshadowing causes disdain and contempt.
Here's the rule from the book: "You want to make a good impression on the other fellow. But the most effect way ever discovered for impressing the other fellow is to let him know that you are impressed by him."
When should we correct someone?
We should only correct someone if the answer to the following question is yes: "Does it make any real difference whether he or she is right or wrong?
For example - whether a gun is loaded or not vs whether or not the sodium level of salted peanuts is 600mg vs 800mg.
Obviously the gun loaded one is quite important to contradict someone on.
There's no reward for winning every single conversation. Here's a funny example from the book:
"Not long ago I had dinner with the owner of a small restaurant and a prominent account. During the conversation the restaurant man said, "I don't try to make too much money, because if you make $100,000 you are in the 90 percent bracket and the government will only let you keep $10,000, while if you make only $30,000 you get to keep $15,000."
I looked at the accountant. He didn't bat an eyelash.
Afterward, I said to him, "Why didn't you set him straight?"
"I'm surprised I have to tell you that, Les," he said. "I didn't set him straight simply because it would have served no purpose except to make him feel small. What difference does it really make whether he is set straight or not. e wants to to believe that. If he made $100,000 a year and I was preparing his income tax returns I would set him straight, but since he doesn't make $100,00 and nothing is involved except his own ego - why bother?"
Some people reject the idea of "controlling" the actions of others, but the book will show that whether or not you want to, you're doing it anyway. Since we're constantly doing it, our choice is: "Should we use it for good or evil, for our benefit or our disadvantage?"
Reciprocation bias means that humans react and respond to the attitude and action expressed by others in the way they are being reacted or responded to.
People live up to the stage set to them, or in other words, to our expectations we've set for them - even if on accident.
When we deal with others, we see our own attitudes reflected back to us in their behavior - like a mirror. Have you ever tried to talk quietly back to someone who's yelling at you?
You can keep another person from becoming angry, if use facts from Psychology in time:
- You can control the other persons tone by your own tone,
- Talk quietly because the louder you talk -> the angrier you become
Do you want others to become enthusiastic over your ideas?
"...You never sell anything to anyone else until you yourself are sold on it. When you are sold, and the other fellow knows you are sold, he'll want it. Go one step further and sell yourself on the idea that he is going to buy, and he is almost forced into buying what you are selling."
"You can make others have confidence in you and in your proposition - by acting confidently"
"Act confident. Look confidence. And you'll find that you begin to feel more confident."
Confidence has a way of showing itself in subtle ways - here are some tips to watch out for:
- Watch Your Walk - Shoulders back, eyes looking out to some goal you feel you can attaint. No drooping shoulders or head down.
- Your tattle-tale handshake - Limp, dishrag is low on self-confidence, bone-crusher is over compensating, firm but not crushing -> that's where confidence lives.
- Your Tone of Voice - Voice expression is huge in confidence signaling. Do you speak up confidently or mumble? Does it express courage? Listen to your voice and analyze
When you scold, shame, threaten, or give "you should do this" advice, most of the time nothing changes. Instead, frame advice or actions in a way that others can "live up to" your opinion of them.
"Winston Churchill, who is a truly a master in the art of dealing with people, once said, "I have found that the best way to get another to acquire a virture, is to impute it to him."
Let someone know you think they can be trusted and he will prove himself trustworthy.
Many times, the very first note of a piece of music tells you the very last note as well - meaning that they typically start and end with the same note.
The same can be said in our interactions, how we set the stage and live up to it dictates how the scene goes. If you want to be taken seriously and business-like, then start the conversation off in a business tone. Those who are in the stage with you, will live up to the tone that's set, so setting it correctly makes a huge difference.
"Before you go into any kind of discussion, it is well to ask yourself the question: "What do I really want from this? How do I want this to go? What mood do I want to prevail?"
Remember that our first impression becomes the last impression people have of us, even though it can be changed, it takes time and effort to do so.
*"You yourself are more responsible for how you are accepted than anyone else"
We worry about how others perceive and think of us, but people form opinions about us based on our opinions of ourselves.
"If you aren't accepted as you would like to be, maybe you should blame yourself. Act as if you were a nobody, and the world will take you at your own value. Act as if you were somebody, and the world has no choice but to treat you as somebody."
This isn't an excuse to be arrogant or stuck up. Those who do so, actually feel insignificant
Those that are "big" are natural and homey.
"People judge you not only by the value you put on yourself...they judge you by the value you put on other things: your job, your work, even your competition."
"Negative talk and negative opinions give a bad impression."
The value you place on your job or where you're shows how you really feel about it. Two examples: "Oh, I work at the ----- bank" as if you were ashamed or "I work at the best bank in this part of the country."
People will think more of the second answer.
Rule 1: "The best way ever discovered by psychology to get a "yes" response is to put the other fellow in a "yes" mood. You do this by creating a positive and affirmative atmosphere, rather than a negative one."
You can start this off by getting the other person to answer yes to preliminary questions like: "isn't the weather great today?" or "Isn't this a beautiful color?"
Yes can be negative, if you're asking negative questions ("Isn't the heat terrible today") --- negative mood.
Rule 2: ask a question where the answer is implied. "Instead of saying, "Do you like this?" say, "I believe you like this one, don't you?"
Rule 3: Nod your head affirmatively as you ask the question, because your actions influence the actions of others.
"Hardly anything is stronger in suggestion than the calm assumption that the other fellow is going to do what you want him to do."
"I seldom, if ever, ask anyone if he will do something. I always try to find some personal reason why the other fellow would want to do, then just assume that he does want to do it, and is going to do it. I let them know that I believe they can do it, that I have confidence in their ability, that I trust them to do a good job - then leave them alone and let them do it. Constantly looking over a man's shoulder implies you do not quite trust him to do a good job. I assume he is going to do a good job, and I'm very seldom disappointed."
"When a famous newspaper reporter called at the editorial offices of the Christian Science Monitor, he looked around and did not see any "No Smoking" signs. So he asked, "Is there a rule against smoking in here?"
"No," said the editor. "There is no rule. But nobody ever has."
Although the report was a chain-smoker, and he was told there was no rule against it-he found he simply could not smoke. So strong was the influence of knowing he was not expected to smoke."
People who draw others to them and easily connect with others are easy to describe, difficult to imitate.
"We all hunger to be accepted as we are. We want someone we can relax with. Someone we can let our hair down and take our shoes off with. Very few of us are brave enough to "be ourselves" completely when dealing with the world in general. But we like to have somebody that we can be ourselves with, someone we can afford to be ourselves with, because we know we will be accepted."
Don't set rigid personal standards of how you think other people ought to act. Give the other person the right to be her(him)self. If they are a little peculiar, let them be. Don't insist that everything someone else does has to be the same as what you do or like. Let people relax.
"No one has the power to reform another person, but by liking the other person as he is, you give him the power to change himself."
"...each of us must be accepted by the people who count to us."
Approval goes further than acceptance, because acceptance is accepting others faults and still being friends - while approval means finding positive things we like.
"You can always find something to approve of in the other person - and you can always find something to disapprove of. It depends upon what you're looking for."
Positive personalities bring out the good in us, by highlighting something they can approve of. Because of this, people continually try to develop positive traits that others can draw on to get that approval again.
Key: "A good rule to remember in complimenting people is this: people are more pleased at a compliment if you praise them for some virtue that is not glaringly obvious"
3. Appreciation is Magic
Appreciate means to raise in value, so we want to find people who appreciate us and raise our value.
Key: Stop and consider just how valuable other people are to you - your wife, husband, children, your boss, your employees, your customers. Emphasize their value in your own mind. Then figure out little ways to let the other person know you value him highly. And always remember that people are the most important, the most valuable things on earth."
Ways to appreciate people:
- Don't keep ppl waiting
- Acknowledge presence of others, and let them know if you will see as soon as possible
- Thank people
- Treat someone as special
Flowers and Bees
Flowers know how to attract bees, because they want and need them to pollinate. Instead of scolding or tricking the bees, the flower attracts bees through nectar which then the bees eat and pollinate the flowers as they visit each one.
"Honey attracts more flies than vinegar."
"You've got to believe the other fellow is going to like you,..."
The author's roommate in college was thoroughly convinced the other person would be friendly, so he wasn't afraid of people or on the defense.
"Fear is one of the greatest handicaps to getting to know people quickly and getting off on a friendly footing."
You can't be afraid the other person won't like you, because others can sense it and you are less available to be friends with.
"If your basic attitude is that other people will be unfriendly - or that "people just don't like me" - your experience will prove it to be so. But if you have the basic attitude that "Most people are friendly, and want to be friendly toward me" - again your experience will prove it so."
key: Have the idea that others want to be friendly
Don't be a "try too hard" type of person, where you are obviously trying to charm someone or get them to be friendly with you.
When someone is "begging for friendship" - people back away.
Just relax and know that others will be friendly, so then you can be cool, calm, and collected meeting them!
key: smile - it shows confidence
Smiles say: "I like you and I come as a friend."
"The person at whom we smile, smiles back."
The author isn't talking about a small lip smile, he's talking about the feeling of happiness and laughter expressed through one of those natural smiles that light up the face!
Need help with that? Practice in the mirror - say cheese to make that kool aid smile shine!
If you give a superficial smiling, you aren't really smiling!
Most successful men and women you know - are great talkers!
The book mentions a study by Wilfred Funk who determined that "earning power and word skill so closely tied together that you can safely expect to increase your earnings simply by increasing your word power."
Being able to properly express your emotions help you convey and converse with others, so you don't bottle it up.
"In even the most stimulating conversations fully 50 percent of what is said is not only trie, but absolutely meaningless..."
Small talk isn't about being brilliant, its a warm up to stronger conversation.
To bring out interesting talk from others - ask real questions after warming up with small talk. Ask about the person, because people are interesting and learning about them is great, plus it is something easy to talk about.
Being a good conversationalist isn't about thinking of a bunch of great things to say, instead its about keeping the conversation open by both getting the other person to talk and interesting topics.
The U-turn means to turn the conversation from ME/I to YOU.
To ask interesting questions, use: "why, where, and how"
If you're feeling down - write yourself a letter with exactly how you feel and go into great detail. Make a huge deal about it. When you are done, don't mail it - burn it or throw it away. Thinking through, writing it down, then getting past it helps immensely!
The reason people tease or use sarcasm is for fun, to make others laugh, or show affection, but not take personal offense.
Teasing and kidding are both aimed at the self-esteem of the other person, and threatening self-esteem, even in fun, isn't a good idea. Sarcasm always has a cruel element about it, because it's calculated and a jib at the other person.
Polls show that people don't like kidding or sarcasm, but since we like our friends we don't tell them about it.
"To be able to listen to others in a sympathetic and understanding manner is perhaps the most effective mechanism in the world for getting along with people and tying up their friendship for good. Too few people practice the "white magic" of being good listeners."
By listening you are sure to prove to the other person that you are the wisest, most intelligent person they have met.
Exaggerated, but we'll take it!
Funny Walk Whitman story
"Walt Whitman and a friend were once walking down the street, when Whitman stopped and engaged a stranger in conversation. For 15 or 20 minutes, Whitman monopolized the conversation, and the other fellow hardly opened his mouth. When they left, Whitman turned to his friend and said, "There was an intelligent man."
"How do you know he's intelligent?" asked his friend in surprise, "He Hardly said a word."
"He listened to me, didn't he? asked Whitman. "That proves he is an intelligent man"
"If you can get the other fellow to talk enough, he simply cannot disguise his real feelings or his real motives. He may try as hard as he wishes, but invariably he will "give himself away."
"You can never really understand another human being unless you are willing to listen, carefully, sympathetically, and patiently.
Listening like this can make you rich in many ways, not just money, but in friendship and accomplishment.
Key: You've got to know what people want, what they need, and what they are. If you are going to deal with them effectively.
We naturally want to argue when others disagree with or have opposing ideas. We take it against our own ego, so we hit back. This doesn't work though, "because the only way you can ever really win an argument is to get the other person to change their mind"
You will struggle to win arguments if you try to attack another person's eg.
There is only one way to get an idea accepted, suggestion.
Let the other person state their case - it gets their full ideas heard and puts them in the mindset of listening to yours afterwards. Even ask for repeated info on things you want more clarity on.
Pause before you answer - A slight pause indicates you considered and thought about their idea before answering
Don't insist on winning 100 percent - if plausible, acknowledge and give in on minor or unimportant points.
State your case moderately and accurately - Using calmly stated facts is more effective than exaggerating. Ben Franklin said: "They way to convince another...is to state your case moderately and accurately. Then say that of course you may be mistaken about it; which causes your listener to receive what you have to say, and, like as not, turn about and convince you of it, since you are in doubt. But if you go at him in a tone of positiveness and arrogance you only make an opponent of him."
Speak through third persons - Third person is much less likely to arouse the ego of the other person than what you say
Let the other person save face
If you ask your neighbor two questions:
"Joe, how about helping me spade this lawn?? or "Joe, I've got a problem here. I wish I knew what I'm doing wrong. I can't seem to get the knack of preparing this ground properly so grass will grow on it. Do you have any ideas of anything that would help?"
The second one will most likely get Joe to help over the first.
"It is psychologically impossible for a human being to give us 100 percent of their brawn, unless they are also allowed to give their ideas".
In approach one for your neighbor Joe, you have asked him to help spade a lawn that's your problem. In approach two, you asked for help so you've now made it a problem that's interesting and needs solved for him too. Use your full brain trust
Instead of telling someone to do this or that - ask for ideas to contribute to it.
Hold "Family Planning Sessions" to allow the whole family to find solutions to problems, so everyone is heard and part of the decision making process.
You can't do and know everything, so by allowing others to collective come up with ideas, not only do you include them in the challenge, but also get better ideas!
Asking others: "If you were me, how would you go about getting this idea across" instead of - "I wish you would approve or decide in my favor"
Ask "What is your opinion about this matter? or "How would you go about doing this?"
People love to be asked for advice and ideas, and it results in great ones too :).
key: - Don't use this as an excuse to continually tell others your problems and constantly ask for advice. Only ask someone for advice, ideas, suggestions, if you REALLY MEAN IT.
Giving praise gives people energy!
Remember LS/MFT from above? To overcome them, give the other person's self-esteem a boost by giving them praise!
Give other's credit and let them know their efforts are appreciated.
Credit for their work. They want praise for what they have accomplished.
Give a sincere praise to someone every single day!
You can give praise for the little things - it doesn't have to be huge efforts or success. The little things matter!
"Look for things you can thank people for. Every time you say the words, "Thank You," and mean it, you are giving the other person credit - praising him for having done something you appreciate."
6 Rules for Saying Thank You
- Thanks should be sincere
- Say it - don't mumble it
- Thank people by name
- Look at the person you are thanking
- Work at thanking people
- Thank people when they least expect it
Deliberately looking for good things in other people makes you happier and enjoy life more. People are important, show them!
- It must be Sincere
- Praise the act or the attribute, rather than the person
Right: "Jones, you're sales led our entire district last week" Wrong: Jones, you're a hard worker
The Sever Musts for Successful Criticism
- Criticism must be made in absolute privacy
- Preface criticism with a kind word or compliment
- Make the criticism impersonal; criticize the act, not the person
- Supply the answer
- Ask for cooperation; don't demand it - "Will you make these corrections?"
- One criticism to an offense - To call attention to a given error one time is justified. Twice is unnecessary. Three times is nagging. Your goal is to get the job done, not win the ego fight. Let the pass go, don't keep bring it up.
- Finish in a Friendly Fashion
The last chapter of the book has a workbook you can use to become better. I won't be posting it on the blog, but definitely worth looking into if you've enjoyed the notes and buy the book!
I overall enjoyed the book and felt that it has some great tips to use going forward. As with all personal development books, I find that I pick and choose my favorite tips from them, always working to become better utilizing the advice of experts.