“If there is one secret to success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view, and see things from his angle as well as your own.”

This is what Dale Carnegie wrote in Chapter 3 of How to Win Friends and Influence People written in 1936.

He tells stories about people who make the blunder of trying to influence others by talking about what they want instead of what the other person wants.

I like his fishing example. No matter how much we love strawberries, it would be a mistake to use one as bait to catch a fish. Yet we will try to attract people to us and our positions by dangling what we think and want in front of them. We seldom make any effort to find out what the other person wants or needs. We don’t even ask.

I’m reminded of Phil, the Executive Director of an association I’ve been a member of for forty years. Phil needs to recruit members to execute projects. He begins by explaining why he thinks the person he calls is right for the task, and how it could benefit that person in the industry. AND, he ALWAYS ends by asking “what can I do for you?” It’s difficult to say no to Phil.

Carnegie goes on to say that another way to think about this is to ask ourselves what we want. And then think about how much we would like to spend time with someone who could help us get that.

Think about that. What do you want or need? If you could meet someone who could help you get that, would you be willing to let that person into your inner circle?

If someone is only interested in what they want and makes no or little effort to find out about you and your needs, how much of your precious time will you devote to them?

Maybe you have been in an interest or support group. Some of these are called Mastermind Groups.

The glue that binds the members together is them working to see things from the other member’s perspective first, and then helping one another set and accomplish individual goals.

I’ll close with another quote from Dale Carnegie.

“So, the only way on earth to influence the other fellow is to talk about what he wants and show him how to get it.”