12 Principles for CONVINCING Others without OFFENDING Them

Key Takeaways
  • Hone your communication skills
  • Develop your ability to persuade others
  • Expand your influence amongst your peers

Text transcription (literal):

This is the second part of the video review of the book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” with 12 principles for convincing others without offending them. This is why we’re starting with the10th principle.

In his youth, author Dale Carnegie loved arguing.

He had studied logical and critical thinking in college. He never missed the opportunity to participate in adversarial debates. He even then led a course in dialectics and made the project of writing a book on the subject.

Then, after attending and participating in thousands of discussions, he analyzed them and came to a conclusion: the best way to win in an argument is to avoid it.

9 times out of 10, everyone withdraws from the debate, being more convinced than ever to be right.

In fact, no one wins these battles because if you lose, you lose. And if you win, you lose too.

If you have proved your opponent wrong, you have made him/her feel inferior, you have hurt his/her self-esteem and pride. However, a person convinced in spite of himself/herself, he/she always maintains the same opinion.

Therefore, you have to choose between a spectacular and theoretical triumph or a heartfelt accord. The two are rarely obtained together.

convincing others without offending them

You can be right 100 times, if you insist on proving it to change your opponent’s opinion, your efforts will be as in vain as if you were wrong.

Here are some tips for convincing others without offending them :

  1. Don’t give in to your first impulse
  2. Control your anger
  3. Listen first
  4. Look for common ground
  5. Be honest
  6. Promise to think about your opponent’s ideas and to study them carefully
  7. Sincerely thank your opponents for their interest

So, delay your action until both parties have time to examine the problem in detail.

Principle # 10 is: Avoiding arguments is the only way to really come out on top.

When Theodore Roosevelt was President of the United States, he confessed that he couldn’t be sure he was right more than 75% of the time. It was the extreme limit of his possibilities.

If this was the degree that such a successful man could achieve, what about you and me?

In fact, if we could truly be sure to be right even 50% of the time, we would just have to install a WordPress and earn at least a million dollars a day.

But if we cannot achieve this percentage, why would we allow ourselves to say that others are wrong?

Therefore, never start a sentence with “I will prove that to you” or “I will show you that” because that amounts to saying, “I am smarter than you and I will make you change your mind”, which can only hurt people’s self-esteem without changing their beliefs.

It is indeed difficult even under the most favorable conditions to change the opinion of others. So, why raise obstacles and add more difficulty?

If someone tells you something that you think is wrong, isn’t it better to start with “listen, I don’t agree with that at all, but I could be wrong, it happens a lot.” So, if I’m wrong, I want to correct my opinion. Let’s examine it together, shall we?”

This kind of sentence is magic because no one can object to it.

“I could be wrong, let’s examine it together.”

Who can find fault with this? So, if you readily admit that you are prone to error, you will never get into trouble.

So, principle # 11 is: Respect the other person’s opinions. Never tell them they are wrong.

Respect the other person's opinions

One day, the author was walking his dog without a leash and without a muzzle in a park, which was prohibited. He came face to face with a policeman who, after a sharp rebuke, told him not to come back.

A week later, Dale Carnegie ran into the same policeman under the same circumstances.

He rushed over to the policeman, apologized, and reminded him that he had promised to fine him if he did the same thing. The policeman replied in a moderate tone.

Dale Carnegie insisted on his guilt and him being wrong. Eventually the merciful policeman let him off because this policeman, like all of us, was only a man. What he wanted was to assert his authority.

When Dale Carnegie accused himself, the only way the policeman could maintain his self-esteem was to adopt a magnanimous attitude.

When we know we deserve to be scolded, isn’t it better to courageously take the initiative and make our mea culpa?

If we blame ourselves, isn’t it more acceptable than it coming from someone else’s mouth?

So, principle # 12 is: If you are wrong, admit it promptly and emphatically.

Aesop, the Greek slave of the seventh century BC already had this principle in this fable.

One day the wind and the sun argued over who was stronger.

The wind says, “I’m going to prove to you that it’s me. Do you see that old man over there? I bet I’ll get him to take off his coat faster than you can.”

Whereupon the sun disappeared behind a cloud and the wind began to blow like a hurricane. But the harder he blew, the more the man grabbed onto his coat. Finally, the wind died down and stopped. Then, the sun came out from behind the cloud and gently smiled at the traveler. Soon he felt its warmth, wiped his forehead and took off his coat.

The sun then pointed out to the wind that gentleness and goodness are always stronger than violence and fury.

So, principle # 13 is: Begin in a friendly manner.

When you want to convince someone, avoid raising issues that you don’t agree with right from the start. Instead, focus on the points that bring you together and underline them; the aim is to show that you are working towards the same goal, and differ only on the means to achieve it.

And for that, to make this person say yes as soon as possible and especially to make sure that they do not say “no” because, as Overstreet says in his book “Influencing Human Behavior”, a negative response is a difficult obstacle to overcome.

When a person has said “no”, all their pride demands that they keep a consistent attitude. Do they understand later that this “no” is unjustified?

Too bad, they cannot retract. Above all, they must spare their precious self-esteem.

That is why it is extremely important to start off in the right direction from the beginning, that of acquiescence. Because when a person says “no” sincerely with conviction, they are more than articulating a two-letter word. Every letter is on the defensive. The whole neuromuscular system is on the guard against consent.

On the contrary, when the person says “yes”, their body takes a receptive, consenting attitude. Therefore, the more we manage to accomplish “yes”, the better we will succeed in putting our listener in a favorable mood for our proposition.

And it should be known that this principle is known under the name of escalation of commitment in the psychology of commitment, which is fully described in the books “Brief Treatise of Manipulation for Honest People” and “Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion”.

Most people talk too much when they have to convince someone else.

Let the other person spill their guts. They know about their affairs and their problems better than you do. Ask them questions and let them speak. This gives good results in professional relations as well as in friendships or with family.

So, principle # 15 is: Let the other person speak at ease.

Don’t the ideas that we discover on our own instill in us more confidence than those presented to us on a silver platter?

If this is true, isn’t it insensitive to try to impose our opinions at all costs? Isn’t it wiser to make some suggestions while letting the other person draw their own conclusions?

25 centuries ago, the Chinese sage Lao Tzu said that the reason rivers and seas are the kings of hundreds of mountain streams is that they stay lower than them. They can then rule over all mountain streams.

The sage who wants to be above others places himself below. Wanting to be in front, he places himself behind. So, although his place is above others, they do not feel his weight. Although his place is in front, they are not hurt by it.

So, principle 16 is: Give the person you are talking to the pleasure of believing that the idea comes from him or her.

convincing others without offending them

Even if your neighbor is wrong, he/she doesn’t think he/she is wrong. Don’t condemn them. The first fool to come can condemn. Instead, try to understand them. This is the work of wise, tolerant, and even exceptional beings.

Indeed, to think and act as he/she does, your neighbor has a reason. Discover this hidden motive and you will know the secret of their actions and probably of their personality.

Consider the contrast between your passionate interest in your own affairs and your lukewarm attention to the rest of the world. Consider the fact that all people in the universe experience exactly what you experience. If you understand this, you will greatly improve in the art of leadership.

So, principle # 17 is: Make a sincere effort to see things from the other person’s point of view.

Wouldn’t you like to know a magic phrase that will help you avoid quarrels, dispel grudges, build goodwill and make the other person listen to you carefully?

The good news is that this magic phrase exists: “I understand your attitude very well and if I were you, I would probably have the same.”

Try it out and you will see its power.

So, principle # 18 is: Be sympathetic to the ideas and desires of others.

Everyone we meet has a different opinion of themselves and wants to appear noble and generous in their own eyes.

As a result, the individual generally has two reasons for acting: one that is good and one that is true.

The individual knows the second well, but he/she prefers to put forward his/her most honorable motives.

To influence others and convincing them, it is best to appeal to their noblest. For fear of creating cracks in the idealistic image they have of themselves, they will be more motivated to answer your calls.

So, principle # 19 is: Appeal to nobler motives.

Some time ago, a newspaper was the object of underhand rumors, which said in essence that this newspaper contained too many advertisements and not enough texts, that it was no longer of interest to the readers, etc.

It was necessary to act quickly in order to put an end to these devastating rumors.

The newspaper staff had a brilliant idea. They cut out all the non-publicity texts from an edition and published them in the form of a book, which they named “One Day”.

The book contained 307 pages, which is the usual average for a book, while the newspaper was sold at a fraction of the usual price of a book.

This publication shed light on the lies of rumors and struck minds in a more convincing and fearsome way than a mountain of numbers and arguments could have done.

So, principle # 20 is: Dramatize your ideas, strike the sight and the imagination.

The desire to surpass oneself and competition are two extremely powerful engines of the human soul.

To obtain results, encourage competition not by greed but by a nobler emulsion: the desire to do better, to surpass others and to surpass oneself.

So, principle # 21 is: Challenge.

These principles for convincing others without offending them are simple, but again, it’s easier to read or discover than to apply.

Try to apply at least one per week, adding a new principle each week and see what changes in your life.

You can also apply them half the time, and for the other half, don’t apply them and you see how it impacts your relationships with others.

My rating: Carnegie Carnegie CarnegieCarnegieCarnegieCarnegieCarnegieCarnegie Carnegie

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