Use a Friendly Approach to Win Friends and Influence People

September 21, 2012

If your temper is aroused and you tell another person a “thing or two,” you’ll have a fine time unloading your feelings, but will your belligerent tones and hostile attitude make it easy for the person to agree with you? Definitely not!

As an example, Dale Carnegie cites an example from one of his students, Gerald H. Winn of Littleton, New Hampshire, who obtained a very satisfactory settlement on a damage claim by using a friendly approach:

“Early in the spring,” reported Winn, “before the ground had thawed from winter freezing, there was an unusually heavy rainstorm and the water, which normally would have run off to nearby ditches and storm drains along the road, took a new course onto a building lot where I had just built a new home.

“Not being able to run off, the water pressure built up around the foundation of the house. The water forced itself under the concrete basement floor, causing it to explode, and the basement filled with water. This ruined the furnace and the hot-water heater. The cost to repair this damage was in excess of two thousand dollars. I had no insurance to cover this type of damage.

“However, I soon found out that the owner of the subdivision had neglected to put in a storm drain near the house which could have prevented this problem. I made an appointment to see him. During the twenty-five-minute trip to his office, I carefully reviewed the situation and, remembering the principles I learned in this course, I decided that showing my anger would not serve any worthwhile purpose. When I arrived, I kept very calm and started by talking about his recent vacation to the West Indies; then, when I felt the timing was right, I mentioned the ‘little’ problem of water damage. He quickly agreed to do his share in helping to correct the problem.

“A few days later he called and said he would pay for the damage and also put in a storm drain to prevent the same thing from happening in the future.

“Even though it was the fault of the owner of the subdivision, if I had not begun in a friendly way, there would have been a great deal of difficulty in getting him to agree to the total liability.”

In your dealings with others always remember what Lincoln said: “A drop of honey catches more flies than a gallon of gall.”

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