Only a fourth of the way through Dale Carnegie’s masterpiece How to Win Friends and Influence People, and already your humble correspondent believes it should be required reading for anyone and everyone. Forget Great Expectations and A Tale of Two Cities (sorry, Mr. Dickens…), this unassuming little book reveals the secrets to thriving in society, and though it was written nearly 80 years ago, it most certainly stands the test of time. Upon completion of the first section of the book, “Fundamental Techniques in Handling People,” here a few tips on how to get the reaction you want from your audience.
Tell Them What They Want
One of the things Carnegie is clear about from the get-go is that you’re not going to get anywhere by telling people what you want. Essentially, the only person who cares about what you want is you. People are interested in themselves. When they read letters, emails and press releases, they’re thinking about it from their point of view. They’re thinking about it from their interests, their concerns, and their situation in life.
You’re certainly not going to persuade an audience to align with your point of view if you’re up there talking about yourself, your needs and your wants. Carnegie quotes the esteemed tycoon Henry Ford: “If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person’s point of view and see things from that person’s angle as well as from your own.” Once you see things from the point of view of your audience, you can tell them how what you have aligns ideally with what they want.
Focus on Them
The real beauty of Carnegie’s advice to consider others’ point of view before your own lies in its result of both players getting what they want. It’s not about one person winning and the other person losing, it’s about both people coming out ahead. Be obviously interested in helping your audience, not yourself. Tell them why what you’re offering is good for them. Tell them why it will genuinely improve their life. If you present what you want as a solution for their problem, it ends up benefitting both of you. You get the reaction you want, and they get the solution they needed.
As a presenter, you act as the liaison between audience and message. You are the face of the message you’re delivering, so get excited about what you’re offering! Make sure your enthusiasm is so obvious that it’s infectious. And make sure that enthusiasm is directed toward why this product is so helpful and so exciting for the audience. If you’re amped about the product, the pitch, the message your audience will be, too.
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