Success, Honey and Vinegar

Interpersonal competence is one of the keys to success that I discuss in Straight Talk for Success.  If you want to become interpersonally competent you need to do three things.  1) Get to know yourself.  Use this self knowledge to better understand and relate to others.  2) Build solid, lasting mutually beneficial relationships with the important people in your life.  3) Learn how to resolve conflict with a minimal disruption to your relationships.

Dale Carnegie wrote the book on how to build relationships.  How to Win Friends and Influence People has sold over 15 million copies since it was published in 1936.  Why does this book have such long legs?  I think because it is filled with common sense.

Mr. Carnegie believed that only about 15% of your success is due to your technical knowledge, while 85% is due to your ability to build relationships.  His philosophy can be summed up in a few words…

Act enthusiastically, smile, become genuinely interested in other people.  Don’t criticize, condemn or complain.

The March issue of SUCCESS Magazine has a great article about Dale Carnegie.  Are you a SUCCESS subscriber?  If not, I suggest you log on to and do so.  Every month, SUCCESS has a great collection of inspirational and how to articles that will help you grow and succeed.  A sidebar to the article on Dale Carnegie lists several points about relationship building…

• Avoid arguments.
• Respect differing viewpoints.
• When you are wrong, admit it emphatically and move on.
• You will get more in business and life with honey than with vinegar.  Be friendly and gentle.
• When you begin a conversation – even an opponent – focus on things on which you both agree.
• Let other people talk more than you.  Listen fully.
• See things from others’ point of view.
• Believe that people are inherently good and honest.
• Talk about your own mistakes before pointing out someone else’s.
• Use questions to lead people in the direction you want them to go.
• Always help people maintain their pride.
• Lavish praise on others every time you see an improvement.
• See the best in people and they will rise to your expectations.
• Be supportive.  Help people see that mistakes can be corrected.
• When you want people to do things the way you suggest, point out the benefits of doing it your way.

The common sense point here is simple.  Successful people are interpersonally competent.  Interpersonally competent people build and maintain strong, lasting, mutually beneficial relationships with the people in their lives.  Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great book for learning how to become interpersonally competent and to build strong relationships.  Mr. Carnegie’s advice can be boiled down into one simple point that he – and my grandmother – often said, “you get more flies with honey than vinegar.”  Try it, you’ll be surprised at how much being nice pays off in your life and career.  It can make you a personal and professional success.

That’s my take on interpersonal competence, relationship building, Dale Carnegie and the power of being nice.  What’s yours?  Please leave a comment sharing your thoughts with us.  As always, thanks for reading.


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