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Win Friends, Influence Recruiters

Published July 24, 2014

Want to know what Warren Buffett (billionaire investor), Dick Cheney (American politician) and Charles Manson (a notorious murderer) all have in common? 

motivationThey all read Dale Carnagie’s famous 1936 self-help book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

For all of them it was a catalyst of change in their respective careers.

Perhaps this isn’t the case for everyone who’s read the book. At the time of the authors death in 1955 it had already sold 5 million copies. It has now sold over 15 million copies.

A revised edition was released in 1981, which is well worth reading. In the meantime, until you have time to read all 290 pages, here’s some key takeaways for job seekers and anyone currently networking themselves into a new career:

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

It all starts with a simple phrase, which you need to word just the right way. Not, “What do you do?” But – “So, tell me about what you do?” One will lead to a short answers. The other opens the door for the other person to talk in detail about what they do.

You might wonder, but how does this help me?

Get someone onto the subject of themselves and they warm immediately to the person asking the questions.


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2. Smile.

Never underestimate the power of a smile.

jackA real one. Our brains can spot the difference.

A smile disarms, charms, serves as a gateway to making a human connection.

3. Be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves.

We have two ears and one mouth, so why are we so good at using one twice as much as the other?

People who are good listeners flip the listening – talking ratio on its head.

Not only does that not harm them – it certainly didn’t do Warren Buffett any harm – it helps. Being the quietest one in the room can be a great show of strength and insight. Only once you’ve gathered enough insight into another person can you put that to use. Let them talk. Ask questions. Actually be interested.

A recruiter or HR executive will remember that conversation, and you will know a lot more than other candidates when you do a follow-up email.

4. Talk in terms of the other person’s interest.

This is when listening skills get kicked up a gear. Pay special attention to the language the other person uses. The words they use to describe their interests, passions, job, company the work for, family, and anything they mention more than once.

perksNow, when you are asking them to expand on something, refer to it using similar words. 

Mirroring spoken language, like facial expressions and body language are all powerful techniques when winning someone over.

5. Make the other person feel important – and do it sincerely.

All of these techniques combined: listening, smiling, asking questions, mirroring – and you will successfully make the other person feel important.

Providing you do all of this with sincerity.

Like a smile, charm, or an attempt at charisma, will fall flat if faked. Bring your A-game if you are going to attempt any of this at a networking event or in an interview.

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