21 March 2006

You Can't Win...

I was flipping through a copy of Dale Carnegie's "How To Win Friends And Influence People," the other day. Not just because it's an interesting book, although it is. In all honesty, I was looking for a way to keep my latest project from being deep-sixed.

Somewhat to my surprise, I actually found what I was looking for, in chapter 1 of Part 3 (on page 109). Actually, I found it in the table of contents, and scarcely had to skim through pages 109 - 115 because the nugget I needed was right there in the title of the chapter: "You Can't Win An Argument."

Mr. Carnegie explains (in rhyme!): A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still...

The trick, therefore, is to not engage in an argument. Instead of disagreeing, find a way to agree that the other person is seeking / asserting / advocating the same thing as you...

It's not being underhanded or sneaky. It's just recognizing that often the best way to present your position is in terms already familiar to and accepted by the person you're talking with...

Next week: Why arguments are absolutely necessary, unavoidable and winnable (I think).

2 comments:

Pete Aldin said...

It's such a shame that Carnegie has faded into into the mists of time for many becuase his book is gold.

I am of course late to this post because it was only Rosa Say who drew my attention to it. But...

I'm with you, Dan. I'm going to make a concerted effort to not win arguments, all the more difficult the older I get.

Dan said...

I agree. I find his stuff old-fashioned sounding, more than a little bit corny, somewhat dated... and yet still absolutely brilliant.

He was such a pioneer, and at the same time his insights are really timeless (even if the packaging & style is a bit timeworn). I really should read his stuff more often than I do...