How to Win Friends and Influence People

Dale Carnegie

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In talking with people, don’t begin by discussing the things on which you differ. Begin
by emphasizing - and keep on emphasizing - the things on which you agree. Keep
emphasizing, if possible, that you are both striving for the same end and that your only
difference is one of method and not of purpose.
Get the other person saying “Yes, yes” at the outset. Keep your opponent, if possible,
from saying “No.” A “No” response, according to Professor Overstreet,* is a most
difficult handicap to overcome. When you have said “No,” all your pride of personality
demands that you remain consistent with yourself. You may later feel that the “No”
was ill advised; nevertheless, there is your precious pride to consider! Once having said
a thing, you feel you must stick to it. Hence it is of the very greatest importance that a
person be started in the affirmative direction.
* Harry A. Overstreet, Influencing Human Behavior (New York: Norton, 1925).
The skillful speaker gets, at the outset, a number of “Yes” responses. This sets the
psychological process of the listeners moving in the affirmative direction. It is like the
movement of a billiard ball. Propel in one direction, and it takes some force to deflect it;
far more force to send it back in the opposite direction.
The psychological patterns here are quite clear. When a person says “No” and really
means it, he or she is doing far more than saying a word of two letters. The entire
organism - glandular, nervous, and muscular - gathers itself together into a condition of
rejection. There is, usually in minute but sometimes in observable degree, a physical
withdrawal or readiness for withdrawal. The whole neuromuscular system, in short,
sets itself on guard against acceptance. When, to the contrary, a person says “Yes,”