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21. Blindingly obvious advice for small business

When you write down Dale Carnegie’s advice in simple summary without the detail in the text it all sounds blindingly obvious. But then that’s true of much more academic business books too. The fact is that most things that are going to make most difference to most businesses are common sense and straightforward – just as most business ideas are in retrospect. But that does not make it any easier to see that and do something about it at the time.

Some of Dale Carnegie’s ideas can seem like simple tricks – the tough aspect of Dale Carnegie’s teaching is that, to be most successful, these are NOT just tricks that you can learn, but you must genuinely be or change to be able to project the sincerity necessary to make his ideas work. It requires thought, understanding – including self-awareness – practice and the building of good habits – if you do not already have them. As Groucho Marx said: “Sincerity is the key to success. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made!” It’s less hard work to be sincere than to fake it.

So let’s start with Carnegie’s 6 ways to make people like you:

1. Become genuinely interested in other people.

2. Smile!

3. Names are important to people: remember them and use them.

4. Become a good listener.

5. Reflect the other person’s interests.

6. Make the other person feel important and do it sincerely.

There you have it – very simple. Well, maybe it might not be so easy to do as to write.

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