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Dear Amigos,

Ever wondered why sometimes, whether it’s clients, team members, colleagues, or even your friends at the bar, seem more interested in their buzzing cell phones than in the story of how you won a Cannes Lion? We’ve all been there, questioning whether it’s us or them the real problem.

Things have never been the same after reading Dale Carnegie’s “How to Win Friends and Influence People” ; this book changed my life and helped answer the previous question and much more. The 275 pages of this book are filled with powerful advice on how to win clients, become a better leader, improve your conversations, be a more likable human, and of course, it’s filled with tips and tricks on how to “influence people.”

This is neither a summary of the book nor a list of instructions but rather some valuable takeaways from this life manual. We advise you to read it, not once, but twice, and even thrice, and if possible, go through it swiftly from time to time, because practice makes perfect. If you wish to improve your social and leadership skills, you need to put yourself out there and practice.

So, in a nutshell, here you’ll find some highlights of what we learned from Dale, in our own words, regarding how to make friends (and win clients):

1. Don’t make it about you

The first thing you need to understand is that people are fundamentally interested in one thing: themselves. So, the next time you find yourself in a conversation with a client, a colleague, or someone at the bus stop, ask yourself the following questions:

  • How can I make this conversation not about myself?
  • How could I be helpful to the person I have in front of me?
  • What does my audience gains from this?

Therefore, the next time you are presenting a project, don’t spend 20 minutes talking about how amazing you and your work are. Instead, appreciate the person you have in front of you and acknowledge their accomplishments, what makes them unique. Everyone is special and has something to add to the table. So be open and a good listener. Transform the conversation from a “me, me, me” point of view to a “we, we, we” perspective.

Mariah Carey, egocentric attitude. How to win clients and make friends on the way

2. Smile, and see what happens

As Dale Carnegie states in his book, “Actions speak louder than words, and a smile says: I like you. You make me happy. I am glad to see you.” Smiling is like opening a door to positive energy; people notice it and are attracted to it. Be a positive person; greet the world around you with a warm smile and observe the outcomes. Try smiling at everyone you encounter next week; greet each person with those pearly whites and see what happens.

This quote (found in the book) from an old advertisement summarizes it well:

“It costs nothing, but creates much. It enriches those who receive, without impoverishing those who give. It happens in a flash, and the memory of it sometimes lasts forever…It creates happiness in the home, fosters goodwill in business, and is the countersign of friends.”

The next time you enter a meeting, wear a big smile and sincerely ask the person in front of you how he or she is doing. Don’t just be polite; be genuinely interested in the person in front of you. I guarantee you, that person will never forget you. Try to be a sunny day, even if it’s raining heavily outside.

Christian Bale, smiling. How to win clients and make friends on the way

3. Yes, Yes, and a hundred times Yes

We often find more areas of agreement than disagreement with those around us (in most cases). If we enter a conversation with this understanding, it becomes much easier to persuade others toward our goals. Take the time to understand what the person in front of you truly desires, and strive to fulfill those desires. Encourage them to say “Yes” as often as possible; this sets a positive tone for the conversation and lays the groundwork for addressing the final question you really want to ask. It demonstrates to the other person that you are a good listener, someone who cares and has taken the time to understand them.

Therefore, ask the right questions and strive to minimize conflict. Establish that we are all on the same side. However, it’s crucial to approach this with a sincere heart and always with the best of intentions.

Connie Britton, saying: "I was hoping you'd say yes". ow to win clients and make friends on the way

4. Be sincere in your intentions

None of this will work if you are not honest with yourself and with the person you have in front of you. Be sincere with your intentions and genuinely interested in the person you are interacting with. Put yourself in the other person’s shoes and try to see things from their perspective, not because you want to manipulate them, but because YOU CARE. People will notice when your intentions are not genuine. In life, one of the most valuable victories is a true friend, and such friendships can last a lifetime.

Do all of this without expecting anything in return. Do it because you want to be a better person. Help those around you, smile, and attract people with your positive energy and attitude. Be true to yourself and your intentions. Life will offer you more than just lemons, I promise. Remember, it’s not about you; it’s about them.

The morning show scene: "I'm on your side always". How to win clients and make friends on the way

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Here below you can find Dale’s book, I strongly encourage you to read it and have it next to your bed.  Also, buy a highlighter (you’ll need it trust me):

I hope this was as useful and enlightening for you as it was for me. This book changed the way I approach discussions, clients, and life in general. I swear, at least once a month I review this book, I even keep it next to my bed. We, designers spend most of our lives in front of the computer and not enough time in the real world, building relationships and improving those soft skills. This book is a great starting point.

Thanks for listening, and don’t forget to share with your creative amigos.

Yours truly,

Camila Curiel