6 Ways to Make a Lasting Impression

A classic book rebooted: Dale Carnegie reveals how you can win friends, influence people and be a compelling leader in the digital age.
August 01, 2013

Part of being a compelling leader and winning the trust of those around you is showing that you genuinely care and take an interest in what they're doing.

When you show other people that you're interested in who they are, they will happily return the favor when you least expect it. This skill set makes certain people more successful than others. This is also why the most successful people are usually the most charismatic people.

The reboot of a classic book, How To Win Friends & Influence People in the Digital Age, includes six specific ways Dale Carnegie and associates say you can make a lasting impression in the business world. Use their advice to help you stay top of mind with those you meet.

1. Take interest in others' interests. We are so busy today that it's difficult to make the time to get to know other people. But when you do take the time, they'll notice it and be grateful.

In the book, Carnegie advises: "Today there is simply no excuse not to take an interest in others' interests. Even if you are not actively involved in clubs, groups or local organizations where face-to-face interactions are possible, there is still an abundance of opportunities to learn about others' passions and concerns. The bottom line is that you must become genuinely interested in others before you can expect anyone to be interested in you."

2. Make an effort to smile. Even when different cultures come together, a smile always brings the same joy and happiness to everyone involved.

"There is a simple reason for this phenomenon: when we smile, we are letting people know we are happy to be with them, happy to meet them, happy to be interacting with them. They in turn feel happier to be dealing with us. Of course we don't always feel like smiling, but if we make the effort, we not only make those around us happier but also become happier ourselves," Carnegie writes.

3. Learn to memorize people's names. "In the digital age, names are like company logos, identifying not only who one is but also what one represents—likes and dislikes, yeas and nays. The hundreds of millions of bloggers, tweeters, and Facebookers surely want their voices heard, but they also want their names known," Carnegie writes.

Although your own name can hold value today (think Twitter!), remembering other people's names will show others that they're worth remembering.

4. Listen longer. "Listening's power, like that of smiling, is strong. When you listen well you not only make an instant impression, you also build a solid bridge for lasting connections. Who can resist being around a person who suspends his thoughts in order to value yours?" asks Carnegie.

To really listen to someone else, you need to be able to hear what others are saying, what they don't say and what they really mean. This means you have to stop interrupting, listen for feelings, repeat what you heard back to the person, acknowledge what the person said and look for nonverbal clues.

5. Discuss what matters to them. To truly influence other people, you need to understand what matters to them.

"Once you know what matters to others through a practice of longer listening, you can then truly engage them by putting such manners at the forefront of your interactions," Carnegie says. "If you're talking business, this process is about putting the customer back into customer relationship management."

6. Leave others better than you find them. If you go out of your way for someone else, there will be a good chance they'll do the same for you. Carnegie writes, "The real key to winning friends and influencing people today is having meaningful relationships. The only way to do this is by constantly adding meaning and value."

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