The book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, has come highly recommended to me by several clients, and is often cited as a “must read” by many high level, successful people in the fitness industry. Naturally, I decided I had to read it. I found this book VERY insightful and VERY relatable.
Essentially the book is about how to treat people nicely, how to discuss/or “argue” a point without being a complete A-Hole, and just how to be a better person to our fellow human beings.
These things (for the most part) come fairly naturally to me. I am not claiming to be perfect – I am far from it – but it is amazing to me that while I was reading this, I could think of several people I know that could really use this book.
The summaries throughout the book point out some of the big points that I would like to hit on:
1) Begin with praise and honest appreciation – this is so overlooked by many people. When someone does something nice for you, or good for you – THANK THEM! Ever since I was young, my mom made me write thank you letters after birthdays and Christmas. I hated it at the time, but the honest appreciation goes a long way. Even if it something that is expected of them, thank them anyways – or people tend to start to feel under appreciated, and this is bad if you are trying to create a positive team around you.
2) Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing others – everyone makes mistakes, and no one is perfect. Before you jump down someone else’s throat for screwing something up, think about what you have done wrong in the situation – maybe I didn’t explain an exercise clear enough, or maybe I wasn’t clear on a portion size for something – always look at yourself first.
3) Use encouragement; make the fault seem easy to correct – always encourage others around you, and don’t sweat the small stuff. If you can’t encourage someone who is already lacking intrinsic motivation, how will they ever succeed on their own?
4) Smile – just do it. Life is too short to be a grump and look pissed off all day. Smile at everyone, you never know how far that can go.
5)Remember peoples names – there is nothing sweeter than hearing your own name. I make it a personal goal to know EVERY SINGLE PERSON by first name in the gym – whether or not they are my client, it goes a long way
6) Be a good listener, and encourage others to talk about themselves – listening is very underrated. Ask open ended questions, and sit back and listen thoughtfully. If you ask someone what their career is, don’t follow up with “cool” or any other closed off words. Ask “WHY?” why did they choose the career, why did they choose to come to the gym, why why why???
These were some of my favorite take aways from this book. I honestly feel that this book is important for everyone to read, no matter what your goals in life may be. If everyone can learn to treat people a little better everyday, and work at being a better person themselves – we would have a lot more success in getting things accomplished, finding personal success in many ways, and just plain feeling better about our daily lives. I give this book a 10/10 – pick it up and read it today!