Human relations matter: Part one

Study like a salesman to learn communication techniques that will develop and improve communication skills as well as strengthen relationships.

Reading is a pastime or interest for many, and for some it is a professional development requirement.  A book that is often on lists for business success is “How to Win Friends and Influence People”, written by Dale Carnegie. This book was first written in 1913, has been revised several times and has sold over fifteen million copies. In the beginning of the book, Carnegie offers some great advice for readers trying to develop or learn a skill. In the case of his book, he is trying to develop human relations. According to Carnegie, in order to get the most out of his book one needs to:

  • Develop a deep, driving desire to master the principles of human relationships.
  • Read each chapter twice before going on to the next one.
  • Stop frequently to ask yourself how you can apply each suggestion.
  • Underscore each important idea.
  • Review the book each month.
  • Apply the principles at every opportunity. Use this volume as a working hand book to help you solve daily problems.
  • Make a game out of your learning by offering a friend a quarter or dollar every time he or she catches you violating a principle.
  • Check up each week on the progress you are making. Ask yourself what mistakes you have made, what improvements there are and what lessons you have learned.
  • Keep notes in the back of this book showing how and when you have applied these principles.

Study guides such as these help the learner transform what he is learning into application. “Learning is really about translating knowing what to do into doing what we know. It’s all about changing,” stated author John G. Miller. “If we have not changed, we have not learned.”

Being able to relate well with others is a skill that not everyone is born with. It is a learned skill that more often is absorbed rather than researched, studied and applied. Most with this skill had role models that provided a foundation, filter or reference on how to nurture, communicate and relate to others. If your relationships for the most part have been meaningful and respectful, then perhaps learning human relations skills may not be of interest. If this has not been the case, then perhaps some invested time into some personal development is in order. 

There are millions of personal development books available in libraries and in book stores across America or, if you want some support, encourage a spouse or friend to come with you to a Michigan State University Extension social-emotional health and well-being personal development program, offered across the state. Human relations matters.

Human relations matter: Part two 

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